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Treachery revisited

Back in June I delivered a well deserved broadside to David Davis and Iain Dale who, in defiance of their previously stated beliefs, decided to run for the Conservative Party leadership on an English Votes on English Matters ticket.

As it turned out it was not the winning ticket and they got beaten, and deservedly so if they are not prepared to stand by what they believe. It puzzled me though. Why would two people that have previously stated that England should have a parliament suddenly, and without any explanation (at the time or since), change their stance for a leadership campaign?

The great tragedy is that they lost to David Cameron, a Blair clone who lacks any convincing ideology or visible integrity. My problem with Cameron is the same as my problem with Blair: I don't believe that he is sincere; policy is made on the hoof depending on which way the wind is blowing; style over substance; spin over fact; and, worst of all he's smarmy. I would dearly have loved Davis to win because he supported an English parliament, he fiercely opposed Labour's attacks on civil liberties and he took a sensible line over the EU. Most of all though I believed that he was sincere and that his word was his bond.

But it wasn't. He back-tracked on the one issue that is most important to me - an English parliament - and in doing so he lost my support.

Did Davis and Dale really have a change of heart and decide that English Votes on English Matters, as opposed to an English parliament, was the answer? Or were they, in the style of Cameron and Blair, making policy decisions not on their beliefs but on what they thought would get them elected? I doubt that we shall ever know.

Yesterday Iain Dale published an article on his blog that makes me believe that treachery was the correct word. I quote from the article:

Christine ought to be a Conservative. Indeed, she ought to be a Conservative MP. But she thinks the Conservatives have failed her because of their reluctance to adopt the policy of instituting an English Parliament. English votes for English measures is not enough for her and her friends. Never having been a great fan of devolution and a critic of bloated bureaucracy I have been singularly unimpressed with what either the Scottish Parliament or Welsh Assembly have achieved. Any yet, and yet... there can be little doubt that there is a great feeling of injustice among many in England, particularly as a disproportionate number of our leaders seem to be Scots. The Liberal Democrats, and Simon Hughes in particular, seem quite keen on an English Parliament and I am concerned that we Conservatives may be outflanked on this if we are not careful. We ought to be attracting Christine Constable back to the Conservatives. Let the debate begin.

Iain, it's time for you to make amends. Salvation lies in joining the Witanagemot Club.

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Collective Responsibility

If you wondered why David Davis dropped his support for an English parliament and English referendum in favour of the constitutionally unworkable 'English Votes on English Matters' the answer is 'collective responsibility'.

If each of the other nations o

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That's a very perverted view

That's a very perverted view of history, but there we go. You obivously have no clue about the meaning of collective responsibility, which as a member of the Shadow cabinet, David was obiged to observe. And still is. I do not have to anymore as I no longer work for him. I have always been sympathetic to an English parliament and remain so. But if you read my latest posting on the issue I make clear that I am concerned that not enough work has been done to make the case and the people making it often come across as extreme right wing nationalists. If an Emglish parliament is to ever happen it needs to have support right across the political spectrum and to have its powers very clearly defined. To my mind, its proponents have never made that case clearly enough. I am debating whether to get more involved in the isssue, but the one meeting I attended before the last election did not give me any confidence at all that the people leading the CEP and English Democrats had any idea of what needed to be done.

What needs to be done is for

What needs to be done is for the Conservatives to stop hiding behind the tissue of lies that is 'English Votes on English Matters'.

I fully understand the concept of collective responsibility. But if you expect me to believe that a constitutional settlement that creates a parliament within a parliament and makes it quite impossible for there to ever be a Scottish PM is in any way responsible then you are deluded.

Collective responsibility as you would have it relies on everyone in a Davis cabinet adopting a fraudulent position or resigning their post if they publicly disagree with it. It also requires the abrogation of their ideals and the flouting of their responsibility.

By adopting the position that he did Davis let a great many people down, not least himself.

