Many have suggested that the answer to our unbalanced country is an English Parliament. The far-right English Democrats have made this their flagship policy. However, this is not the answer to Britain’s issues, for the following reasons:
- England (as one bloc) is too large for a balanced and fair Union to survive
Within our United Kingdom, England contains most of the population and contributes most of the GDP. Imagine an all-England Parliament, captured by parties like the English Democrats. What would happen if that group chose to unilaterally deny funds to the Union government? The reaction would tear the United Kingdom apart.
2. We need to tackle regional inequality within England
Overemplhasis on London has left millions in our regions cut off from power and opportunity. With an English Parliament, this problem would become dramatically worse. This will only worsen the North-South divide. The poorest parts of England turned away from Labour at the last election. We have to give them the power and money needed to turn around a decade of austerity.
3. An all-England Parliament would only encourage separatism
The climate emergency, corporate tax evasion, workers’ rights, fair treatment of refugees – none of these can be addressed if we split ourselves up into ever smaller and smaller blocs. Yet an all-England Parliament would give separatists the platform they desire. How long would the United Kingdom survive? How would our progressive politics thrive? We need to reduce the differences between each part of our Union – not highlight those divisions furthe.
4. Regional (and civic) identities deserve celebration within the Union
By only granting autonomy to England as a whole, our regional and civic identities would be drowned out. The North-South divide is far more vicious than that between (for example) that along the Anglo-Scottish border, either side of which sit communities long since forgotten by Westminster and the City of London. Millions of people are proud to be from Yorkshire, or the West Country, or their city or town, in addition to being British. Rewarding those identities with real power is the antidote to separatism and economic decline.