Many English people have probably despaired about the way things have been handled over the last few years. Thousands of us feel betrayed by Labour, misled by the Liberal Democrats and confused by the Conservatives, who have all provided very little in the way of good ideas and leadership over the last 10 years.
But the encouraging thing is that England is awaking.
The English Democrats were launched in 2002 at the Imperial College London. Many of the founding members were also members of the non-party political pressure group ‘Campaign for an English Parliament’ . It was increasingly obvious to the founding members of the English Democrats that the Westminster political establishment was not listening to anyone unless they posed an electoral threat to their careers. This was as true of Labour, as of the Conservative party, both of which has spent years denying that England is a nation, or that a national identity and a distinct culture actually exist. For the Conservatives, the UK consists of Wales, Scotland and Britain – which is news to 55 million English people who find themselves without any effective national representation.
Will there always be an England? Don’t bet on it. One of the sinister plans from the Labour Government which remains is to break England into nine European Regions. This plan is not to give England a vote on devolution but to create nine Regional Ministries, nine lots of bureaucracies, new flags, regional identities, nine different offices in Brussels and generally trying to break England into bits.
They are already beavering away changing the structure of local County based police into ‘Regional’ police forces. They are removing local ambulance and fire brigades to the Regions and have even tried to set up Regional Assemblies, despite the fact they are unelected and have been rejected by the people in the North East in 2004.
The Conservatives have been almost silent on the issue of the break up of England – why? Because it was the Conservatives who designed the Regional blueprint. Labour are busily implementing it and the Liberal Democrats support the break-up of England. Here you see England’s dilemma – all three of the main political parties are pro- European, pro-Union and pro- breaking-up of England. One has to ask the question why?
One intriguing insight comes from the Scottish Claim of Right: “We” Do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberately (the) interests (of the Scottish people) shall be paramount. This was signed approved by Gordon Brown – Prime Minister, Menzies Campbell – Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Alistair Darling – Chancellor, George Galloway – Respect Party Leader, Charles Kennedy – ex Leader of Liberal Democrats, Michael Martin – Speaker of the Commons and John Reid – ex Home Secretary for England. Scots appear to dominate our political life, either as leaders of all of the three main parties, as funders and as senior figures in policy making.
The English Democrats believe that until the English have a parliament of their own within the UK the English nation is not represented. We consider it is an outrage that Scotland and Wales have been given devolution but the English have not only been left out of any consultation on the issue, but now find themselves ’sharing’ the UK Parliament with MPs from Scotland and Wales who regularly vote on English only matters when English MPs are barred from voting on Scottish and Welsh matters. We are also furious that since last September, English university students will be the only ones having to pay £3,000 in top up fees, whilst the Scots and Welsh pay nothing – as their national Governments have rejected fees for their students, but their MPs nevertheless used their votes in the UK Parliament to make the English pay!
England must have her own voice and great strides are being made to reinvigorate Englishness through the celebration of St. George’s Day, English culture and history. But we need more people who care about England to join in this enterprise.
England is a great country and we want to see a rejuvenated and liberated democratic England – and I encourage all my countrymen to ensure that there will really always be an England!
Robin Tilbrook is the Chairman of the English Democrats Party.