Full House

Baroness Deech

I am glad that Baroness Murphy has taken on the issue of reducing the numbers sitting in the Lords.  I have already made a submission to the committee reviewing this, and, like her, have great respect for Lord Hunt.  He has worked in my own field, regulation of lawyers, and produced a very sensible report on how best to regulate solicitors, whose profession encompasses a wide range, from one-person practices to global city firms (The Hunt Review of the Regulation of Legal Services, http://www.legalregulationreview.com/files/Legal%20Regulation%20Report%20FINAL.pdf.)  There are too many Lords, and the problem has been exacerbated by the tendency of all Prime Ministers to use their power to place in the Lords allies whom they wish to see as Ministers, but who are not MPs.  Moreover a very large number of new peers were created by the dissolution honours and we hear there are more to come; and no doubt the House of Lords Appointments Commission has their own list of candidates.  So on the one hand there are calls to abolish or reduce the Lords, on the other everybody is trying to get in there through one method or another before it is too late!  Some of the peers who are well past any normal retirement age are full of energy and wisdom and it would be a loss if they were to be excluded.  I would like to see (and have proposed) a scheme that still utilises them, even if they are no longer technically “members”.  Or one could have a rota, with peers serving for say, the life of one Parliament, and then taking a break before returning.  One could exclude those who have not attended at all for a certain length of time but, as Baroness Murphy pointed out, they do not cost anything.  A self denying ordinance on the part of government in relation to appointments would help; and so does the death rate.

62 comments for “Full House

  1. mac
    23/08/2010 at 4:43 pm

    Should you not consider your own position and leave the Lords after your anti-Scottish rant on the BBC’s Any Questions.

    Anyone that suggests that Scottish born politicians should not be allowed to participate in Westminster politics and be sent packing back to Scotland is surely someone who is not fit to sit in the House of Lords themselves.

    You also clearly do not have a proper understanding of the constitutional framework. One of seven criteria on which you supposedly passed when selected by the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

    • Croft
      24/08/2010 at 1:26 pm

      If Scotland left the Union then most of the Scottish politicians as presumably representing Scottish seats would lose their place in parliament. Of course they could, as some do today, sit in English seats but there are obviously differences in Scottish/English politics that make that harder.

      • mac
        24/08/2010 at 2:30 pm

        Baroness Deech spoke out about Scottish politicians and independence on Any Questions? on BBC Radio 4, on 20 August 2010.

        “I’m fed up with this Scottish waving of nationalism when it suits them. Alright, they’re devolved, but I think they did this just to show the rest of us oh, that we are independent, we make our own decisions, and it’s been very embarrassing for the rest of us. And it started me thinking along these lines, if Scotland wants to be independent, OK, be my guest, go ahead, do what you want and [Applause] please take back with you all the Scottish politicians – there’s so many of them – you know – starting with Blair and Brown and Campbell, take them all back, and off you go, and go off on your own, because actually, we’re all subsidising them I think, by way of benefits and all sorts of reasons, and if they want to show how independent they are, OK, thank you and goodbye.”

        Gordon Brown is Scottish and represents a Scottish constituency. Tony Blair was born in Scotland, but represented an English constituency. Alistair Campbell is neither Scottish, Scots born or was elected.

        To say that once Scotland gets it independence that Scottish politicians who represent English constituencies, or people with Scottish names born and living in England should be sent packing to Scotland must be one of the most stupidist things that any person could say. To think that person is not only a member of the House of Lords, but an academic, a lawyer, an ethicist and a child of someone who fled persecution from the Nazis is jaw dropping.

        Substitute Scottish with Pakistani, Jewish, African-Caribbean and you will realise the enormity of what was said.

        Baroness Deech is not fit to sit in the House of Lords while she harbours such prejudice.

        • Senex
          25/08/2010 at 12:28 pm

          Mac: If BD seems somewhat lacklustre then so is ‘everybody’ else in both houses. This is why I want to see them all go back to school and obtain a Parliamentary vocational and/or academic qualification in governance set by Parliament itself.

          It’s totally bonkers that governance is in the hands of ‘amateurs’ that come to Parliament with a range of adhoc qualifications unrelated to the job at hand. We simply would not allow this in any other mission critical walk of life. Would you ask the same of the Scottish Parliament?

          • 26/08/2010 at 1:47 pm

            Senex, surely we all, every level of The People and of the Government, have a continual need to go forward by updating our knowledge and skills ?
            rather than simply sending a few Peers “back” (to school, where to this very day the British Educational Sector is dominantly and overwhelmingly of the Fixed-Mindset and Reinforcement-theory entrenchment, and contains hardly any new Growth-Mindset and Win-Win-Win Method III and Six-Thinking-Hats subjects or modules).

            Given such a Growth-Mindset regular and when-pressing updating-education or instruction recourse for All of the People, I would agree with you that we should allocate a cost-effecytive snippet of Taxpayer-money to the keeping-up-to-date of every Member of Parliament in the knowledge and skills essential for both better-governance and better-citizenship.


        • 26/08/2010 at 1:03 pm

          I was there and this brought the biggest cheer of the night.

          Seems folk in England are catching on to the raw deal they get in comparison with the other home nations. And that’s with a virtual wall of media silence on English issues.

          What’s in the “Union” for us?

          England bears the brunt of bailing Brown’s McDebts. While other parts of the UK get their cuts deferred.

          Wake up England.

          • jorgepeterman
            27/08/2010 at 11:52 pm

            When you express ignorance, you appeal to ignorance. Your comments, Baroness Deech, saddened me as a democrat.

    • Baroness Deech
      Baroness Deech
      25/08/2010 at 5:34 pm

      This obsessing (especially about my origins – somewhat sinister) is misplaced. The issue is whether devolution is workable or whether independence would be better. Most of the rest of the world attributed the decision to release Al Megrahi to the UK, not to Scotland. There are other issues such as Scots discrimination against English students in relation to tuition fees, and the W. Lothian question, which are beginning to persuade me that full independence is inevitable. If that comes about, everyone will have to decide which citizenship they hold, and who is eligible to sit as an MP in the UK Parliament. Those whose citizenship is Scots may not be able to. That is the logical outcome and that is what I was referring to in the very few seconds allowed.

      • 25/08/2010 at 10:09 pm

        Baeoness Deech,
        The Al Megrahi case was a disgrace that should upset people. I hope that while never being entirely federal the UK can nonethless find a more federal path between the realms that in the end almost all of you including most of the Nobles of your House will sincerely find better than any prior arrangement. Perhaps those issues are among those to be considered in any further reforms to the House of Lords…

      • John White
        26/08/2010 at 12:39 pm

        Dear Baroness Deech,
        I am pleased that you have decided to respond to the furore that your comments have caused. It is a pity that you were not so precise and measured on the day of recording, as there is nothing to offend in the later statement. From your reply it seems that you do not understand what has caused offence. Politics is a rough old trade, but one should really address the politicians and not the people. For me at least, your assertion that “……we’re all subsidising them I think, by way of benefits and all sorts of reasons……..” is factually wrong and grossly offensive. It puts you in company with Kelvin MacKenzie, the well known intellectual. If by any chance your meaning has been misinterpreted, now might be the time to indicate it.

