Monday, 15 February 2010

England and Independence

In recent months I have been aware of many more English people suggesting they should have their own parliament or even English independence, yet there is little in the blogosphere supporting this and even less in the MSM.

The Campaign for an English Parliament is the most prominent but they are certainly not high profile in their efforts.  Of course their aim is to have an English Parliament within the UK and with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament.  More of a half-way house rather than a place of power, because as Scotland knows to its cost, without having complete control over fiscal matters, power is very limited and thus decision making is restricted.

The English Independence Party is low key and along with the English Democrats a slightly higher profile organisation, are the only sites which recognise England is being left behind.

I am proud to support the cause of independence for Scotland because I consider Scotland would be quite able to look after her own affairs without the help of any other country.  At least one third of the voting population of Scotland feels the same and votes accordingly.  We have the SNP, which supports independence, while the unionist parties refuse to even permit the people to have a referendum on the issue.

Although there appears to be a surge of English folk who wish their own parliament, few seem to want to be independent from the rest of the UK.  Why is this?  Is it because they are by far the largest country in the UK and therefore the others don't matter because they like the feeling of being the 'big boy' of the group and reiterating the myth that the English financially support Scotland?  

The West Lothian Question been discussed for years with none of the three main political parties putting forward a solution.  Only this past week David Cameron said, should he be elected, he would let Scots MPs keep the vote on English legislation.  Surely the English don't consider it democratic to concede to representatives of other countries voting on policies which will only affect them.

The Union is dying.  Its use is no longer suited to today's world. The UK has been brought to its knees by 13 years of Labour rule.  Wales and Northern Ireland are to ask their electorates if they wish further powers.  Now would be the ideal time for England to think about taking control of their own country and rebuilding it to suit their own needs.

Englishness is being called 'the forbidden identity'. No other western country has such trouble admitting they have pride in their national identity yet the word 'nationalism' has attracted negativity throughout my lifetime.  Westminster politicians have been effective in their message that nationalism of any kind is sinister, divisive and introverted.  Daily the Scots can read, in their unionist press, that the SNP are for divorcing or destroying the UK.

Will England take the opportunity to speak up for itself before it's too late?  Who knows?  As a Scot I would like to think they would stop thinking they are part of an empire which has long gone and begin to think they are a part of a small island which has cultural and political differences which will not be resolved unless addressed.  


BrianSJ said...

Englishness is a sort of forbidden identity, but it has suffered nothing like the sustained extermination that was inflicted on the Welsh for centuries.

I suspect that the independence question is seen as something for Scotland. If England can have proper control over its own devolved matters, then that is a big step forward.

subrosa said...

A step forward for England right enough Brian but they deserve more.

The history of Wales differs greatly from that of Scotland which has always been a nation but I understand your sentiments.

Witterings From Witney said...


This is, I know, the start of a loooong discussion between us.......

Are we not, you and I, British? I fully understand your wish to govern yourselves, but would you not be content if you had total local government, including fiscal raising powers? Do you not believe that the safety of both our countries depends on a common defence?

You quote the English Independence Party - like the English Democrats - they too miss the point. Please go read the UK Independence Party policy on Constitutional Reform and then we can continue the debate. Not an argument I assure you, but a debate.

We will not 'fall out' I assure you - we may end up agreeigng to disagree - as I value your 'friendship', although we have never met!

Anonymous said...

I heard Douglas Hurd on the radio this morning talking about England when he meant Britian.

I don't think that they want independence. I think most of them forget we are here most of the time. They think of the place as England and if they remember that we are here, they just think of us as counties of mother England.

The news was all about England this morning on the BBC. Mr Cameron and his policies; something about education and co operatives, something about social work and co operatives; something about the roads... nothing at all about Scotland

Dubbieside said...


The English have always had their own parliament, it is called Westminster.

They have up till now never seen a need for a new parliament as the present one works fine for them usually.

How anyone can think that the Westminster party with its huge English majority is not run for the benefit of England is kidding themselves.

It is interesting that Cameron has given up on the idea of English votes on English matters. Maybe it occurred to him that there was a certain irony in English MPs being able to vote on Scotlands pocket money, but Scottish MPs would be unable to vote on things that ultimately controlled the pocket money, i.e. Barnet.

