An email from Gareth Young

John Reid MP, a Scotsman, has been put in charge of the English Health system. It has caused uproar because as a Scottish MP he has no say in how the Scottish Health system is run due to the fact that health is a matter devolved to the Scottish Parliament. It doesn't take a genius to realise that he is now in an English ministerial post when he has no mandate from the English voters - he was elected by Scottish electors. Effectively we now have two classes of voters in the UK, those that have a say in how their country is run and those that have MPs that are unaccountable to them running their country.

This 'constitutional anomaly' follows hot on the tail of Scottish Westminster MPs voting on English health reforms (the central plank of those reforms being 'Foundation Hospitals') when they really shouldn't have.

Pete Wishart, the chief whip of the Scottish National Party's five-strong division in Westminster, said: "This is nothing whatsoever to do with Scotland, what makes it even more disgraceful is that the policy of foundation hospitals has been rejected by the Scottish Labour Party [in the Scottish Parliament] - yet the Scottish MPs will be voting in favour of it [in England]!"

Liam Fox, the shadow health secretary, said "It is clear that the government's desperation to save the Prime Minister's neck will mean using Scottish Labour MPs to force through a policy affecting England - while English Labour MPs have no ability to affect health issues in Scotland. This, it seems, is the acceptable face of Labour's flawed devolution settlement."

Back in 1993 John Reid said: "Offering English voters a government which consists of a Scottish prime minister, a Scottish chancellor, a Scottish home secretary and a Scottish social security secretary would be politically disadvantageous. The political balance has got to be kept." This statement would appear to be at odds with his position in 2003 when he presumably thinks it advantageous to have a cabinet dominated by the Scots: Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Ian McCartney, Alistair Darling, John Reid, Charlie Falconer and himself?

England is not even recognised as a nation by UK Labour. So I have no representation as an English person apart from with my UK representative at Westminster who cares about Britain rather than England. I am ready to throw the towel in on the UK.

England is being destroyed by a Scottish and Welsh led Labour party hell-bent on abolishing England as a political entity. Our constitution (and it is England's constitution) is being dismantled without our express permission in order that it becomes acceptable to Europe. There will be no referendum or constitutional convention for England. Labour has decided on what form of government we will have.

Welshman John Prescott has decided on referendums in three English regions and the result will stand regardless of the turnout (quite the opposite policy from the referendums in Scotland and Wales).

Welshman Peter Hain has stated that the European Constitution is just a 'tidying up exercise' and refuses demands for a referendum. Ironically, for Hain, due to that fact that Wales has a devolved parliament, his own country can hold a referendum on the European Constitution if it is judged to interere with the business of the Welsh Assembly but Britain as a whole cannot. England certainly cannot because constitutionally it doesn't exist.

According to a January 2002 poll, Wales is the first nation to back single euro currency membership. The poll showed 41 percent of Welsh respondents said they would vote `Yes' to joining the Euro, 40 percent would vote `No', 4 percent would abstain and 15 percent `Don't Know'. When the don't knows are excluded, the majority edges to 51 percent to 49 percent in favor of the Euro.

Polling in Scotland also showed a softening of opposition with 5 percent gap-37 percent `Yes' to 42 percent `No'.

The differences of approval rate due to regions, especially England's low support of below 20 percent for joining the euro, may bring serious conflicts among the four nations, if this difference remains until the referendum that is promised to be held by May 2003. Britain as a whole, especially because of England, has opposed a rapid integration into Euro. England needs to bolster it's position with its own parliament.

Forget Britain. Without England there can be no Anglosphere. England is the main obstacle to European integration. I feel quite desperate about the whole situation. Following is my letter to The Scotsman. Predictably it didn't get in.

The 'tinkering' with the constitution is tantamount to vandalism and the devolution experiment is an insult to democracy. How did we ever let these people gain control?

In May I wrote to Nigel Griffiths MP (Labour, South Edinburgh) to ask whether he would be voting on the English health reforms. English MPs have no say in issues devolved to the Scottish parliament, so, by my reasoning, it was undemocratic for Scottish MPs to vote on English only legislation. I also stated my support for the creation of an English parliament with powers equal to those of the Scottish parliament. Since the English have no Secretary of State, no parliament and no specific collective representation I asked whether, as my elected representative, he was prepared to support the creation of an English parliament on my behalf.

Mr Griffiths replied: "I will be inclined to support whatever the outcome of the consultation in England is - you support an English Parliament. Let's see whether that commands widespread support from your countrymen and women. I strongly support the unity of the United Kingdom and I shall continue to participate in all votes in Parliament, as I made clear at the last election to the electors of South Edinburgh."

I have several problems with Nigel's reply. Firstly, my countrymen and women cannot show support for an English parliament because they are not being given that option. John Prescott's idea of a devolution settlement for England is to ask each region whether or not they would like an elected regional assembly to replace the unelected regional assemblies that have already been set up. England has not been asked whether it wants a national parliament. An English referendum that asked: 'do you want an English parliament or elected regional assemblies' would result in a resounding vote for an English parliament. The Labour Party is fully aware of this which is why they don't give England the choice.

Secondly, the Labour party in Scotland was united in support fo devolution, with the exception of Tam Dalyell. If Mr Griffiths supported the establishment of a Scottish parliament then his position would seem to be at odds with his strong support for the unity of the United Kingdom. If, conversely, he believes that a national parliament for Scotland is beneficial to the unity of the United Kingdom, what legitimate objection can he have to an English parliament? He is no democrat if he opposes a democratically elected parliament, I put it to him that he opposes an English parliament for political reasons and not because he believes it would not benefit the English people.

Thirdly, the fact that he made it clear to Scottish electors that he would participate in all votes in Parliament does not excuse the fact that he abusing the compromised position of English electors who have not given him a mandate to vote on issues that affect England's health system but not Scotland's, as a Westminster MP he has no say over Scottish healthcare (to make matters worse the policy of foundation hospitals that he supports in England was rejected by the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Parliament).

The Labour Party is no longer a party of democracy. By hook or by crook they will impose nine regional assemblies upon England making the UK a collection of twelve European regions. These regional assemblies will not address Tam Dalyell's `Lothian Question', nor will they restore constitutional parity between Englishman and Scot. As John Prescott himself stated "People do not expect the equivalent of the Scottish Parliament for the English regions".

Elected regional assemblies may be taken up in some regions of England and not in others, the result will be a political imbalance not just between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but also between parts of England. In short, it will plunge us into an even bigger constitutional mess. This doesn't matter to New Labour. Pro-regional assembly campaigners in the North-East of England highlight the unjust disparity in funding between Scotland and the North-East to implore the people of the North-East to support a regional assembly. Last month it was revealed that this scandalous spending gulf stood at 627 per head in 2000/2001, up from 376 in 1999/2000 despite Tony Blair's claim in 2000 that "The Barnett Formula has its own inbuilt review in the sense that it narrows the gap over time." The imbalance in per head funding equates to a shortfall for the North East of 1.35bn. This is an imbalance maintained by the UK Government.

Given the pass injustices, such as the poll tax - imposed on Scotland by the UK Government, some Scots will see a delicious irony in an Englishman complaining that England is being unfairly treated. However, the people of Scotland should be aware of what is being done in their name by their representatives in Westminster.

The devolution settlement being offered to England is unjust and is, in effect, political discrimination against the English tolerated by the three unionist parties at Westminster to preserve central control over the regions (nations) of Britain.

Article posted by John Ray, June, 25th., 2003

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