      • 26/08/2010 at 5:43 pm

        “There are other issues such as Scots discrimination against English students in relation to tuition fees, and the W. Lothian question, which are beginning to persuade me that full independence is inevitable. ”

        Scots discrimination against the English is trivial in comparison to the the British governments discrimination.

        It’s the British government that keeps the deeply unfair Barnett Formula going, which values a English lives at >£1500 less per year than Scottish lives for example.

        It’s the British government (made up of Scots, Welsh and NIrish MPs voting on English issues as well as English MPs) that makes gives the English a raw deal on:

        Prescription charges (£7.20 in England, £3ish in Scotland and NI, free in Wales.

        Eye tests and dental check-ups paid for in England, free elsewhere.

        Road and bridge tools – free in Scotland.

        Old folks in England having to pay for care or sell their homes to pay for residential care – free in Scotland.

        Students leaving university >£10,000 more in debt than Scottish students because the state pays their tuition fees.

        And the English get less per person spent on health, transport, education and virtually everything else than the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish do.

        It’s not the Scots that are anti English – it’s the British government. The British government that does it’s best to never say the E word – preferring to disguise issues that affect England only as issues affecting “this country”, “the country” or most disingenuous of all but used by members of all sides “Britain”.

        And of course the people of England have not been consulted on having our own parliament or assembly to work in our interest unlike the Scots, Welsh & Northern Irish. All the English have been offered are the so called “regions” a blatant attempt to balkanise England into competing (EU approved) regions. The most recent survey on the subject puts English support for an English parliament at 68% but still they tell us there is no demand for an English parliament – just ask the people for a change.

        The British government working in the interest of the UK fails the people of England every step of the way – we English need our own parliament back. Within the Union or without.

        • Gareth Howell
          31/08/2010 at 6:53 am

          “Road and bridge tools – free in Scotland.”

          That’s ok Wyrdtimes. I am not planning to build a bridge at the moment.

          Now I understand why the Scots are such fine engineers. They get their tools free.

      • Mac
        27/08/2010 at 1:25 pm

        If anyone is obsessing about the origins and characteristics of people then it is surely you Baroness.

        Quote, Baroness Deech, “there’s so many of them – you know……………..take them all back, and off you go, and go off on your own, because actually, we’re all subsidising them I think, by way of benefits and all sorts of reasons, and if they want to show how independent they are, OK, thank you and goodbye.”

        It is the “there’s so many of them – you know” comment that is so deeply offensive.

        Indentify the problem – quantify it – offer up a solution – implement it.

        If this representative of the prejudicial thinking in the House of Lords then each and every person in the UK should be mightily concerned.

        Baroness Deech you are not a fit and proper person to be sitting in the House of Lords.


    • salmondnet
      26/08/2010 at 1:31 pm

      Unlike Mac, I listened to Baroness Deech’s statement with complete approval. She did not say that people with Scottish names born in England should be sent packing, she said Scotland should take back all the Scottish politicians.If Scotland becomes independent, that seems fair enough. In Ireland you have to be an Irish citizen to be elected to the Dail. The UK does not apply the same rule to the Irish, but it should. It, or England if that is all that is left, should certainly apply it to to any new departures from the Union.

      As to people with Scottish names born in England, many of them continue to think of themselves as Scots. In the event of independence such people should be asked to choose. Dual nationality should not be an option.

      Baroness Deech’s ancestry is irrelevant. If she thinks of herself as English I am happy to accept her as such. The same, of course, applies to poeple with Scottish names.

    • IMarcher
      26/08/2010 at 2:16 pm

      Mac, on 23/08/2010 at 04:43 pm, has misunderstood. Baroness Deech referred to Scottish politicians in the event of Scottish independence. Quite obviously she is correct that Scottish politicians should not be able to sit in our parliament if Scotland were independent. English politicians cannot now sit in the Scottish parliament, and to suggest that Scottish politicians should sit in the English parliament is outrageous!

      • jorge
        02/09/2010 at 9:10 am

        Imarcher: Of course Scottish politicians should be able to stay at Westminster should Scotland become independent, but only if they are resident in England and represent an English constituency. This was the case with Tony Blair who has never represented a Scottish constituency, but always an English one. Based on her own words, “off you go” and “take them all back”, the Baroness would have expected him to go off to Scotland if it had become independent during his premiership! This is part of the problem with what the Baroness said. It sounded as if the issue should be decided by the politicians’ ethnicity or origins and that would be disgraceful. Incidentally, there are quite a few English born MSPS in the Scottish Parliament. They simply represent Scottish constituencies or are list candidates who live in Scotland. Sorry to have to correct you.

    23/08/2010 at 7:42 pm

    I know this will sound somewhat novel but, why not create an “Invitation” system, in which the Lords with specific specialties are invited to the House of Lords to debate a topic whenever it comes up. An example would be if (The fictional) Lord John Smith is an expert on Civil Law and Sociology, he may be invited to the House if the House is dealing with a Bill that addresses Social welfare, which is his speciality. But he may be excluded if the Lords are reviewing a Military operation and he knows nothing of the Military, and instead we bring in (The Equally Fictional) Lord Peter Jones who happens to have served well in the Royal Army and has taught Military Tactics at a prestigious Military Academy, and whose wisdom was often employed to help build plans of battle and war by the Military. Meanwhile, neither would be asked to come should the Bill address a need for food inspection if neither of them have any expertise on foods.

    As to stuffing the Lords with politically motivated appointees, you know my answer already. Why not return the Hereditary peers, and prevent the PM from being able to nominate Political Lords for he next 15 years or so, and only accept new Life Peers base don’t he House of Lords recommending someone whose actually accomplished something. Make it an internal vote, not a Political contest.

    And even put hat on Hold for 7 or 9 or so years.

  3. 23/08/2010 at 8:25 pm

    I need to share the following, whih I inadvertently ‘clicked’ into Baroness Murphy’s “Leaving the House permanently” just before this post of yours, Baroness Deech.