If England feels the need for a separate parliament let them go out and campaign for one. Better yet keep Westminster for themselves and let us go our own way.

Its interesting that it is the English controlled partys that are denying Scottish voters the right to vote on our own future.

If we are such a millstone round Englands neck, what are they waiting for?

DougtheDug said...

Subrosa, there are several stumbling blocks on the road to creating an English Parliament.

The first is that the establishment can see no difference between England and Britain and Labour's devolution plan reflected this. You could call it Anglo-Britain or Greater England or plain old Britain but whatever the name it's based on the idea of a single unitary state based on England.

Devolution is a provincial system of government which devolves power to provinces while at the same time ensuring that the change at the centre of Government is minimal. Labour planned to devolve Scotland, Wales, NI and various English provinces in line with this philosophy. They succeeded with Scotland, Wales and NI with minimal changes at the centre of power in Westminster as neither Scotland, Wales or NI were granted areas of responsibility which they didn't already have before devolution.

The idea of an English parliament for all England was never considered because how can the centre devolve power to itself? Devolution was considered not as an exercise in restoring Scotland's nationhood but as creating another tier of local government within a unitary Britain.

The West Lothian Question is a direct result of devolution's aim to minmise change at the centre of power in Westminster. To create, "English Only", bills would radically change the way Parliament works and in the way bills are presented to Parliament so Scottish MP's powers were left as they were.

To create an English Parliament requires a UK federal state where federalism (not devolution) will entail a huge change at the centre of Government, in Westminster, Whitehall and all the Departments to accommodate the four new national parliaments and a new UK Federal Parliament. The upheaval would be huge and there is no demand for it in England, especially in the establishment.

The final obstacle is again based on the idea of Britain as a "Greater England". To recognise England as a nation separate from Britain is also to recognise Scotland, Wales and NI as nations and that breaks the idea of an enduring, unitary Britishness, the Britishness that Brown pushes endlessly and mixes with Englishness with his references to the Magna Carta and the 1689 Bill of Rights.
To recognise England is to reduce Britain from a nation to a political union.

The English will get a Parliament when Scotland gets its independence.

subrosa said...

I'm sure we won't fall out WFW. No I'm not British. In fact I feel uncomfortable saying I'm British because I've so seldom called myself that. I'm Scottish and that's what I've called myself all my life.

Nobody has ever questioned that so I suppose most have heard of Scotland, although some perhaps don't know where it is.

No I don't think our safety depends on a common defence, although it would be preferable imo. Mind you Scotland could manage their own defence I'm sure.

subrosa said...

You were listening to Radio 4 Tris. So was I.

Terry Heath said...

Tris said "The news was all about England this morning on the BBC. Mr Cameron and his policies; something about education and co operatives, something about social work and co operatives; something about the roads"

... and I bet a pound to a penny that they NEVER said England once!

It used to be that ignorant people said England when they meant Britain. Today the Unionist establishment say Britain when they mean England.

subrosa said...

Ah Dubbie, I left that out of the post. :)

Yes indeed it is England's MPs who are denying us our referendum and doing their utmost to say we can't manage without them.

Don't you think this is their best opportunity to get rid of us, unless they realise they actually need us for various reasons.

subrosa said...

Ah Doug, that's not the first time I've heard Greater England mentioned.

The rest of your comment I fully agree with so it does look as if England will never seek independence for themselves, but be pushed into it when we become our own master.

Radio Free Britain said...

A very good article, but a there are a few points we feel should be mentioned, which we will post before the end of the week.

vendetta (Radio Free Britain)

BTS said...

I agree with your original post on this subject SR as I personally would love it if you'd take Brown and Darling back and get them the hell out of my country, but I still don't quite understand why independence is such a big deal?

I honestly don't.

Having said that though, if the majority of voters (in any given part of the UK) wish it then it's fine by me. I would certainly prefer it to be total, complete and dealt with.

By the same token I couldn't give a damn if (to use Tris's example of we Englishfolk thinking of Scotland as another county rather than a seperate country) the residents of Cornwall decided to secede as well.

Personally, I'm all for Surrey being self-governed too as my vote might actually count for something and I don't think it fair that it's only those who claim a patch of coastline to themselves who ought to determine their own fate..

