Posted by: secretperson | February 28, 2008

English Parliament – What are the Best Tactics?

Following on from my post on the House of Commons Justice Committee I have been thinking about how the Campaign for an English Parliament and others with the same aim can improve our tactics.

I don’t have any obvious solutions, this is more of a discussion and brain storm and I hope others can contribute if they have any great ideas!

One thing that came across was that MPs are very much wedded to the status quo. Questioners were worried about how an English Parliament would affect the Union they work for. Should we then tone down radical suggestions? I think the problem is an English parliament is always a radical suggestion. The only way to do it without changing much would be by default, an independent Scotland and Wales removing their MPs and Lords leaving a barely changed Westminster as an English parliament. And that is up to the Scots and Welsh really.

Another problem is the lack of a detailed plan on the workings of any English parliament. For us this is a matter of principle, we want national representation. The CEP is a broad, single issue campaign group. It wants the people of England to be consulted on any parliament, location, relation to the rest of the UK etc. This is good in that we all agree on a democratic goal, without having to sign up to a specific form of solution beyond a parliament. This does present problems when trying to persuade others that it is the right idea.

The answer I assume is that it is the pro-English political parties that must address specifics. Already the English Democrats Party has had a break away, the Free England Party. The English Democrats advocate an English parliament with the same powers as the existing Scottish parliament, whereas Free England want complete independence. Both are opposed to membership of the EU.

Was the CEP to offer specific proposals it would risk splitting up, both along the lines of the two parties mentioned above, and on other lines. There are localists who might agree with an English parliament but reject a more centralised form. There are pro-EU and anti-EU members of the CEP who might be lost if we declared a position on membership. I see the single issue nature as a strength, so other ways must be found to address the issue of specifics.

If we can make the campaign big enough that politicians realise supporting an English parliament is a vote winner, they will iron out the constitutional difficulties I am sure. So how do we go about getting more publicity?

The English Question is rarely touched on by the press. Polls on an English parliament show big support, but only when the current problems are spelled out. People remain unaware, should raising the profile be the main aim? Going to the electorate rather than the electors? It is no doubt a good idea and people are trying, but making the step up from popular internet campaign to the national news is not easy. All we can do is keep on writing letters and hope some mainstream journalists pick up on it. The Telegraph’s Simon Heffer is an English parliament supporter for one. If there were more opportunities for stories I am sure a few others would come out to back us.

Direct action is a good way of getting attention. Though I have to admit it is not really me! It seems the preserve of the left and students traditionally (not that the CEP doesn’t have supporters from both groups). The recent roof top Commons protest by Plane Stupid (against a third runway at Heathrow) by 5 people got so much more attention than the couple of thousand, on the same day, protesting about the lack of a referendum on the EU treaty.

I think the public may no longer be impressed with these stunts, but there must be some way to raise awareness of these issues. If the English Democrats or Free England are polling well in London or European elections where there is PR, it will force politicians to look at our problems. We at the CEP must raise awareness to make this a possibility. The problem is I don’t know how!

Sadly the best hope for an English parliament remains the other nations of the UK going their own way. As always it is up to the other nations to decide, and never the English. Unless anyone has any great ideas?

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Responses

  1. […] All of which leaves me asking what can we do? […]

  2. The internet and the Witangemot have been very good at getting the message out, but there is just not enough people on board to crack this one open. We need main stream media to move further along. We need an English Radio Station
    like Radio Caroline (pirate preferably) or an English Nationalist newspaper. Then we can wipe the floor with them

  3. Yes, as Ron Paul found out in America internet support isn’t enough if the mainstream media ignore you. Much as a new radio station or newspaper is a good idea, until we are getting regular coverage on the political inequalities in the big broadsheets and hopefully some grass roots patriotism in the tabloids, we will not get the message out.

  4. It seems quite apparent that the establishment doesn’t give a damn about the injustices facing the English.

    I think there are two things the English movement needs to do.

    a) spread the word at the grass roots level – through distributing literature at a local level.

    b) direct action. I spent four hours queuing outside the houses of parliament on Wednesday along with approximately 3000 other people for the “I want a referendum” mass lobby.

    Five or so people from Plane Stupid group got onto the roof of the building and that was the news story.

    We need to take it to them.

  5. Hi Wyrdtimes, well done on attending the EU demo. It is a shame that peaceful protest, using the parliamentary system as it is meant to be used, does not get as much attention as silly stunts.

    One idea I had, though not developed at all is to somehow use sports. England rugby and football matches are about the only times England as a nation gets any attention and you see the Cross of St George all over the place.

    If only we had a multi-millionaire backer to buy some prime time sports advertising!

  6. I think things are picking up speed now as I have heard it on the radio a few times.

    I think a good move would be Talksport or other
    national radio stations. They do have presenters
    who give people a chance to have a say. They don’t always agree with the topic but the publicity would have people thinking.

    Elections are around the corner and the government will be pushing British all the more
    in your face so they will be looking silly as usual.

    Radio is the first step I think Wyrdtimes.

  7. For a few seconds I thought the FEP might be a new or alternative pro-England voice.
    But they’re the EDP (crypto-Christian Democrats, but anti-EU) plus pro-independence from the UK.
    Nor does their website actually say who is behind it, that I could find.
    I know there are pro-EU members of the CEP – not blindly following everything about the EU, but should we say ‘critical friends’ who believe we’re better in than out, but much needs changing. Where though is their voice?

  8. Yes Chris the FEP are a break away from the EDP because they call for full independence. Andrew Constantine is one behind it I believe. The CEP has members from all views on Europe etc, but there is no pro-EU pro-England party as far as I know.

    In my opinion, the EU is beyond reform and those who say they want reform won’t get it, we’ll just have to put up with what there is or leave. The Witanagenot club have a range of pro-English parliament bloggers who might be able to help you though, some of them are bound to be pro-EU too.

  9. To get elected a party must attract middle England. This rules out the BNP who apeal predominantly to what was called the working class.The EDP have the potential, thats why I joined them. The EDP can capitalise on the Tory weakness to address the immigration issue and the EU. These issues will allow easy pickings if and only if the EDP attract voters to their shop window by sound economic policies and place the English Parliament 3rd or 4th in terms of bait.It surely is just a case of tactics.
    Chris Judd EDP Cambridge


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