    Precisely, but inclusively, what is the purpose of the Upper House ?
    Upon that definition and its ensuing parameters the reasoning and planning for the future of both the Upper House and its various memberships should be firmly founded and developed.
    Similarly, what is the purpose of the Lower House ?
    What that of the Other governance powers: the Judiciary ?
    What is the purpose of the many and various Civil-Service branches ?
    What is the purpose of The People ?
    What the purpose of other governance-level national-institutions:
    the Education sector ?
    the Media ?
    the Religions sector ?
    the National Hospitals Service ?
    (( We’ve never actually had a focal Health-maintenance and health-building service, which should have been instituted upon the UN 1978 Declaration of Primary Health Care instead of as actually quickly happened sweeping ‘health care’ under the same roof as the long pre-established and monopolistic ‘primary medical care’, thus usurping and doing-away-with primary-health-care, which contained also a better spirit for supporting ‘primary-self-care’, and instead continuing only BMA-dominated ‘medical care’ in its place.
    The above is apposite to what has been going around about the future of the Upper House, for neither of these two ultra-major People-Supporting-Services namely the BMA and the House of Lords has yet seen their way clear to bringing themselves up-to-date, as not just top-down directive rescuers and commanders of disadvantaged-people but as all-kinds-of-people’s exemplary and demonstrable leaders.

    “The Life-Experience sector”, and we certainly need such a select sector to be publishing the names, experience, and abilities of its Membership, which could well total as many as 60 million for the whole of Britain, from which could be narrowed-down and ‘called-up’ for non-legislatory duty any or all those having the experience necessary towards giving evidence and informing the preparation-stages of Bills, and similarly communicating with the existing colleges and libraries of knowledge such as the Universities, and of expertise such as the Peerage, and in particular with the current expertise in the House of Lords.
    The radical reform that is clearly indicated by our modern progress is nothing less than a new and ultra-large Non-legislative House of Knowledge and Life-Experience.
    Such a House could contain every class of expertise, from the Workplace Employment Sector including Academia, Judiciary, Civil-Service, Media, Human-Development services, and so on and so forth, through a special department of ‘visiting foreign experts, to a comprehensive representation from Life-experience as distinct from mere secondary and tertiary Job and Book-reading experience.

    Such a Mega-House, with many departments, many discussion chambers, many committee-rooms, many large-screen viewing halls, and library-rooms, and revolutionary access for The People (as distinct from ‘The Public’ which loosely definitive term unfortunately would include large amounts of raggle-taggle tourists and dysfunctional ’sticky-beaks’)
    such a House would not only cost less than the one-off 2012 Olympics ‘Investment’ but would be long-lasting-functional, 24/7/52/Decade/Millennium; and if its membership were immediately begun along with possibly-suitable sites being named, earmarked, promised, and allotted, invited-in from all over Britain, the British Non-legislative House of Knowledge and Life-Experience could become a World-Unfinished-History “first”, as should befit both the old and the much-needed and overdue future “new” Britain.
    The first major reform need is to constitute a much larger House than either the Lords or the Commons could ever be, simply for tens of thousands of accomplished, resiliently-capable, young and life-experienced experts, non-legislatively. Purpose: to be the national centre of Knowledge and Life-Experience, ‘feeding’ the Parliaments and other constitutional government powers; and also providing a National Knowledge Centre, Archive, and electronic computer ‘Library’, for The People of Britain and for Europe and the WorldWideWeb if feasible.
    A top-priority is also to allot a large number of seats, in the Upper Legislative House, to some of the envisaged-new Non-legislative house’s accomplished and resilient young experts.

    There may be other high-priorities also…

    After which could come the re-distribution of places for any number of the existing body of Peers and of seated-members.
    Certainly both the pre-legislation and the passing of legislation stages need this radical reform, to have fit, healthy and young bodies-and-minds “seated” as the major regular-attendance workers and consultants in the Non-legislative House and especially as the Bill scrutinisers, amenders, discussers, debaters, and public-advisers, in the Legislative Upper House.
    Expertise can not be measured by the number or depth of wrinkles on a Baroness’s face nor by the length or hirsuteness of a Lord’s beard.

    The constitution should be made more resiliently flexible.
    Any citizen, especially any Peer or other-expert, should be called-up for governance-service when required.
    Given a “holding-house” for such potential and latent experts, and for ’semi-retired’ or otherwise only-partly-available Peers, all-round strength could be achieved.

    A Non-legislative Mega-House of Knowledge and Life-Experience could especially include first-resort Method III participatorily-cooperative needs, hows and affordable-costs order-ing, and therein Win-Win-Win problem-solving, all fuly completed well-prior to final legislaion-processes themselves during which the House of Commons wold therefore no longer “need” to rush legislation through without exhaustive-scrutiny, and the House of Lords would no longer feel any lack of room for a necessary and sufficient number of its members to be comfortably and inter-commnicatively seated.
    Your ideas about “year-on, year-off” and suchlike would fall into place, and with such a new Mega-House supporting an optimally small and unbiasedly originated number of seats in the same magnificent historical building and rooms they at present occupy, would help Britain to achieve an Unfinished Historical and world-exemplary “first”.

    I heartily recommend a thorough and “six-thinking-hat” public-discussion month, year, and decade, for the above far-seeing idea for a radical-reform proposal and eventual Bill.

  4. Gareth Howell
    25/08/2010 at 6:44 pm

    One could exclude those who have not attended at all for a certain length of time but, as Baroness Murphy pointed out, they do not cost anything

    At least you would have a clearer idea of numbers, but then a servant of the house,or of Lord speaker, with his finger on the pulse, probably does any way.

    There must be some Stats on it somewhere.

    25/08/2010 at 11:01 pm

    On the note of Scottish Independence, I actually Favour Union. Why not copy one of the few things thats worked tremendously well int he United Sates? I mean, we copy the bits of the American Government that don’t work, like a Supreme Court, and talk is serious about an Elected Senate as if the Senate int he USA is all that good, so why not copy the actual good ideas?

    In the United States each State is sovereign within its own Boarders, yet united. The Federal Government doesn’t make all the laws, and in fact is limited in what Laws it can make, The Federal Government handles foreign relations, defence, and interstate commerce and disputes.

    Why not do the same for Westminster? Make each of the Countries “Independent” in their own Boarders, and allow them to fly their State Flag right under the Union Flag like in America. Each State, Ulster, Scotland, Wales, and England would then have their one Parliament, and Westminster’s duties would be reduced to only foreign relations, interstate commerce and disputes, postal service,and a few other necessary Laws.

    In this way each would have enough Independence to Satisfy them, while also possessing enough Unity to keep an active Military defence and Cultural comradely going.

    As to Scottish Prejudice against the English, lets work on that issue by getting them to be more accepting o the English. After all, it was a Scottish King who took the English Throne leading tot he Creation of the United Kingdom, wasn’t it? I am descended from the Stuarts myself.

    I think we have more culturally in common than not and such a Union would be ideal, rather than dissolution of the Union.

  6. Gareth Howell
    26/08/2010 at 7:52 pm

    Foreign affairs is already dealt with at European level so to back track to a regional one is a ridiculous idea.

    The same applies to defence, which is also dealt with by Nato/Shape and so on, so to imagine that Scottish/Welsh govt is anything more than a devolved Scottish/Welsh office with a few extra powers, is surely a big mistake!

    I can not imagine why my good friends Alex Salmond and Rhodri Morgan ever thought otherwise, except for the lure of good wages
    locally, without the trek up to town!

