Devolution: A Decade On - Justice Committee Contents

Memorandum submitted by Norman Slater

  I ask you to consider the following points regarding the impact of devolution, and the "English Question", and the injustice to England that devolution has presented.

  The West Lothian Question whereby Scottish MPs can vote and influence decisions about laws in England is wholly undemocratic. It is a problem that the majority of Members of Parliament shy away from even though it is so clearly unfair to the electorate of England. This makes the people of England (and indeed other parts of the UK electorate), totally cynical about the motives of politicians and suspect that the failure to correct this injustice is due to self-interest on their part.

  Perhaps the most blatant example of how this present undemocratic set-up has brought in England a hatred of all things Scottish, where now polls show that between 68% and 81 % favour an English Parliament and 48% want total independence for England from the rest of the UK was the way student fees were introduced into England.

  This measure was forced through by the Government, with strong support of Scottish MPs. Yet the Scottish Parliament perversely then voted to abolish any such fees in Scotland. They even pay the fees of Scottish students studying in England. This action has brought tremendous resentment among the population of England. While this injustice was imposed on England, English MPs are not even allowed to discuss any matters concerning Scotland. Where is democracy in this situation?

  The people of England now see their taxes being sent to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales under the Barnet Formula, to subsidise lavish welfare schemes—free prescriptions for all, free nation wide travel for pensioners, etc while they have none of these. They are ruled by a Prime Minister who represents a Scottish constituency and who has no mandate to be in this position. It may be considered out of date nowadays, but the Bill of Rights 1689 is still law, and I would ask you to study it during your deliberations on this matter.

  Prime Minister Brown has set up quango ministries for "Regions of England" without approval of the people of England. Once again, we know that this is wholly undemocratic, but we know why. He is determined to accede to EU policies despite the wishes of the electorate. It is also another source of income for extra politicians. He knows that when Mr Prescott held an election for the North-East on this matter, where he expected a vote in favour of regional government, the vote was 85% against. He is therefore imposing his dogma on the people of England without any approval from them.

  I beg you please, Members of the Justice Committee, to consider the wishes of the electorate of England before any policies of self-interest of politicians. I myself would dearly love to see an English Parliament formed as do the majority of people living in England. It would give England the identity and government its people want and need.

  Contrary to Mr Blair's assertion that this would "bust" the Union, it would strengthen it. Some kind of federal system could then be formed, bringing both individual and national identity to the four member states. A reduced UK government to deal with matters of overall policy could then be formed. I doubt very much whether this will suit self-interested politicians, but it would be of great benefit to the electorate of the UK, particularly those living in England who are crying out for justice.

January 2008

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