But I would also want to see work visas from anyone not Surreyish who wants to live and work here (with apologies to many friends and family if they happen to read this..).

I may be naive but I don't get the arbitrary distinctions between postcodes that we appear to live by.

Except when it comes to cricket. And football. Rugby too..

We have to have some standards after all..

BTS said...

Did I mention Brown and Darling? Oh, yeah..

wisnaeme said...

Uh Huh, I tend to agree with DougtheDug's point of view on this one. Perhaps I have more of an insight than many, having lived and worked in Englandshire continuously for more than thirty-five years, I've been a long term partner and husband of a born and bred English lady and I've been involved in politics, social and community issues on both sides of the border.

...and I'm a Scottish nationalist to boot.

"There is no demand for it in England, especially in the establishment."

The same could be said of the old guard within the Scottish establishment. Indeed,the trend was to ignore it and it would go away for most folk who were 'content' with the status quo. That was when the overseers, watchdogs and your obedient Westmidden swivel serpents felt that they were in control of the situation with the measures that over the years had been put in place to 'manage' damage limitation exercises and isolate the occasional mild outbreak of 'separatism'. they would fear any other contageous disease, by prevention, by isolating and by going after the carriers and contagion spreaders of this 'separation' virus.

Actually, the truth is a bit more mundane. The English don't really give a toss for the most part, one way or the other. They're not really interested in the big picture as such. or of whatever happening sometime, maybe in the future. They're more interested in what's happening to them today and of what affects them in their every day lives, today.

An English Parliament and home rule for themselves? Well if it was discussed on Cora St,they might take a mild interest ...for all of five seconds until something of more interest presents its-self in make believe land.Like the cat having kittens or of who is doing what to whom.

Scottish independence is not something that intrudes into their every day lives or affects them or the price of fish. But if it does so in the future then it will be more than just quaint apathetic utterances of "who cares" or of "ungrateful backstabbers" and perhaps why don't they just F*** off from the more resentful.

The only way the matter of Scottish independence will mean something of consequence for the English is when that reality or the prospects of it becoming reality intrudes into the every day lives of Englanders to their detriment in their every day lives, be it perceived or actual reality.

Scotland is treated by most south of the border like a favourite lap dog. With affection for the most part, providing it sticks to performing it's party tricks on command and continues to behave its-self in polite society and with those people in high places that matter.

Like any dissolution of a partnership or the threat of it, affection and tollerance can so, so easily be replaced by resentment and dislike by differences of opinion or of begging to differ.

Dark Lochnagar said...

A very thoughtful piece Rosie. It's not like you! I don't think the English care one way or another if we become independent. They have been brainwashed into thinking that Britain is England. Wait until we demand 8.4% of all things beloning to the British State since 1707 including the exhibits in London museaums like the National Gallery, the Tait and the V&A. Plus 8.4% of the current value of all Government buildings like Downing Street and they will be smiling on the other side of their face. Oh and they can have the nuclear subs based in the Thames for good measure!

subrosa said...

Sorry Terry I didn't reply to you. Missed your comment.

It's noticeable that the MSM don't use the word England when they clearly mean that. Many English friends have remarked on it in the past year or so.

subrosa said...

Hi RFB, that would be fine. This is post just a starter to see if discussion was worthwhile.

Look forward to reading yours. Don't forget to put the link on my latest post once you've published it.

Apogee said...

Hi SR.
Have to say I'm in agreement with the article and the comments, except I have considerable doubts that if we actually achieved Independence that we would see anything like 8.4 % of everything.
And if a dispute arose, who do we go to for adjudication?


subrosa said...

So you'd like the world to be one big country then BTS if independence doesn't matter?

I think independence does matter. It benefits countries and their people. Their people have more of a sense of belonging and pride and that can be verified by the Scandanavian countries when they broke up.

These days do you ever here a Swede calling themselves Scandanavian?

I too would like the matter resolved but I don't think it will happen in my lifetime. The breakup of the UK is well on its way but it will be the actions of the EU which bring about independence for Scotland.

Then we'll have to grow up and take care of ourselves.

subrosa said...

BTS, I doubt if Brown or Darling would move back to Scotland permanently. Their present homes (which we pay for) will become holiday homes and nothing more.