  7. Chris Green
    26/08/2010 at 8:27 pm

    It is clear the English have been the Brunt of discrimination, racism and bigotry from the last 13 years of a Acottish led Labour party, it is they who are the Racist.
    The union does not exist anymore, devolution is contarary to the act of union. this inbalance is out of control now, and we should ALL encourage or force independence upon Scotland, after all it’s what they want.

  8. robertlouis
    26/08/2010 at 9:43 pm

    I’m sorry, but It will not do, for Ruth Deech to ‘brush off’ the fact that she has offended so many in Scotland with her off hand comments.

    She said QUOTE ; “……and off you go, and go off on your own, because actually, we’re all subsidising them I think, by way of benefits and all sorts of reasons, and if they want to show how independent they are, ok, thank you and goodbye……”

    Let us be clear, to my ears and most fair minded people, this implies;

    1. Scots (that is Scottish people, not Scottish politicians) are subsidised by England. Factually untrue and pretty insulting.

    2. Scottish people are all on benefits. Factually untrue and pretty insulting and very, very offensive.

    Perhaps, Ruth Deech cannot recall exactly what she did say, but I do. I have a full transcript.

    At the end of the programme, the panellists themselves described it as QUOTE : “Anti Scottish rhetoric”.

    I actually thought that of all the panellists, Ruth Deech would actually recognise her comments had gone too far and strayed from merely berating Scottish politicians (which is something we Scots also do), and actually offending the Scottish people.

    Many would understand that possibly in the heat of the moment, comments were made which perhaps were ill advised, and crossed the line.

    Either way, she has upset a lot of Scottish people, and it would show the true measure of her, were she to accept this, and apologise.

    Just a point of order; The Scots do not discriminate against English students. The differential in the fees at University, is down to a quirk of (wait for it) European law.

    The suggestion that the Scottish Government and parliament wilfully passed legislation deliberately designed to selectively discriminate against English students is a nonsense.

    Considering how often I hear members from the upper chamber tell us of their great abilities at scrutinising Government bills, perhaps they might like to spend just a few minutes scrutinising the relevant Scottish and EU legislation, and put an end to this nonsensical ‘urban myth’.

    • salmondnet
      27/08/2010 at 9:51 am

      Robert Louis. You say that:

      1. Scotland is not subsidised by England. This, despite the fact that public spending per head in Scotland has run for years at around 20% per head more than in England. Many Scots make this claim, basing it on North Sea oil revenues. Actually objective assessments suggest that only in six or seven years since the oil came on stream in the 1970’s has it,combined with other taxes paid in Scotland, matched Scottish expenditure. Most of the time the taxation flow has been south to north, the total amounting to a vast English subsidy (not a UK subsidy, since England also subsidises Wales and Northern Ireland).

      It is, however, an article of faith amongst the Scots that the subsidy does not exist, some even adding the taxation paid at the pumps in Engand to the “Scottish” revenues to make the figures work, so I do not expect to convince you. Suffice it to say that if you want to put the matter to the only conclusive test by going for independence the English will laugh all the way to the bank.

      2. “Scottish people are all on benefits.” Obviously not true, but not what Baroness Deech said, as you own quote demonstrates. What is true is that many benefits availble in Scotland are not available in England and that the over generosity of the Barnett formula is what makes this possible. It is also true that Scotland is much more dependant on state funding than England. Even some Scots are beginning to recognise this, Check out this article from the Glasgow Herald, it won’t convince you, but it might make you start to think: http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/iain-macwhirter/capital-has-got-itself-into-a-state-funded-predicament-1.1050612

      As to discrimination against English students, the University of Edinburgh has a declared policy of favouring applicants from Scottish Schools. This is entirely understandable and obviously discriminatory.

      You are no doubt right that many Scots who heard or read the relevant statement will be offended by it. Well tough. The truth often hurts.

      • angloscot
        28/08/2010 at 12:31 am

        1. I think you need to look at many English regions first before turning on Scotland.

        2. Public sector spending is not the same as spending on benefits. No mention of income either. The Herald is a staunchly Unionist newspaper.

        3. I know Edinburgh University very well. I do agree that this policy is controversial.
        However, to suggest it is anti-English is a disgrace. Last year, “on average, 38.3% of English applicants received an offer to study at the university.” That comes from the EU admissions office’s statistics. Not bad for a highly competitive university, don’t you think?

        • salmondnet
          28/08/2010 at 11:13 am

          “English Regions” are irrelevant to this issue. They are artificial constructs not nations, all part of England and all, unlike Scotland, governed by the Westminster Parliament. Fiscal transfers between one part of England and another can be a matter for discussion but broadly speaking I am happy to accept that, in a single country with a genuinely unitary government, tax should be spent where it is needed, rather than where it is raised.

          Scotland, however, no longer meets any of these criteria.

          Before devolution the Barnett Formula never came under any real scrutiny in England. Now it has, it is pretty clear that it gives Scotland much more than it would get if money were distributed across the UK on the basis only of need. I don’t believe that is true of any English “region”.

          Scotland, as it says in the preamble to The Scotland Act and any Scot will tell you (and usually does) is “a proud historic nation”, which is to say in unequivocal terms that, since I am English, it is not my nation. Fair enough. That being the case, no one can reasonably expect me, or the English in general, not to react adversely when it gets a higher financial priority than my own.

          Scotland now has, and is to a large extent governed by, its own parliament (even though there has been no diminution in the remit of its representatives in the Westminster Parliament, which of course entirely governs England). Scotland and England no longer form part of the same unitary state in the way that they did before 1998. All fiscal transfers are therefore much less acceptable. Transfers which can not be justified by need, such as those resulting from the Barnett formula, are entirely unacceptable. If Scotland wants to govern itself separately, in full or in part, it should pay its own way..

      • robertlouis
        04/09/2010 at 2:30 pm


        The Scottish economy has been in surplus for at least the last four years, to the tune of several billions.

        This is established by the HM Government civil service own figures, prepared for the Scottish parliament;

        Scotland on its own is a wealthy nation rich in oil, wind, tidal, wave and hydro power.

        Scotland is a net exporter of electricity to England. You might say, we keep your lights on.

        You go on and on about England subsidising Scotland, but what you do not cite, is the fact that all taxes, apart from local council tax in Scotland gets paid directly to London.

        That is why Scotland gets money from England. It is just a share of our own taxes.

        Like I said elsewhere, The SNP Scottish Government have fornmally requested full fiscal autonomy, but your prime Minister, David Cameron and his tory government have refused to allow such a change to happen.

        Might I suggest you write to him, to tell him to let the Scots run their own finances. The SNP Scottish Government want it, Scottish business wants it (www.cffr.co.uk), so all we need is Camerons’ Government to proceed with it.

        As regards comments on Edinburgh University. Get real, would you. Scotland has a population of just around 5 million compared to England’s 45-50 million. If Edinburgh University did not have priority for Scottish applicants, then every single student in the capital would be from England.

