Christine is Vice Chairman of the English Democrats.
The Newsnight debate "Disunited Kingdom" on Monday 17th January was top heavy with audience and speakers and sadly because of this many interesting points were not fully explored, although I was pleased I had at least one opportunity to put the English position.
My visit to Holyrood, interviews for Border Television and Newsnight brought me face to face with the SNP and I was pleased to say I found the whole atmosphere in Scotland one of cordiality and shared purpose.
From a personal point of view I have no desire to see an end to the Union, nor is it a policy of the English Democrats. What Scotland and England share however, is a yearning desire to be who we are English and Scottish.
To increasing numbers of people their national identity is more important than to be simply known as British. The term British has over the years been so devalued, that most people would struggle to be able to describe it or to know "how" it unites so many of the diverse ethnic and religious citizens it seeks to represent.
For many, to be British could also mean an inability to speak English,
wear conventional clothing, or not to have much involvement in
mainstream society – so fractured and divided has our society become
under Labour, being British is akin to describing someone simply as a
member of humanity, a "catch all" a diplomatic nicety.
I like the Scots. I found on my trip to Edinburgh a shabbier and less
confident Edinburgh than I had seen some 10 years previously. I was
surprised at the lack of confidence expressed by the Scots and their
constant preoccupation with the large shadow of England they felt laid
over them like a suffocating fog.
For me, as an English nationalist I couldn’t really understand why they
had such a low opinion of themselves. I spent one afternoon visiting
galleries and Edinburgh Castle and felt proud for Scotland and have
always admired their fierce determination to express their Scottishness
and good luck to them. The SNP care deeply about Scotland and I admire
them for that and felt much sympathy for their objectives to see
Scotland become a thriving nation in its own right, something I want
for England too, within or outside of the Union however this comes
After coming back from Edinburgh I was sorry to see David Cameron be so
emphatic in his rejection of an English Parliament and even more
suprised to see David Davis reject an English Parliament too, it
doesn’t make any sense, electorally or democratically.
A parliament is the expression of a nation state, by objecting to
England having her own parliament is a public rejection of England’s
right to be a nation and to be recognised as such. England is fighting
for her very existence, and the more the Conservatives refer to
"regional government" and feed the European agenda to dismantle England
as a nation state, the more the English electorate will reject the
Conservatives I can see it all around me, people are drifting away.
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights requires that states
enable the political representatives of the people to be "freely
chosen". Without an English Parliament and English Executive, the
English will be in the position of not being able to "freely choose"
their First Minister – this point will be hammered home should Gordon
Brown ever get the job.
Conservatives are wrong to deny England a Parliament of her own. The
people want it (68% in favour Sunday Telegraph ICM Poll/ 61% BBC Poll),
the Scots and Welsh want it too. Only the Scottish led and financed
parties are rejecting the popular will. I fear that the Conservatives
are making a dangerous mistake in not joining with the English
Constitutional Convention in the forthcoming national debate on English
Devolution. By rejecting so firmly an English Parliament they leave
themselves with little room to manoeuver. The public mood is swinging
behind the demand for English democracy, the Conservatives (along with
the other two parties) could well find themselves rejected by the
people of England for not defending English democratic rights, proving
that despite burning Conservative fingers in Scotland, Tories haven’t
learnt any lessons and are doomed to repeat the same mistakes all over
again, this time on the more important stage of England itself.
As a democrat, a nationalist and a patriot I see no danger in wanting
an English Parliament – if the Union cannot withstand democracy then
the Union has had its day. If the Union has a role and the case for it
is strong, let it prove itself in an open democratic debate, retain as
Bill Cash suggests its legitimacy by submitting itself to a UK wide
affirmation of its importance via a referendum – only those who fear
democracy reject the popular will a risky and dangerous position to