They won't be missed.

subrosa said...

Wisnaeme, great comment thanks. I too have spent much of my life outwith Scotland. One small factor which has just occurred to me is the number of English people who have never been to Scotland. Many have travelled to exotic places but never driven north.

When I've asked why not I've been given a blank stare or told it's too cold here or always rains. I gave up eventually.

When Scotland becomes independent I don't think the English will harbour any grudges whatsoever. I think they will be ambivalent but the English establishment won't be - you're quite right there.

subrosa said...

No it's not like me is it DL.:) Auch I wouldn't like to see nastiness during any final split but I would like to see the English waken up and smell the roses. Maybe because I now live outside England I see things differently but I just think they've been too patient with their politicians and allowed themselves to be totally brainwashed.

BTS said...

SR, I'm afraid that if we were to adopt my view of the seperation of states (and obviously we can only speak of our own views and conditions on the subject) then you would have those two back. And the rest of them. I think I mentioned work visas, but I never suggested an entitlement to vote. Let alone take office in England.

So if they want to engage in politics then it has to be in your neck of the woods (or country, as you will)..

And I hadn't realised that you were such a fan of the EU. That certainly isn't the impression that you gave when I mentioned the SNP's desire to join up previously.

But again, I'm more than happy for your indenpent nation to do so. As I said - fine by me.

Along EU lines - no I don't want the world to become one big country either. Again, I did say that I would be more than happy to see the back of Cornwall whilst also maintaining that my own county ought to have the same right to do so. I wasn't kidding (strictly speaking that is..) about that.

The comment about Scandinavia doesn't really explain much unless the argument is 'They've got it so I want it too..'

I freely admit to a lack of knowledge on that particular subject but I'm afraid that that's how it sounds.

And this 8.4% of whatever it is that's desired (Dark Lochnagar) - I thought you'd be happy with a clean break? Isn't that the simplest option?

Still, you take the whole of the Tate Modern as I don't want it. And anything north of Watford while you're at it.

But you have to keep the lot..

And btw, for all who seem to think that the only thing the English care about are soap operas (namecheck deserved to wisnaeme) - I don't. Don't watch, don't care and despise their very existence.

But thanks for tarring the whole lot of us as idiots in the same way that an Englishman might choose to call you all haggis-eating, kilt-wearing, child-molesting alcoholics who (by their own admission) can't be trusted to look after a few nuclear warheads.

Got to love stirring the pot..

However, SR, brainwashed? Thanks, but I've not been so insulted in the past few years. Nice blog otherwise.

subrosa said...

Let's face it BTS, many of 'them' may pop off to the States to see if they can do a Blairie. I live in hope.

Me a fan of the EU? Tut tut BTS! That's one SNP policy I would like to be debated throughout Scotland. There's no party here which doesn't support the EU and that leaves the likes of me with no choice. I prefer choice as most reasonably sensible people do.

There's little wrong with your neck of the woods either. I fondly remember a year or two in the 70s when I lived in Frimley. It was a close community then but now it seems to have been swallowed by the larger towns around it. Sad really.

The point about Scandanavia was - do Swedes call themselves Swedes or Scandanavians? Like wise the other countries there.

Do I have to call myself British because some Westminster politicians insist I do?

Dark Lochnagar quotes our share or the good and bad assets of the UK. If you think you're getting off lightly just because Scotland wants to run itself then I'm afraid you're mistaken. :)

I'd be happy with Surrey and Wiltshire myself plus a bit of Dorset as I'm rather attached to Salisbury.

Who tarred you as idiots? Who said we looked after warheads? We only store the things. The Americans have the key to the padlock and they don't trust the UK government with it.

Funny that isn't it.

I never insult my readers BTS. I leave that to our politicians.

Terry Heath said...

SR, thanks for the recognition of the British establishment’s conflation of Britain/England.

I appreciate this except you say… “When Scotland becomes independent I don't think the English will harbour any grudges whatsoever. I think they will be ambivalent but the English establishment won't be”

The majority in England WANT Scotland to be independent ((and it didn’t even feature on cora (sic) wasnaeme)), but the BRITISH establishement will fight you all the way!