        They are quite right to select. Besides, as the BBC have recently been keen to tell us, the Scots are not a race.

        I note however, that Ruth Deech has so far failed to publicly acknowledge the offence she has caused to many Scots, with her anti Scottish diatribe on BBC radio 4 on 20th August.

        Silly excuses won’t do.

        I expected better of her.

  9. Sassenach
    27/08/2010 at 12:11 am

    Whoa….This is going too far.

    Yes subsidies to Scotland are reported to be £22b a year….A small price for the country whose piper piped the men ashore on D-Day. Whose men have alway`s made up more than their share of the BRITISH Army, Navy & Air Force. A Country betrayed by the British government who wouldn`t find £22b a year to rescue it`s great shipyards, the same as they refused the coal subsidies instead putting large swathes out of work.

    I don`t want someone like G. Brown a fervent Scot running my Country…But I don`t want someone from Oxford being foisted as an MP for Clapham either. Yes it`s unfair, we cannot have a great say in their kingdoms but they do in ours, but let`s not get unreal…..They probably are a lot more bloomin British than we`re ever likely to be.

    They didn`t make the rules…Parliament did, stop having a dig at people whose parents also payed for this Country. Have a go at Politicians by all means, they`re the ones who need to go.

    Scotland make up 8.6% of the population yet put in 8.9% (1999) to the treasury although I`ve no idea of percentage they get back and frankly I don`t care. No more than the run down parts of Liverpool, London and Manchester I suspect.

    Don`t let the Scots or Welsh Politicians vote on English matters by all means but don`t cut off your nose to spite your face.

    What next devolution for Hackney and independence because it costs too much. I`m sure there are parts of Bradford that would love independence too !

    Has anyone even looked at the amount of immigrants the British send to Scotland and put that in the equation ?

    Sassenach I maybe, racist I`m not.

    • robertlouis
      04/09/2010 at 2:15 pm

      If you are English, then you are by definition a sassenach.

      Sassenach is merely the Scottish gaelic word for English.

  10. Michele
    27/08/2010 at 6:14 am

    Quote “No one can offend me unless I choose to be offended” – so why do you (Mac and the lesser Robert Louis) choose to be offended.

    Can you dispute the facts that Wyrdtimes raises about the difference in spending on the various nations of these islands?

    If you claim that the oil (being in Scottish waters thanks to a change in the maritime border back in 1966) is actually Scottish oil and is therefore only for the benefit of Scotland – then surely the English can claim that their taxes (being raised in England) are actually English taxes and should be only for the benefit of the English. (Blowing the Barnett Formula to smithereens)

    If you want to know what real offensive anti-national material looks like then haunt the comments section of the Scottish Herald – but you don’t hear the English continuously moaning about being offended.

    It is such deliberate choosing to be offended that really annoys me, you have a devolved parliament, you say you have the numbers to force independence – then for god’s sake stop whinging and whining and go and do it.

    • robertlouis
      04/09/2010 at 2:11 pm


      Firstly, at present, there is a campaign in Scotland, to achieve full fiscal autonomy for Scotland. What that would mean, is that England would no longer provide any funding to Scotland. By the same token, every penny of income tax or other tax raised in Scotland would no longer go to the London treasuty as it currently does, but would stay in Scotland.

      The result would be, no more Barnett formula. Scotland would be free to spend what it earns.

      The Conservative Government in London, is opposed to this. You might want to ask them why.

      However, you might like to know, that the oil in Scotland is expected to last for another forty to one hundred years. Recently, the largest new oil find for ten years was discovered in the catcher field, and another was announced last week.

      In 2008, the Scottish oil and gas industry raised 12.9 billion pounds for the London treasury. In most years, the Scottish oil industry contributes around one fifth of ALL UK corporation tax receipts to the London treasury.

      Scottish oil raises around 380 pounds per second.

      Scottish oil currently supplies 94% of oil needs for the entire United Kingdom.

      Oh, and just a point, around 95% of the oil reserves ARE in Scotland. It is trite, infantile nonsense to suggest otherwise.

      If only the Tory Government in London would let Scotland have full fiscal autonomy, as the Scottish Government have requested, the whole debate over Scotland getting subsidised by England would end.

  11. Patrick Harris
    27/08/2010 at 11:27 am

    Why don’t you just come out with it.
    “The English have a cruel streak” (Andrew Marr – Scot)
    “There is no such thing as an English nation” (John Prescott – Welsh)
    “There is no call for an English Parliament nor will there be in the forseeable future” (Charlie Faulkner – Scot)
    “The English are “sour”, “Bigotted” and “uneducated” (David Cameron – “I have a lot of Scottish blood running through my veins”)
    At least they had the guts to say what they thought, mind you, one day they will eat those words.

  12. tally
    27/08/2010 at 12:43 pm

    over the last 14 years any comments by English people on the West Lothian Question and the case for an English Parliament have been met with shrieks of racists by the establishment. It is ploy to make English people uncomfortable about speaking frankly on this issue hoping the question will go away.It will not. More Power to Baroness Deech.

  13. Ian Campbell
    27/08/2010 at 1:02 pm

    Baroness Deech was right to raise the ‘English Question’ on AQ. The leaders of all three main political parties are very reluctant to discuss it at all. Devolution is here to stay. It is undemocratic and illogical that MPs representing seats Scotland,Wales and N Ireland, post-devolution, should have any say at all on domestic policy in England. It is doubly undemocratic when the last Government uses those same MPs to carry through policies in England which do not apply in Scotland, where the same policies are opposed, e.g. on student tuition fees, foundation hospitals, detention of suspects, planning etc. These policies were opposed by a majority of MPs representing English seats. The is now a constitutional scandal which if left unresolved could, as some others have suggested, lead to the break-up of the Union.

    • angloscot
      28/08/2010 at 12:14 am

      Except she didn’t raise the “English question” in the way that you imply.

  14. 27/08/2010 at 1:14 pm

    Its time for a progressive federal answer to our lopsided devolution. One in which subsidies from the joint finances do not discriminate against the majority; one in which each nation stands in equality to each other and to central government. The Campaign for an English Parliament (www.thecep.org.uk)is a non-party political lobbying and educational organisation that seeks to persuade and inform.

  15. Stephen Gash
    27/08/2010 at 3:32 pm

    Andrew Murray’s “Anyone, but England” mentality is the prevailing attitude in Scotland. A Scottish clergyman said of the floods in England “It couldn’t happen to a nicer people”. During this year’s World Cup, a competition was run offering a holiday “Anywhere but England”.
    English children left a pantomime in Scotland, in tears, because of the vitriolic “friendly banter” against the English.
    This Anglophobia permeates British politics too as can be seen from the various comments made by MPs, indeed Cabinet Ministers, against the English.
    The Environment Agency, which only operates in England, when led by Scottish Baroness Young, reportedly informed a job applicant that she need not apply because she was too white and too English.
    Councils stop St George’s Day celebrations.

