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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sticking to the party line

Rather uncharacteristically, the Assembly's Presiding Officer is going to great lengths to argue that his latest pronouncement is absolutely on-message with that of his party:

DAFYDD ELIS-THOMAS last night denied he had spoken out against Plaid Cymru's objective of Welsh independence in an interview he gave to a political magazine.

The magazine Parliamentary Monitor suggested the National Assembly's Presiding Officer had deviated from the policy of the party he used to lead by saying that devolution in England would help deliver a "United Kingdom in a united Europe".

Lord Elis-Thomas was said to have argued that giving people in England a similar say in their domestic affairs would help achieve a more secure constitutional settlement.

The magazine piece continued, "Despite being a member of Plaid Cymru - which advocates the break-up of the United Kingdom to gain independence for Wales - the former MP said devolution could ensure the future of a politically unified Britain."

The mistake here is obviously that of the Parliamentary Monitor for thinking that Plaid Cymru have a clear message on this issue at all. Speak to any Plaid member and you will get a different interpretation of their independence message. Some want a Federal UK (I believe that was what Dafydd Elis Thomas was arguing for), others want an independent Wales within Europe (whatever that means), some want full separation, whatever the consequences, whilst the official line seems to be that they try not to talk about it at all for fear of scaring the voters.

If devolution is to work within the UK then something needs to happen in England as well. What that should be is surely a matter for the English.
I agree that PC message on Independence is very unclear, although no one takes anything DLT says seriously anymore (at least not for the last 15years).

Do the Lib Dems have a policy on England?

The 'consequences' of independence sounds scary, what are you afraid will happen?!
As I understand it the English Liberal Democrats advocate devolution to the regions. However, that is a matter for them.

The consequences of independence are well documented and revolve mostly around the fiscal deficit Wales would face if it stopped receiving subsidies from English taxpayers.
Thanks for the brief explanation of your understanding of Lib Dems policy on Englsih Devolution. I had a quick look for the English Liberal Democrats' website, but couldn't find one, only a reference to a postal address which happens to be the same one for the UK party.

I agree that it should be a matter for the English whether or not they want devolution, but seeing as it's actualy them that's keeping us going through subsidies, maybe English tax-payers should be have more of a say about what we do with their money. Seems a bit rude really, being such a burden on them.
The English party is based in the Federal HQ but by and large piggy-backs onto the Federal structure. The party in England is largely organised around regions. Policy though is made on an English basis so as to reflect the reality of our devolution settlement.

Nobody said that we are a burden on anybody nor that such subsidies should not exist. What I said was that if we went for full independence then we would be markedly worse off with higher taxation and massive cuts in public expenditure.
Quite right Rhys the lib/dems have no English party, but to be fair nor have any of the others.
No political party has had any specific policies for England since devolution for Wales and Scotland.In fact the last lib/dem leader kennedy was hostile to the very idea of England.In 1999 he said"Scotland has a parliament. Wales an assembly. In England regionalism is growing as never before, calling into question the idea of England itself. - charles kennedy, Scottish Lib-Dem Conference in Dunfermline; October 1999
He also at a later date said to another scottish audience"There is, according to the old joke, no equivalent in Gaelic to the word mañana - nothing, as the crofter is supposed to have said to the tourist, "expressing quite that degree of urgency". By the same token, there is as far as I am aware no equivalent in Gaelic, or for that matter in English, to the word schadenfreude, a useful German expression meaning to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others. But it is not an emotion exclusive to the Germans.

Do I detect a certain schadenfreude among Scots at the apparent current turmoil among the English over their sense of national identity? If so, it is given extra savour because that crisis of identity is provoked at least in part by the creation of the Parliament in Scotland and the Assembly in Wales. Suddenly it is Scotland which is forging ahead in a grand constitutional experiment, and England which is poring over its national navel and asking: who are we ... and why?
at the last general election the lib/dems were "working for Wales" "working for Scotland" but managed to avoid the word "England"
and went with lib/dems "working for you" in England.
Charles Kennedy on his return to westminster from his problems said"
regional assemblies should be imposed in England regardless of the opposition from the public"
We at the Campaign English Parliament have used his comments in letters to the press many times
in the last few years,especially in the fight against against a North East of England regional assembly. We will continue to use his comments until he has no say in English affairs.
Actually, all the Liberal Democrats' policy is clearly labelled as to whether it affects England only, England and Wales or is Federal depending on its relationship to the present devolution settlement. So we do actually have specific England only policy. We also have separate manifestos at General Elections for Scotland and Wales to reflect the asymetric distribution of powers and responsibilities. And before anybody implies otherwise those three manifestos are co-ordinated so as to avoid contradicting each other on Federal matters.
To be fair the Lib Dems were the only party to publish an English manifesto. But they are still hankering after the past and won't accept that their Euro regions nightmare balkanisation of England is dead.

A few have made advances. Minge called for a UK constitutional convention to address the West Lothian Question and Simon Hughes still fannies about on the peripheries not quite advocating English government but instead toying with the constitutionally disasterous dual-mandate idea (with no English government).
Minge Campbell is a bit late with a uk convention, why did he not call for one prior to devolution for scotland and wales? Why were the English kept out of the loop?
For decades Westminster MP's have been banging on about britian in europe,but now Lord Thomas has given the game away
when he said"it is still possible for the uk to enter a united europe with an English parliament"
The intention never was britain in europe, but autonomous wales and scotland minus England in europe.
The pro- euro and anti English elite should be grateful the ukip
sees an English parliament as a euro plot, when they wake up England will be out of europe.
In the three years since I joined those campaigning for an English Parliament, I have seen a massive rise in calls for England's independence.
At the time I joined the campaign, calls for an English Parliament stood at about 16 - 20%. In November this year a poll showed that 68% of the English want an English Parliament and half actually want independence.
This rise in separatism is certainly due to English wishes for an English Parliament not merely being ignored, but indeed suppressed.
Menzies Campbell's call for a UK constitutional convention is nothing more than a stalling tactic.
Devolution only means the English pay but have no say, and we're not going to put up with it for much longer.
Let me give you the quote that turned me away from the Liberal Democrats for good:-
Scotsman Charles Kennedy - to Scottish Liberal Democrats quote: "In England regionalism is growing as never before, calling into question the idea of England itself."
Menzies Campbell is no different.
It is entirely "on message" for a Plaid Cymru member to want a parliament for England!
Cyfarchion y tymor
I agree Dafydd and have some sympathy with that view. The question I was posing though was what exactly the Plaid Cymru party line was on independence. Seasons greetings to you as well.
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