DL …you can have 8.4% of whatever, so long as it includes 8.4% of the national debt, 8.4 and the hangover from the empire (y’all were up to your necks in it) and 100% of the Scottish banking collapse, minus Northern Rock. Oh and you can have the new nuclear power stations (forced by Brown on England without a HoC vote) based above the Tweed for good measure

Finally SR, is your nom de plume along the same lines as the Irish poem roisin dubh?

Should I change my tag to SubCarduus (in light of Blair, Brown, Darling, Campbell, Irving, Martin, Kennedy, Cameron et al, ad nauseum)? … or should we both be Sub Britannica?

subrosa said...

Morning Terry. Yes you're right, most of the Scottish establishment will too - the unionist bunch, although some of them may come out of the woodwork thinking they'd get a top job.

Now this business of the 'Scottish banks'. They're no more Scottish than you are, and I'm sure you know that.

Keep your nuclear Terry. We'll keep our own power here and stop selling it south of the border where they get it much cheaper than I do.

No Terry, my nom de plume is a military term for 'secret' or 'under the rose' which perhaps is more suited to me as I'm quite an earthy individual. :) But roisin dubh sounds a superb one.

Sub Britannica? I've been that all my life and want to shake off the label if you don't mind!

BTS said...

'Maybe because I now live outside England I see things differently but I just think they've been too patient with their politicians and allowed themselves to be totally brainwashed.'

That's insulting.

And regarding tarring an entire nation, as you read the posts and respond so closely to each, I thought that I need do no more than namecheck wisnaeme, however:

'An English Parliament and home rule for themselves? Well if it was discussed on Cora St,they might take a mild interest ...for all of five seconds until something of more interest presents its-self in make believe land.Like the cat having kittens or of who is doing what to whom.'

Remember that one now?

Darklochnagar was the one who brought up the subject of nuclear submarines, not I.

But, again, all I said was 'fine, give them back.'

(Or rather something more inflammatory, but hey..)

I was confused by your EU comment when put against your previous assertions but here it is:

'The breakup of the UK is well on its way but it will be the actions of the EU which bring about independence for Scotland.'

It does sound like advocacy to me.

I appreciate that that was not your intention, but you ought to be careful in such matters as, if I feel the need to question, others may simply assume..

Minor points: If, speaking of the same place, Frimley is still there.

And no, you can't have any of the Southern Counties I'm afraid - I offered (as my terms of seperation stipulated) anything north of Watford, which is more than you even asked for.

What claim would you make on such territory as the cinque ports?

Perhaps because you felt like having them..?

I agree wholeheartedly with Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish indepence (the latter being of a very different nature and complexity to the others).

I do want autonomy for England as well.

And Surrey.

Frimley's still there btw - you might as well talk about 'broken Britain' if you want to talk about fractured village communities or somesuch.

And please don't as it's still there. Did I already mention that..?

Yeah, I guess that I did..

'Dark Lochnagar quotes our share or the good and bad assets of the UK. If you think you're getting off lightly just because Scotland wants to run itself then I'm afraid you're mistaken. :)'

Didn't say nuthin' 'bout "getting off lightly" so please don't claim that I did. Take Scotland - it is what you want after all.

In fact, take everything north of the M25 and deal with it. Or not. Bet you don't want the damn stuff..

And still 'do Swedes call themselves Swedes or Scandanavians?' - every bloody Scotsman and woman refers to themself as such. Who do you know that actually does differentiate due to Westminster's dictats..?

On a personal note - every Scot I've ever encountered has been far too proud to call themselves 'British'. Do you think it made any difference to them what some **** in Westminster said about what they were supposed to say..?

banned said...

The West Lothian question will solve itself with Scots Independence as, when Eire seceded, Scotland will lose all their Westminster MPs and which will once again become Englands Parliament, plus a few Welsh and N Irsh should they care to remain.

Our real concern is not independence for Scotland but the Balkanisation of England by the evil EU who would regard each of our so called Regions as an equal of the Scottish Nation.

Greetings from Region 4.

CrazyDaisy said...

Morning Madame,

Good article, long discussed this with my neighbour when I was in Italy, he was a member of the English Independence party (can't recall it's exact name!).

We agreed to go our seperate ways and could still have dinner and a laugh, like I enjoyed with the Americans, Canadians, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Dutch etc etc.