    I fail to see what we English get out of this “United” Kingdom other than abuse, empty wallets and none of the benefits the rest of the UK enjoys.

    • angloscot
      28/08/2010 at 12:12 am

      And such behaviour is also xenophobic and unacceptable.

    • robertlouis
      04/09/2010 at 1:38 pm

      Ah yes, it’s OK for one of the English aristocracy t openly broadcast across the UK, that it would be desirable for all Scots to leave England, but the English take umbrage at something as trivial as a holiday competition.

      This incident was mis reported, and misleading conclusions were drawn.

      The competion offered the prize of a trip to the world cup winning country. Clearly, the value of that prize would vary depending upon how far away from Edinburgh the winning country was.

      Imagine, you could win an all expenses paid trip to say, New Zealand, or even South Africa. What a great prize!

      However, if England won the world cup, the value of the trip would be much less. THAT was the point.

      It wasn’t racist, it wasn’t anti English.

  16. scottie
    27/08/2010 at 5:53 pm

    baroness deech.
    your comments on the radio programme “any questions” were a gross generalization about all scottish people and were offensive. they were an incitement to hatred because you tarred a whole group of people as spongers and parasites. your comments here relating to english students in scotland were never made in the radio broadcast. you took five days to come up with that counter-argument. if english students are discrinminated against in scotland then they ( or the appropriate authorities) should sue through the courts. (please also check which party insisted on dropping university fees in scotland to enter into a coalition with labour). exclusion of students by one member state of the EU by another has been dealt with at the european court ( see, austrian attempts to exclude german students).
    your second point relating to the illegibility of scots to be members of a UK parliament upon independence for scotland are irrelevant as there will be no UK parliament if and when scotalnd leaves the UK.

  17. Lord Blagger
    27/08/2010 at 8:02 pm

    You’re not thinking it about it completely Scottie.

    England could leave the union and leave the Scots, Irish and Welsh with the debt and huge overspending.

    It would be good for you to. Very quickly you would have to cut and get on with making money.

    • angloscot
      31/08/2010 at 6:16 pm

      A proportional solution to debt based on resident population would be best.

  18. I Albion
    27/08/2010 at 10:22 pm

    Baroness Deech,I agree with every word you said,please do not apologize to any one,England needs a voice.

  19. angloscot
    28/08/2010 at 12:08 am

    Baroness Deech, your response above is inadequate and erroneous.

    Firstly, it does not address the offensive comments you actually did make.

    Secondly, allow me to correct you:

    Point 1:
    “Scots discrimination against English students in relation to tuition fees”.
    That England-based students must pay is an outcome European Law. It’s nothing to do with the Scots.

    Point 2:
    The West Lothian Question:
    Only the English MPs can solve the West Lothian question. As a resident of England, I wish they would.

    Point 3:
    The SNP have stated that dual citizenship across different parts of the former UK should be an option if Scotland becomes independent. I don’t know what Westminster’s position is on this.

  20. ZAROVE
    28/08/2010 at 6:34 am

    AS I said, we’ve copied America in that we think our whole Government must be Democratic. We have a Supreme Court, talk of useless “Separation of Church and State” and prattle on endlessly about the need for electoral reforms that’d make our elections like those here in America. All of these things actually cause massive problems in America but we follow them to be “Modern” and “Up-to-date”.

    Yet we ignore the things America gets right.

    If we’d follow the State Model, then Scotland, Wales, Ulster,and England would each have their own State Parliaments, and Westminster can be the Federal Capital. Proportional Representation base don he size of the Population can then be granted to the House of Commons.

    As to the Animosity towards one another, we need to go back to the old Christian culture we use to have. Modern Secularism, despite its great promises of Unity and Equality, only increase our selfishness.

    We were more United and Tolerant before than we are now.

    We can solve the differences between the Scots and English by the same means we id Racism, by gradually reminding Society not to attack one another.

    If that don’t work, we’ll just get everyone mad at the Yanks.

    (Yes the last bit is a joke.)

  21. Alf
    28/08/2010 at 1:30 pm

    Most of us English do not want to be in a union with Scotland anymore and vice versa.

    Just let it go.
    This way we can all stop pointing the finger and Blaming each other.

    The diproportionate act of devolution has killed it.
    The Union is over.
    This Parrot is dead it has ceased to be.

    • robertlouis
      04/09/2010 at 1:51 pm

      I couldn’t agree more.

      Here is the problem.

      In the Scottish Parliament, the SNP whilst being the largest single party, do not have an outright majority.

      The SNP Scottish Government intend introducing a bill for a referendum on Scottish independence. Labour, the Tories and the LibDems, have ALL said they will block such a referendum ever happening.

      David Cameron has publicly stated that he will use every power he has to prevent Scottish independence.

      Why would they do that?? Is it that they realise they might just lose??

      You know people cite opinion polls in Scotland regarding independence on a regular basis, and typically, they will say something like

      ‘oh, only a minority of Scots want independence’. What is that based upon?? Let me tell you, without being specific, over the last eight years, typically the percentages work out like this (and this is ballpark to make this very relevant point)

      30% for

      30% against

      30% don’t know/have no opinion.

      It is easy from this to say, only a minority (30%) WANT independence, but what people omit to say, is that only a minority WANT to stay in the union (30%).

      The simple fact is, that usually around a third are undecided. Of those who have a strong opinion either way, it is 50/50 (again ballpark).

      I as a Scot think England needs to move on. Most Scots do not see the union flag as the flag of Scotland – we have something much much older (in fact it is the oldest national flag in the world) – the Saltire.

      The only thing currently preventing Scottish independence is the English via Westminster.

      So to all you English folk who feel hard done by devolution, I and most other Scots would say, write to your MP, get English independence. Get your own parliament.

      Trust me, there is nobody in Scotland who will care, let alone object.

  22. John White
    28/08/2010 at 8:30 pm

    Whatever one’s nationality, I think the important thing is to retain a degree of mutual respect – politicians are expected to take criticism but innocent civilians should not. I would describe myself as a social democratic Scottish nationalist, though I am not a member of any political party. Over long years, tinged with disappointment with the Labour Party, I have eventually concluded that Scotland is best administered on its own, that is to say, with its own exchequer raising taxes from its resources and all foreign policy decided on its own or in a collaborative assembly/committee composed of representatives from the nations of the old UK. As I am sure Alex Salmond would say, the English people have every right to pursue this end for themselves – for myself, I want to see England prosper as I have friends and loved ones there, many of whom were born there or regard themselves as English. Britain is not Yugoslavia. A federal system is a possibility, with everyone a citizen of each country in the prospective Federal State. Across the Earth humanity, and its way of life is changing rapidly and in 200 years nation states as we know them may not exist and our opinions could be as obsolete as those of Norman Knights.

  23. ZAROVE
    29/08/2010 at 7:13 am

    John, you touch on something when you say, “Humanity is Changing”, and my question is, is it really changing?