Anyway, I'm pleased to hear that the position adopted was one of convenience rather than ideology. Prehaps Davis and yourself, freed from the straight-jacket of collective responsibility and the leadership contest, will be able to speak openly on the subject. I personally welcome all debate and all points of view when they are sincerely offered and I look forward to reading more from you on the subject. The CEP and EDP will no doubt read and learn from what you have to say.

The Witanagemot Club was set up to help generate and permeate discussion of the England Question. You now have a link to your blog from this blog, the CEP and the witan homepage.

The longer that I consider

The longer that I consider Dale's response the more it baffles me. Essentially what he is saying is that Conservative leadership contenders have more responsibility to kowtow to Conservative Party policy than proclaim their own views on a subject.

If this is the case how are Conservative members supposed to know what they are voting for in a leadership campaign?

Iain can debate with him self

Iain can debate with him self all he likes about whether or not to involve himself more in the issue, but we'll carry on. The case for an English Parliament has been debated a number of times in the Lords and in Parliament, they can hardly say it is a non issue.
As far as appearing to be extreme right wing,I don't believe any groups calling for an English Parliament have said any thing that has not already been said by the the extreme nationalistic left of the SNP or Plaid Cymru in their campaigns for Independence.
The people leading the CEP have an idea of what needs to be done, the need is to get our elected politicians to represent England properly at Westminster.
Iain Dale seems to think the CEP leadership is not up to it? In my opinion there are many many English MP's not up to it.

"the people making it often

"the people making it often come across as extreme right wing nationalists"

Actually, like the old argument about England being too big for a parliament, I think you need to be called out on this one Iain. When you say "often" do you meen "I once thought someone was"?

"Often" to me sounds a little like "usually". Be a little clearer please because many of us look around at our fellow campaigners and see nothing but the usual tolerance, mixed political views and a feeling that a great injustice is being visited upon them.

Iain Dale is resorting to the

Iain Dale is resorting to the political correctness style of debate. If you have no coherent argument simply imply that someone is extreme - no rebuttal of their argument then required.

Sadly this is an issue that will not go away no matter how 'extreme' we may appear to Dale.

I'm neither extreme or particularly right-wing. I'm English though, and stating that fact whilst demanding democracy and constitutional parity does apparently make me extreme in the eyes of some. I've been involved with the CEP for years and have lost count of the number of times that people have accused me of being an extremist, or racist, or far-right, or xenophobic etc...often these people are morons incapable of reasoned debate, but more often when you explain to the mudslinger the nature of your campaign they realise their mistake. Usually the insulting epithets chucked around by the politically correct are just knee-jerk reactions to the very idea of English nationalism or the prominent display of the English flag, never do they bare up to any closer inspection.

I think the problem is that

I think the problem is that Iain is expecting the CEP to go further than they intend to. The CEP is ultimately campaigning for the right to have a referendum on an English Parliament, not putting forward a comprehensive proposal for one.

How an English Parliament is implemented, what powers it has and how it fits in with the British government is something that lawyers and law makers would have to debate.

Obviously, to put forward an argument for an English Parliament it is necessary to float ideas on its roles and responsibilites and the benefits that would come from it. I think it is unreasonable, however, to expect a group of campaigners such as the CEP to come up with a full proposal for an English Parliament - this is what the political parties should be doing.

I agree that the EDP should have a more comprehensive plan of action for English devolution because that is the central issue of the party.

The CEP and EDP may have similar aims but they are not linked in any way. Also, the EDP are a political party whereas the CEP are deliberately apolitical.

Iain, I think you should re-examine the aims of the CEP which you have obviously misunderstood and seriously consider supporting them.

To be honest, from an

To be honest, from an ideology point of view, the EDP are a little inconsistent on their policies and are definitely not "extreme" or particularly "right-wing" as was pointed out to me in vehement terms on the Cross of St George forum.

The CEP is increasingly making the case more noticeably and the "clarity" of the case is only watered down by the media's intermediary role. The CEP's case is as clear as a bell as, Iain, you would know if you visited the Campaign's website.

I trust you'll join and help raise the profile of the CEP (which is not partisan and should not be grouped in with the EDP).

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