It doesn't have to be difficult, providing we get exactly what we're entitled to. I see it causing difficulty when the seat on the UN Security Council comes into question and other World Power issues...which Whitehall loves and is desperate to hold onto - you know that influential position in the World that Westmidden and the FCO covets and Scotland does not need.

A point to note, in the past the civil servants thought they could keep a lid on it. In my work I often go to the heart of Whitehall and throw in the odd "social hand grenade" into the MoD, FCO and Vx. They know us Nationalists are inside trying to break out and there isn't a damned thing they can do about it.

I'm Scottish, never been British, married to an English lassie and nothing to hate anyone for, it's a waste of energy; which would be better channeled into making a success of my country.


subrosa said...

I don't think it is insulting BTS but they're either brainwashed or have stuck their heads in the sand. That's how I see it from the 'outside'. You may have a similar view of the Scots and I would admit that my opinion is that many Scots are brainwashed.

The other commenters' remarks you can discuss with them.

Advocacy regarding the EU. No.

Frimley is no longer a small community BTS, I was there around 3 years ago. It's completely absorbed into the other towns although the name still exists, possibly because of the hospital, which hadn't been built in my day. It does show how much the population has expanded down that way since the early 70s.

You're absolutely right, I personally don't want it at all.

There are lots of Scots who call themselves Brits. We have this discussion regularly up here. It doesn't actually change anything though. :)

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

There's not an argument muted here that's worth an answer.

For Scotland to be independent is self evident once the myths of Union dividends are exposed as the lies they are and always have been.

As to the myth of Scotland being subsidised by England? Well more fool England for syphoning off too much, too often for their own benefit thereby creating the union supporting subsidy junkies which is the only factor slowing the progress of independence.

England's establishment since WW2 is being hoisted on its own imperial petard; and once the feet stop twitching democracy throughout these islands will be the better for it.

This is what the movement for independence is all about and why it's ridiculed and opposed so vehemently by Westminster and Whitehall.

They couldn't give a toss about lumps of land and the minorities who live in them. It's the democratic processes these lumps of land may practice and subsequently could be demanded for England that frightens the shit out of them.

So to the 'I'm all right,'cynics, doesn't matter where you live or what you are, your stifling opportunity for the many in favour of exploitation by the few under the dusty shroud of tradition.

You're happy with that? Then more fool you.

subrosa said...

Yes it will banned, but what I don't understand at times is why the English haven't decided they'd be better just to be independent rather than have devolution resolve it.

The EU attitude is a concern to me too.

subrosa said...

Indeed it doesn't have to be difficult CD and my idea is that it would be better if England and Scotland went for independence at a similiar time, although Wales and NI would have to be considered. Would they stay as devolved yet part of a smaller uk?

subrosa said...

The myths are peeling away and quite rapidly now RA. Is it because the English have more faith in their establishment than the Scots have in theirs that, even though it appears there is a surge, it's not huge?

It's up to us to continue to push for independence here and then England will be forced to take a long hard look at what they really want.

CrazyDaisy said...


Not my concern, NI will rejoin with the south within a generation or two. Wales being a principality I think it will remain devolved with devo max perhaps?


subrosa said...

I'd agree about Ireland CD although there are few S Irish bloggers around.

As for Wales, well I'm not so sure. If their coming referendum gives them more powers who knows. Their history is different to ours it's hard to judge at the moment.

Radio Free Britain said...

subrosa said...

Many thanks RFB. I've already visited. :)

laura said...

DougtheDug says:

"To recognise England is to reduce Britain from a nation to a political union."

Doug speaks good sense but on this point he is somewhat behind the times.I live in England and my perception is that this shift ie from the UK as one nation to a union of nations, always there to an extent perhaps unappreciated by some, has already happened.
Most English are now very well aware that Scotland, England and Wales are separate nations.There is the ongoing confusion still as to the union but you underestimate the recognition of England as England.

This goes for the political class too. Always behind the actuality of underling opinion and deviously trying to retard it, they too are now very well aware of the union nature of the UK. Which doesn't stop them furiously trying to play it down.

Its just a phase. Reality will catch up in the end.

subrosa said...

I don't think I underestimate the recognition of England laura, not in the least. Politicians will always play down nationalism and play up the union, none want to lose their power bases.

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