Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the category “England”

A Parting of the Ways?

Today marked a number of partings of the ways. The most obvious is the imminent (in historical terms) departure of the UK from the EU.

But there is another parting which comes down to values. Read more…

The Cliff Edge

Today the House of Commons is expected to roll-over and let the Government have a free rein over Brexit. The House of Lords is expected to “follow convention” and not oppose the Government a second time.

Theresa May is believed to be likely to trigger Article 50 as early as this week. This means that we start on an irrevocable journey out of the EU. The mood music from Davis and Fox is that that this will be a Hard Brexit, and Theresa May has confirmed that we will be leaving the single market (No “Norway” type relationship).

Looking over the cliff edge: Read more…

Post “The Day” Reflections

Ok, I think it’s a disaster and I am livid at what I see as the way both campaigns – but particularly Leave’s – were run. (Remain was inept, but Leave at times seemed deliberately devious.) If I had been active in the campaign I would also be feeling sore.
But the deed is done and we have to accept the result even if we can’t respect it. But there are a number of issues that bear closer examination.

Read more…

Law of Unintended Consequences: “Kicked out of Europe”

There is a certain (morbid) fascination in both counter-factual history and trying to anticipate the effect of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

The latter usually kicks in when someone tries to bring about an effect, but something contrary happens. Politically the chancellor might cut taxes to “boost the economy”, but instead just finds that the rich get richer and tax revenues go down. We might think that those are anticipated consequences even if we believe the chancellor when he says those were not the intended consequences.

So what are the consequences of the fan violence last night in the Marseilles stadium last night after the England-Russia football match?

Some can be anticipated and have happened. Read more…

England’s Confused Nationalism (1. Sport and Athems)

During the Summer of 2014 Democratic Audit ran a series of posts about the (English) National Anthem in response to Roy Hodgson’s call for England players to sing the National Anthem at the World Cup (An Association Football Championship, m’lud).

The issue of course is that the Anthem in question is “God Save the Queen” – one of the hardest working Anthems in the songbook as it fills the following roles:

  • National Anthem for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Salute for the Head of State of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (and other Realms)
  • Default Anthem for some (not all) England sporting teams (most notably the Association Football and Rugby Union Teams)

I have always found this odd, reflecting the confused national identity of England and indeed the United Kingdom. Given that the Scots (or more accurately, those in Scotland) have had a thorough examination of their national identity, perhaps England may reflect on its sporting identity as a preliminary warm-up to a more thorough review.

In the new year (2016) Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins intends to bring his English National Anthem Bill to Parliament on 13 January.

Read more…

Is an Unrepresentative Parliament a necessary EVEL?

The Scots (specifically the Scottish Nationalists at Westminster) look to be about to “save the fox“. That raises yet more questions about Cameron’s piecemeal approach to a new “constitutional settlement”.

This arises from the unanswered question about what the UK Parliament at Westminster should be. Whilst I have often complained that I am unrepresented in Parliament, I none-the-less subscribe to the belief that a Parliament should be a representative body rather than merely a body of representatives.

The difference is important and possibly holds the key to the current “Westminster Question”. Read more…

Northumberland Votes for Northumberland Laws?

Speaking in the House of Commons, MP for Hexham Guy Opperman said people in Northumberland are keen to see constitutional change.

Blocking Scottish MPs from voting on Northumberland’s affairs must happen as a matter of urgency, a North East MP has claimed.
Journal 16 December 2014 : Government must press on with English votes for English laws to fight ‘injustice’, Hexham MP Guy Opperman has said

I would equally like to see Southern and Midlands MPs from voting on Northumberland’s affairs – as a matter of urgency. Read more…

Would this happen in the South East?

Work to repair a road that has been closed for two years will begin in February, Northumberland County Council has said.

A landslip on Boxing Day 2012 damaged a section of the B6344 at Crag End, Rothbury.

The road was one of the main routes into the town.
BBC News Website 8 December 2014 : Rothbury landslip damaged road to be repaired

We have had floods in the North East and Cumbria (Morpeth, Carlisle, Cockermouth) and mains water disconnected from a major North Eastern market town for almost two weeks (Hexham) and the response was shall we say “leisurely”. Yet when we had floods in Berkshire and Somerset – almost instant Government support. Read more…

Drumbeats from North of the Border

This week (27 November 2014) has seen the publication of the Smith Commission‘s proposals – seen by many as the first stage in delivering the three Musketeer’s Vow to the Scottish People.

Whether it proves to be an effective response to the apparent desire of the Scottish people for more autonomy is yet to be seen.

It does however set a critical and crucial drumbeat to which all in the UK must respond. Read more…

The English Paradox

Nations are rarely static; they tend to either form structures to hold them together or they split apart.

This puts England (as the core of the hollowed out British Empire) in a decidedly odd position. Read more…

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