    I don’t really think it is. I also don’t think Political Theories really become obsolete, and the ideas of the Old Normal Knights, while unfashionable now, aren’t really out of the game just yet themselves.

    I do agree generally that Mutual Respect is needful though, and do think a Prospective Federal Arrangement, with an English Parliament established, as well as a Pan UK one, is a better idea that Dissolution of the Union. It’s worked well in the United States, as its only had one Civil War, and only 4 Insurrections including it. Most of those shortly after its own Civil War to break from the Motherland.

    But that said, I think we deceive ourselves if we think Humanity is fundamentally different now than they wee 100 years ago. As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun, and what is, has been, and what will be has been already.

    We like to take the Whig View of History these days, and see History unfolding in a Linear fashion. We see Humanity growing from early, Primitive Hunter-Gatherers, to Tribes with a loose Structure, to a sort of Primitive Monarchy. This Monarchy develops ands gains power, only to build a Cabinet of Ministers to take over those Duties. Over item a Parliament appears, and Gradually the Crown looses its power, and the Nation becomes more Democratic, with the final End a Democracy at last, the height of Human Governmental perfection. Being a Social Democrat, I’d say you think a Socialist Government would show us signs of great advancement too. I just don’t agree. Nothing we have in today’s Government is really new. Checks and Balances exited in the Roman World, as did the Ideal of Republicanism. The idea that all power is rightly vested in the People came out of Greece before it came out of America. Democracy is not a new innovation, but as old as Monarchy, and often Monarchy comes along to replace an ageing, decrepit Democracy. Neither are really new and both seem to cycle.

    Just as often, those Morals we think we have outgrown come again, too. All of what we think of as Wisdom and Enlightenment existed in the past, tend to make resurgence. Atheists today claim Religion is dying, never mind their own Shared vision is one. They think Christianity will be dead in 50-100 years. But So did the Enlightenment thinkers and they were wrong, and several times Revival has brought it back to the fore. Voltaire said that in 100 years the Bible will be a forgotten book, yet now his home is used to Print Bibles.

    It is true that the Values we hold to and customs we have, our Governments, and our way of life Changes, but it changes in a limited way, a fixed way. This is why when one reads the Bible, or the Iliad, or Chaucer, or Shakespeare, even though they were written centuries apart form each other and in different times and often places than we ourselves are, they still speak to us. This is because, no matter what, we are still Human. We still have the same thoughts, the same feelings, and live in the same world. We may interpret things differently, but even in this there are limited numbers of possible interpretations, and usually the New Philosophies are built on the Old. Evolution was not really founded by Darwin, the Greeks had an idea of it. Nothing is new. Nothing is changed. Man himself is the same today as he was 1000 years ago, or 2000, or 3000.

    Conflicts between Individualism and Communalism, between men and women, between cities and the countryside, conflicts on how to rule our society, and what morals to hold, all the same as the past. Its just that we have forgotten the past, and are fool enough to think we’re some Brave new thing of the Future, never seen before, and better than all that came before. Santayana’s most Famous and repeated quote is, those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. I think we need to take that to heart, just as I think we should remember our Aesop, who wrote the story of the bulls and Lions. When the Bulls would feed they stood together, watching in a circle and all could eat. But then a conflict broke out on where to eat, and they scattered, each his own way. The Lions came, and they were all devoured. The moral was, United we Stand, Divided we Fall.

    Modernist Philosophy taught us that we should give up on God, Traditional Values, and the Moral Code of generations, and by this we’d find the Unity and Peace we’d always sought. The Brotherhood of Man. But now Scotland wants Independence, and England says Good Riddance. Is that Unity? Our Streets are filled with Violence, Marriages end, people aren’t loyal to their Friends, and we see nothing but a Broken society in which we all pursue what would give us pleasure and never find true Happiness, and so take put our frustrations on each other, or sink into despair, to live only for momentary pleasures. I think perhaps it is time to go back to the Old Way, when we had Unity through a Mutual Respect and a Christian Culture. Secularism has Failed us, Humanism never gave us what it promised, and we simply don’t seem much better off.

  24. homeruleforengland
    29/08/2010 at 12:41 pm

    The Union is well past its sell by date. England should declare independence so that democracy can be restored.
    Democracy is a political form of government where governing power is derived from the people.
    How can it be democratic for MPs who derive their power from Scotland Wales and N.Ireland to vote on legislation which only applies to England? Its nonsense.
    England gains nothing from the UK and should leave it NOW!

    • 29/08/2010 at 4:49 pm

      I favor saving the Union by creating an English Parliament and kepping the British Parliament as it is (more or less). However, it is quite true that while no English Parliament exists (not even a fig leaf committe of voters or something) it does quite violate all sound constitutional principles — I think that is exactly right. It may not be urgent but I think it is true.

  25. John White
    29/08/2010 at 7:09 pm

    Dear Zarove,
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I hope I am able to do justice to your post.
    I should qualify what I said about humanity changing. Biologically we are not changing much – human biological evolution is a slow process compared to the rate of societal change, which has now become dramatic. Evolution is certainly not a linear process leading automatically to us – for the majority of life’s duration on Earth there were only microbes. Eventually complex life arose, but it might never have happened. The historical process is similar with technical, philosophical and economic change eventually transforming the lives of people after long centuries of stagnation, although this also might never have happened. Obviously there have been disasters along the way, but here we are, and material life for most Europeans has never been better. Democracy with universal suffrage (unlike that of the Greeks) isn’t perfect but it seems to be the best system we know. Monarchs have their place as heads of state, in some European democracies, including their own, but no-one now suggests a return to absolute monarchy
    Some philosophies do fade away to a state which essentially equals death. I would guess the followers the Ancient Greek pantheon couldn’t now fill a metropolitan theatre. There are no more witch burnings in Europe, though sadly this can’t be said for some areas of Africa. Bleeding patients is not a credible medical intervention. The Normans were as unpleasant as any totalitarian you would care to meet and I wouldn’t want to live in their world – that’s why I chose them as an example of our status in 200 years
    You are correct to say there are constants in human nature. The human mind evolved on the plains of Africa and there is little to suggest it has moved on. Human nature can be awful, but it can be improved on through education. The roll call of historical catastrophes we know too well indicate what paths we should not follow in order to live well and do well by others. As for religion, well you are correct to say that its downfall has been predicted in the past. I believe in freedom of religion, but I don’t think it is the case that the state can now specify a particular creed. It is enough to provide citizens with a stage on which to perform their play to their satisfaction. I have no religion, but I do believe in the Golden Rule which is a part on so many religions, living and dead.
    As to the UK, I think Scotland will head towards independence, within a decade and the question will be whether this can be negotiated into a federal system for the whole UK. A rump UK would have to find a new home for Trident and might lose its permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

    Dear homeruleforengland,
    Good luck! As it happens SNP MPs do not vote on exclusively English issues.

