Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Mr H W Barstow (RG 07)

  My opinions are those of someone who feels that a terrible injustice is being forced upon we of England. First, I feel increasing resentment and offence that while Scotland is granted a parliament (having been offered a government backed referendum), likewise Wales an Assembly (soon to be a parliament), England's people are treated as 2nd class (or is it non-class) citizens.

  Yes, the North East was granted a referendum for a Regional Assembly. It replied with a resounding "No." This was ignored with contempt and these Regional Assemblies continue (behind our backs). But then . . . we are only English.

  England, one of the oldest Nations (and cultures) in Europe, is being denied those services (health being but one example) that is granted as of right to Scotland in particular, and to a lesser extent to Wales. Though when Wales gets a parliament, she will demand and she will get, those same benefits granted to Scotland. England will remain ignored, her peoples awaiting cancer treatments (etc), university education that in Scotland is free, free Care-Homes for the elderly (in Scotland) etc, etc, etc . . all benefits granted first to Scotland, second to Wales, but denied to England. How come this is not prejudice?

  In case the government does not know of the growing resentment and offence this causes we of England, then I suggest it asks itself why we of England should feel any less love of our Nation than do the Scots and Welsh theirs. We do not support our rugby and cricket teams just for fun! The emotions come from the heart! They call it patriotism . . . something the Scots (and everyone else) is allowed to feel.

  In case this government thinks it can ride rough-shod over our feelings then I suggest it study very carefully its own laws on "prejudice and discrimination," and then ask itself why we of England should tolerate in silence this relentless campaign of Anglo-phobia. Should the position in which England finds herself be vice-versa then there would be riots (yes riots) across Scotland. As for Scottish MP's, there would be uproar at Westminster.

  No, England must not be partitioned and broken up. She must be granted those same "Rights" already granted to Scotland and Wales. Therefore she must be granted her Parliament too. To fail to do so is to prove beyond doubt this government's institutionalised prejudices against England.

  Finally, England pays many of the taxes that go to Scotland (and to a lesser degree, Wales) to fund their privileged status. I merely ask for some of their Rights. It was England that gave to the cause of democracy the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights 1688-89. How come we of England are now excluded from these same Rights ourselves.

  In short, we want a Parliament of England . . . not the partition of England by way of regionalism.

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