Vote for England and St. George?

That’ll teach them not to officially fly the flag of St. George atop our dual-purpose English and British parliament! Serves them right – although, apparently, the police stopped the Power 2010 activists from projecting this giant Cross of St. George onto the Palace of Westminster after only about two minutes, no doubt on some spurious counter-terrorist or public-order grounds. British police state!

The Power 2010 campaign, which was, to say the least, a reluctant convert to the cause of English votes on English laws at the time of their online poll to determine the most popular ideas for constitutional reform, which culminated in February, is now urging people to write to their parliamentary candidates to ask them for their views on the English Question. Good for them, and great idea to project the flag and create this image!

There’s no doubt that if all English people who support an English parliament – 68% according to an ICM poll commissioned by Power 2010, due to be published today – could back just one party in support of that aim, then that party would romp to victory at the general election and reclaim Westminster as the English parliament. But in practice, the idea of voting for a pro-EP candidate puts me in something of a quandary. I devoted my last post here to promoting the idea behind the Hang ‘Em campaign, which seeks to mobilise voters to back the candidate most likely to advance the cause of a reforming parliament, principally by achieving a hung parliament. In accordance with that objective, I’ve decided to vote Lib Dem, as their candidate in my constituency is the only one who could possibly defeat the existing Tory MP, thereby furthering the goal of a hung parliament. But should I switch my vote over to the Tory if he turns out to support an English parliament?

I’m definitely going to take the opportunity to ask him and should have done so when I bumped into him in a local street canvassing last week (!); but I’m not sure he or one of his campaign team are going to have time to reply before 6 May now – talk of doing too little, too late, myself included in the criticism! In any case, I think it’s highly unlikely he would support such a radical constitutional innovation, as he never seems to deviate in any way from official Conservative policy, which doesn’t even propose a workable solution to the West Lothian Question, let alone address the English Question. But what if he does turn out to support an EP?

Well, there’s no point voting for a candidate who favours an English parliament who, if elected, wouldn’t do anything to advance that cause. But I’ll ask him whether he would do anything about it, if he does support an EP, and give him the chance to set out his views. I’ll let you know what answer I get to my question, if any. But my default position remains that the best way to promote the goal of an English parliament is to vote for a hung British parliament; and, in any case, voting Lib Dem is entirely consistent with both objectives, as they at least say in their manifesto that the English Question needs to be dealt with as part of an overall British constitutional convention.

So I still say ‘vote hung parliament’ until the Cross of St. George hangs from an English parliament!

Have a good one, by the way.


5 Responses

  1. Slightly off topic … but Iain Dale is getting worked up about dodgy leaflets and Welsh Labour’s dodgy manifesto claims. If the Tories really go after that angle Labour could respond with Julie from Llandudno (she’s still on the website!) and the whole reserved/devolved business could get some attention … however I suspect this debate wll be shut down before it gets up too much head of steam.

    • Yes, I expect so; the parties are conspiring to draw a veil of silence over the whole matter. Note that no one referred to England in the prime-ministerial debate yesterday, even when talking about social care (devolved). In fact, there’s been very little discussion about devolved matters at all since the first TV debate, where England was equally not mentioned a single time. Do the parties think they’ve dealt with that now? Conveniently avoids having to be specific about the countries the manifesto policies actually relate to.

      I noticed an SNP spokesperson complained that ‘Scotland’ was mentioned only once in last night’s programme. Well how about a single mention for England or for Wales, for that matter?

      (Completely tangential thought: if you count Tony Blair as Scottish, though representing an English seat, is the last time the Labour Party was led by an English person representing an English seat Harold Wilson?)

  2. […] Although I will probably be voting Lib Dem this time round – unless my Tory MP astounds me by previously unsuspected support for an English parliament – a Lib-Dem break-through could have far-reaching ramifications for the prospects and nature of […]

  3. I Dont know what your yapping about
    im from the north of Ireland [which has never had a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Elected] but we have to Put up with Prime Ministers from England [then Scotland] speaking for us even though we never Elected them, as for flags A Flag is ment to Represent an Instution [ie. An England Assembly] and not a Country, England Already has a Parliament its Called Westminster,

  4. […] couple of replies from my local candidates on the Power 2010 Pledge, which I wrote to them about on St. George’s Day. Their responses are basically in line with their parties’ manifestoes, which I suppose is no […]

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