October 24th in the Strangers Room of the House of Commons a potentially highly significant meeting took place. This was the first Patrons meeting of the English Constitutional Convention.
Like all Constitutional Conventions, the purpose of the English Constitutional Convention is to debate and seek agreement upon the future political framework and Constitution of the country. In this case the meeting was of Lords, MPs, academics, lawyers and assorted English patriots, who were meeting to thank the Patrons of the English Constitutional Convention for lending their support to the process of seeking to reach a fair Constitutional settlement for England and for her people.
The Convention is urgently needed because of the unfairly, unbalanced (not to say gerrymandered) developments, which Tony Blairs government has brought about.
In fact the antipathy of the British political class towards England is so great that the Governments official position is that there is no such nationality as English. Also Charles Kennedy, when he was Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that the reason why breaking England up into Regions was such a good idea was because it was calling into question the idea of England itself. For the Conservatives, Dave Donald Camerons comment is that anybody from the south of the border who complains about the current arrangements is a sour little Englander!
In the face of this hostility a sizeable and influential group of sour little Englanders met and heard Mark Gill, the Head of political polling at Ipsos MORI; explain the astonishing turnaround in English public opinion, in which 41% of the English people now support a Parliament for England, with at least the same powers as the Scottish Parliament.
The powers of the Scottish Parliament and Government are already considerable but are almost certain to become even more extensive following the May 2007 elections (which take place shortly after the 1st May tri-centenary of the Act of Union). In those elections, opinion polls are now showing a clear likelihood of the Scottish National Party becoming the largest party in the Scottish Parliament.
The Liberal Democrats are preparing the ground for that likely outcome by changing their Scottish manifesto, under the aegis of the Steel Commission, to call for what amounts to almost full domestic independence for Scotland (but not an end to the multi-billion pound subsidy from the English taxpayer to Scotland, known as the Barnett Formula!).
Earlier this year, Lord Barnett, the originator of the funding formula, was on GMTV explaining how grossly unfair to England and how scandalous the continuation of the Barnett Formula had become. Lord Barnett also called for the formula to be immediately abolished. That day Mr Cameron was telling the BBCs Andrew Marr, that despite representing and English Constituency, he was not going to do anything about the Barnett Formula because I am a Cameron and there is plenty of Scottish blood flowing through these veins This from an MP who represents an English Constituency.
Thank you Mr Cameron I think we now know on which side of the border your loyalties lay!
Nor, I suspect, will it surprise you, dear reader, to learn that the Conservatives are following in the same short-sighted policy which they adopted towards the Scottish Constitutional Convention by largely boycotting the meeting.
Another speaker at the meeting was Canon Dr Kenyon Wright CBE, who was the Chair of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, who came to offer the English Constitutional Convention tips on following the success of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, by which the Scots got their own Parliament, First Minister and Government.
The meeting was sponsored by the Campaign for an English Parliament and the English Democrats Party. The Convention is a non-party political forum for debating the Constitutional future of England, and which is intended to reach a consensus on the Constitutional structure for England. Where there is no consensus, the Convention will seek to identify the options, canvas public opinion as widely as possible and seek a referendum decision and democratic mandate from the people of England for the structure of our National Government.