Thursday, 7 June 2012
There'll always be an England
Mr Miliband thinks that the poor English have been neglected by politicians and wants it put right. He blames the last Labour government for neglecting the largest nation in the United Kingdom.
Like many a politician before him he hopes to get some political advantage by tapping into the euphoria created by the Jubilee celebrations and use it to counter the SNP and their quest for independence.
Young Ed reckons that the whole of the United Kingdom need to be involved in the debate over Scotland's potential independence. His view is that the SNP have too "narrow view of identity". He accuses Alex Salmond are offering a "false choice" between being Scottish or British.
His view is that Britain is a country where it is always possible to have more than one identity. More than one place in mind when you talk of home.
Labour had been "nervous" to talk about English identity in the past while pressing ahead with constitutional change in other parts of the UK according to Miliband.
Whilst acknowledging that the Labour government put in place the devolved institutions in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, he feels the party failed to engage with English identity.
"But somehow while there is romanticism in parts of the Left about Welsh identity (and) Scottish identity, English identity has tended to be a closed book of late.
"For too long people have believed that to express English identity is to undermine the Union. At the same time we have rightly helped express Scottish identity within the Union. This does not make sense. You can be proudly Scottish and British. And you can be proudly English and British, as I am.
"Now more than ever, as we make the case for the United Kingdom throughout the United Kingdom, we must talk about England.”
The thought that somehow England has been forgotten in the devolution settlement is disingenuous.
The reason that devolution gained currency at all was the disadvantage that countries like Wales suffered in a centralist state that was dominated by one country - England.
On most economic indicators Wales is bottom of the league. Wales benefitted little from being part of one of the most centralist states in Europe. Yet, somehow Miliband feels sorry for England. Poor things.
If he’s so concerned why isn’t he pushing alongside Carwyn Jones for a Federal Kingdom on these islands. Then the English can have their own parliament. And all would be right with the world, wouldn’t they Ed.
No, Miliband’s speech is simply that of a politician trying to get on the patriotic bandwagon created by the Jubilee and the Olympics. No substance, no proposals.
Beware of politicians that wrap themselves in the Union flag I say.