Sunday, April 27, 2008

Is Gordon planning on stealing the next general election ?

I spent today at the campaign for an English Parliament's "The Future of England" conference. Possibly the date of the last Saturday before local elections was not the best timing for members of the main parties to attend by the way.

Top billing was given to Frank Field MP, however it turned out that - according to his office - he has been in hospital and was not able attend (get well soon Frank !) . However Simon Hughes MP was able to step in at the last minute.

Simon Hughes started of by reporting that some Conservative MPs are now referring to Frank Field as the Prime Minster ( I bet Gordon loves that ! ). But then it started to go down hill. He decided to talk about likely constitutional changes and how the campaign for an English parliament could best respond - reasonable enough you might say.

But then he outlines the likely developments ( clearly from what the Lib Dems have been told ) as follows:

    1) The AV voting system to be introduced for the next general election.
    2) The house of Lords to be replaced by a Senate, with 80%+ elected in thirds for only one term.
    3) Labour to move forward on the abolishing England British regions ploy - backing the appointment of regional ministers with regional committees - the sticking point being who whether the committee make up should reflect local political make up. ( Can you believe Labour think they should have a majority on every committee ? My guess this is a negotiating position which also serves the purpose of moving beyond the question of should there be regions, into negotiating their administration.

I have to say the reaction of the audience was very hostile. People were outraged that the constitution is being reorganised solely for the benefit of the political class and without asking the population - and specifically for the benefit of the Labour party and its Scottish ministers.

Simon Highes has in the past and did on this occasion offer support for an English Parliament. But we all know Gordon Brown's British regions agenda is designed to stop that ever happening.

He also made the mistake of talking about MP's salaries and the cost of any parliament. Clearly MPs are rattled about costs and expenses, but such an audience just doesn't want to hear talk about how English and Scottish MPs should be paid if only the English have to cover English matters and UK matters.

I don't think the audience who attended is by any means a normal cross section of English society, but I have to report the anti-politician sentiment, and specifically growing hatred of the professional politician, is growing.

But most important of all - is Gordon Brown to be allowed to steal the next election and then to dismember England ?


wonkotsane said...

You should have introduced yourself, I was the one right at the back with the laptop and the "England: Sponsoring Scotland since 1707" t-shirt.

Man in a Shed said...

I was sitting half way back on the right, next to the guy who won the Glenlivet bottle in the raffle.

Probably should have said I was going along...

What did you think of the day ?

Anonymous said...

Surely we should be more worried about Gordon Brown creating the regions BEFORE the next election?!

Terry Heath said...

I think we should have name tags at the next conference.

I was wandering around looking for people I'd "met" online, but it was a hopeless task. The only one I recognised was Wonkostane

Man in a Shed said...

lettersfromatory - absolutely I think this is the plan. *Anything* to avoid having to conceed England as a nation.

Fortunately he may now be too weak to achieve this - but the problem is that the Lib Dems would quite like to run a region and like AV can be bribed to sell out.

terry - You have a good point.

Perhaps a blogging corner with wifi etc at a corner would work well.

In many ways the use of the new media was a weak point of the enterprise.

Anonymous said...

I was there also. In a suite with dark red tie at the back on the left.

Mr Hughes was partly typical of the British political class in the way he simply issued statements as to what was to be imposed constitutionally - an absolute and clear example of all that is wrong with class and which England has had to put up with all these years. I daresay he would not have taken that tone with the mutineers at the Putney Debayes 1647.

He did make some progress though.

He accepted England as a nation.

He accepted that there should be an English executive and first minister ( ie English government and PM).

I think he stated that there should be an English civil service (?)

He was able to utter the words "federal United Kingdom " without looking puzzled.

He also, idiotically , said that all these structures should derive their authority from an English subcommittee of the British parliament!

He is making progress though and his speech certainly demonstrated that all we have been saying over the last few years is beginning to sink in with that same political class .

John Hutchings

Man in a Shed said...

John - yes I heard the federal point also. I assume he had little time to prepare as he was a last minute stand in. This has perhaps been to our benefit as he gave a revealing insight into some of our politicians thinking. If he had had more time to prepare we would have learnt less.

Next time I'll make myself known somehow ....