Embrace the Union and Britishness

Jonathan Freedland rounds on David Cameron’s vocal support for English only sessions at Parliament as difficult to operate, a threat to the Union and an implicit abandonment of Wales and Scotland by the Tories. He argues the left should overcome its reluctance and embrace the Union and Britishness as any English state will be strongly right wing and that Britishness offers a more inclusive identity than the forms of Englishness espoused.

  • What “Union” is that then?.

    Democracy with strings because the English might get what they vote for
    Date: July 5, 2006 | Discussion: No Comments
    This article by Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian is astonishing for two reasons.

    Firstly he accepts that the Tory plan for English votes on English matters may ultimately lead to an English Parliament. Personally I see that as a good thing but would much prefer that we cut out all the muddle in the middle.

    Secondly, and this is the big one, he states that the English should be denied a Parliament of their own because if they had one their political and democratic will would be realised:

    First, a separate England could well be a Tory one-party state for decades to come. English votes for English laws could see a Conservative grip on the English public realm that will be near-impossible to loosen. English progressives have relied on the Scots and Welsh as a taming, civilising force. Without them, England could march ever rightward.

    You have to hand it to him. An article about our democracy and, more specifically about the problems with it and possible solutions, that seeks to deny a proper national democracy for the English because if they had a parliament they might just get what they want.

    UPDATE: I’ve posted the following in the comments of the article. I urge supporting readers to do something similar:

    You are a wicked man Mr. Freedland. You argue that if the English had their own national parliament, and consequently a proper nation state, they might actually get what they want. Taming indeed! I would have chosen a different word.


  • Della

    I am rather looking forward to the day the British government is dismantled and they trundle out of their last freebie party, with tear stained faces.
    I bet there will a very, very long session of paper shredding, before then, though. They’ll be leading it away in skips.

  • English

    Good move, an English Parliament for the English. You can sort your own problems out – because we get feck all thanks for trying to solve them!

  • PHIL

    Freedland sounds like Brown and all the other Scottish Rajists. They are loosing their grip on England and they are using every trick in the book to deny the English democracy.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    Does it grate at all that Northern Ireland doesn’t even merit a passing mention on this issue?

  • Prince Eoghan


    English, Phil. The English left are right to be afraid. The uncommon good sense of the Scots have helped, nay guided Britain for 3 centuries. When Scotland eventually gives you independance, I bet that you end up missing us.

    Don’t hurry back now.

  • PHIL

    Prince Eoghan,

    “When Scotland eventually gives you independance, I bet that you end up missing us.”

    I doubt that we will somehow but just as Labour haven’t had it all their own way in the Scottish parlaiment it is by no means certain that England will elect Tory regimes forever after.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Well, I hope so for your sake. Mind we will keep the border posts open for political refugees, not economic migrants mind you.

  • PHIL

    Prince Eoghan,

    What a choice, living in a Tory England or a Red Scotland! If your perpeptual Tory nightmare comes to pass then I may have to take up your offer! All I would say though is that even at a time when Labour were hugely unpopular, they still managed to get slightly more seats than the Conservatives and were only slightly behind them on percentage of votes cast. Labour still have huge support accros England and if the circumstances are right (as they were in 1997) there is no reason why the English wouldn’t elect a Labour administration.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Red Scotland…… ahhhhh just savouring the thought. Not that I am a red, we are far more left of centre in general than say England. But in a more social-democratic caring for people kind of way.

    400,000 plus of your countrymen and Johnny Adair seem to like it anyway.

  • PHIL

    And I like it too, it’s just not my country!