The House that someone built

The BBC Wales political editor Betsan Powys has this on her blog. Last Thursday Derek Wyatt Labour MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey explained the constitutional history of the UK. It is here in Hansad but I will reproduce it below the fold. I have little doubt it will stir up some complaints from all sides.This debate has a simple theme. My constituents are living in a half-finished house that costs them money, and they are beginning to resent it. The half-finished house in our country—the United Kingdom—has, like so many historic houses, grown up over the centuries without a master plan and according to the needs or whims of successive owners. Nearly 90 years ago, after a long and bitter dispute, we gave the neighbouring property to its sitting tenants—although some preferred to go on living with us. We spent the next 70 years or so trying to improve our house to make it a better place in which to live and trying to protect it from outside attack. We made no changes to the structure of the house and all the rooms and facilities were shared among all the residents.
However, in the past 10 years, there has been some major remodelling of the property. We converted the upstairs into a separate flat for the Scots and created another flat with inferior facilities in the west wing for the Welsh. We then persuaded the Northern Irish to live in another flat in the orangery—although many of them wanted to live with their neighbours next door. All that remodelling failed to create any special space for the English. They went on living in the property, but the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish were still free to walk in and help themselves to the fridge and the drinks cabinet. They could even make rules for the English that they themselves did not have to follow. Meanwhile, the English went on paying most of the household bills.

  • Dewi

    Good blog, Good reference and good original. It’s good to see the English people re-defining themselves post colonialism. Me, I have not the slightest contest about the financial settlement. NI, perhaps, might be different……..

  • Michael Shilliday

    At least it’s an effort to be creative! Doesn’t strike me as being in line with Labour policy though.

    I can’t help but think that I’m on the same page as he is though, even if I disagree with his route there. The idea of a single English Parliament is one that I have sympathy with.

  • Dewi

    Good Michael – and then you can perhaps forget this British nonsense…..Pete keeps on blogging about the mythology of Celticness but that’s nowt compared to the invention of Britishness..

  • fionn

    Sitting tenants??

    ..sheesh!

  • All perfectly valid, except that tenants normally contribute fairly in rent. And that rent is negotiable.

    Recent experience has been that the orangery lot have been paid off, but still not moved out. And keep coming back and demanding more.

    Oh, and everyone has had a say in the arrangements except the occupants of the main house.

  • “Meanwhile, the English went on paying most of the household bills.”

    Well, there are more of them so it seems only fair that they should do so.

    There are rumours that the fridge and drinks cabinet is being topped up by corporate donors but that only certain privileged occupants have the right type of bottle opener …

  • “failed to create any special space for the English”

    Nonsense. Who do they think they are? Big John Prescott gave them nine self-catering cubby holes!!

  • perry patetic

    Is Orangery a posh name for a Greenhouse?

  • Jer

    So we had a lovely house and then we discovered there was an attic and we went in to it and came out in our neighbours house and decided that we liked that house as well so we moved some of the kids in. Course we were a big family so the other kids moved out into the real world and got places of their own at University. Good kids they were studied law and knew all about squatters rights. The street were right friendly then when we owned a quarter of the houses in town. Gone down hill a bit though and the kids had to move back in with us. Funny how the tenants are cross with us now after all the time we kindly spent managing their property for them. Some people are never happy.

  • DougtheDug

    This debate has a simple theme. My constituents are living in a knocked together terrace that they lost control of, and they are beginning to resent it. The knocked together terrace is our country-the United Kingdom-has and, like so many historic terraces, grew up over the centuries with a master plan written by the owners of the biggest house. Nearly 90 years ago, after a long and bitter dispute, we gave the neighbouring property back to its rightful owners although we kept a room. We spent the next 70 years or so trying to improve the remains of our terrace to make it indivisible and trying to protect it from outside attack and inside attack. We made no changes to the open structure of the terrace and all the houses, rooms and facilities were run from the biggest house.
    However, in the past 10 years, there has been some major remodelling of the terrace. We gave the Scots back some control over their own house in the hope they’d keep a connecting door and gave the Welsh less control over theirs. We then persuaded the Northern Irish to keep a connecting door between our house and their room in the Irish house next door, although many of them wanted the door removed. All that remodelling still left the the English in overall control of most of the terrace. They went on living in the terrace and the Scots and the Welsh were not free to run their own houses and the Northern Irish couldn’t close the door. They could not make rules the English did not like. Meanwhile, the English complained that they were paying most of the household bills but never let anyone see the accounts, especially the fuel receipts.

  • iwantmyownroom!

    “Meanwhile, the English complained that they were paying most of the household bills but never let anyone see the accounts, especially the fuel receipts.”

    Should a domestic household be selling fuel?

    Is the Isle of Man the garden shed and are the channel isles the summerhouse?

    Gibraltar’s clearly our beach hut.

    I’d like to complain about the people I’m sharing my bedroom with in the Irish house. They keep wanting to redecorate, chuck out all my nick-nacks and, frankly, they have terrible taste.
    I really don’t see that I should pay much rent given my shitty living conditions.