  26. ZAROVE
    30/08/2010 at 2:36 am

    Ah but John you do have a Religion. Baroness Murphy often says she has no Religion, calls herself a Rationalist, then uses this to foist some idea onto all of us as if somehow saying her beliefs aren’t Religious makes it OK to force them on us. Many others do the same.

    Somehow, we define “Religion” as “Belief in God”, and think mocking Theism is equal to saying Religion is Invalid.

    However, Religion is not belief in gods or Supernatural Transcendent Truths. It is defined as the belief s we hold about the nature, origin, and purpose of our existence. Your explanation of Biological Evolution surly gives us a story of Origins, and how does that really differ from other Creation Myths? One could say “Its different because its Science”, but, in the end its still a narrative story describing our Origins, and plays the same role in the mind of the adherent as any other Creation Narrative. So why is it not a Religious Tenet?

    Materialism makes claims about the Nature of the world we live in, too. Even a declaration of Atheism is a statement of Religious belief.

    Saying you have no Religion is understandable, as you’ve been taught hat Atheist aren’t Religious. We even see debates listed as being between Religious people and Atheists. But, given that Atheist today tend to embrace a very clearly defined Humanist Philosophy with a distinct, easy to trace History, that forms a shared, common vision of the world and Humanity and acts as the basis of Moral and Ethical Codes, saying its not Religion becomes a bit silly in and of itself. Heck, Atheists even have Symbols just like Religions do, like the now ubiquitous Scarlet A.

    Is that really different form a Cross? Or a Star of David? If so, how?

    The truth is, Religion is one thing that can’t die. One can change Religions, but one can never really be Non-Religious. No one lacks Faith either. Faith is not belief without evidence, by the way. Its simply another word for Confidence in or loyalty to something.

    Which brings me back to my point. Secularism has Failed. The Humanist philosophy that Dominates Society now simply out has not yielded the Results it promised. We don’t find a Happier, freer, more contended populace, we don’t find the unity and Brotherhood of Man we were told by Rousseau or Huxley or Wells or Lennon would occur if we followed it. We found an increase in Selfishness, Callousness, and Nihilism, as well as a greater tendency towards Tribal divisions.

    While I also believe in Freedom of Religion, I do think that the overall Culture should reflect our Traditional Historical Values, as they actually worked in securing a Society that ran smoothly and had a shared Common Decency. This was Winston Churchill’s “Christian Civilisation”, and one even Atheists like Huxley believed in. One need not be Christian to live comfortably in a Christian Society or to embrace Christian Ideals and Moral Views, just as one can be a Christine and live in the Secularist world of today. But the Presumptions of Secularism will, if they are those you live by Primarily, guide you to Ruin. This has been shown time and again in the 200 years since its Implementation.

    It has become the Dominant Religion of Culture, and has been predominant for about 50 years now, and we certainly haven’t seen the Improvements we were told would happen. People are less tolerant of others beliefs and lead less morally satisfied lives.

    So I just don’t see our conventional Wisdom of continuing to develop our Secular Humanist base Culture as Viable, as its been ineffectual.

    That said, I’d also be careful. There are some thinkers who advocate Absolute monarchy today, or those like me who prefer a Constitutional Model, but still want to see the Crown given more Power. Not all agree that Democracy is the best Governmental Form we have available or that is known, either. If you read Hoppe’s “Democracy: The God That Failed” you’d see a pretty good economic, social, and Moral argument against Democracy, and for Monarchy.

    Hoppe is not alone in thinking Monarchy was a Superior form of Government than today’s Democracy, either. I personally think its overrated. We associate with it Freedom, Tolerance, Prosperity, and the ability to make choices about our own lives but as I’ve shown here, this isn’t true. When an Atheists claims Faith Schools destroy Social Cohesion and advocates they be closed in order to make sure all Students go to State Schools, and thus learns only form a Secular Humanist perspective, and calls this “learning to get a Grip on Ideas:” when the students do nothing more than Parrot back the same Religious and Political Views they have, its not Freedom. When people are forced to accept behaviour they find Reprehensible because someone else’s Moral Codes have told them to, this isn’t Freedom either.

    The Theory of Republicanism as advocated by John Locke said we’d only Elect leaders who preserve dour Freedom, because no one watchmen taken away. This has proven false. We Were told Society would be united but anyone who see’s how much fighting goes on over politics in any given Democracy knows this is a Sham. Looking back on History I can see that Monarchy has a better Track record of keeping societies together, protecting the rights of Minorities, and preserving Justice. Mockery of it though rests on it being “Accident of Birth” and this as self evidently absurd, yet we build a system in which we are asked to put all our Faith in Our system which asks us to Trust a Popularity contest, in which the Greedy and Ambitious tend to run for office to push their own Ideals, or to gain Prestige, or to promote a Party Line. The Humble, the Gentle, and the Good of character Seldom run for office and even more seldom do they win. Society fights over Candidates and people just try to force in THEIR Party, as opposed to the other blokes. There is no such thing as a Unifying Democracy, an clearly the Social Fighting is a part of the process, which has failed to keep us Free.

    So I don’t see how it’s the best we can come up with, either, other than this is what our modern Culture tells us.

    And perhaps we should evaluate that as well?

  27. ZAROVE
    30/08/2010 at 8:22 pm

    A Small correction: I said Huxley wanted a Secularist society, accidentally. I also contradicted myself. I meant Ingersoll, as Huxley did not actually condemn Christian Moral Tenets, just belief in God and Miracles. TH Huxley believed in daily Bible Readings for Children though, and thought Biblical stories would help build Morality. He just thought we could set aside belief in God and Miracles, and from taking such stories literally, and develop a Naturalist perspective void of a need for a real God. He’d simply have us see it as we do Greek Mythology, as powerful metaphor for the Human Condition. Still, Huxley did not want rid of Christian society, he simply wanted rid of literal beleif in God, Angels and Miracles.

  28. Gareth Howell
    31/08/2010 at 6:58 am

    “Road and bridge tools – free in Scotland.”

    That’s ok Wyrdtimes. I am not planning to build a bridge at the moment.

    Now I understand why the Scots are such fine engineers. They get their tools free.

    The question of local rule for England is addressed with perfectly good effect by the Plans for regional government, abolishing or reducing the powers of the county councils;
    and creating 8 Regions of similar proportions to the regions for Wales and Scotland.

    A referendum organized by then John Prescott
    saw the end of that campaign about 5-6 years ago.

  29. Baroness Deech
    Baroness Deech
    04/09/2010 at 10:01 pm

    The meaning of the word “benefits” is “advantages”. If I had wanted to refer to what some observers thought I meant, I would have used the terms “social security” or “welfare”, not benefits. The benefits enjoyed by Scotland are inter alia the Barnett formula, freedom from tuition fees, reduced and soon to be abolished prescription charges, higher NHS spending per capita, special BBC provision.

    • robertlouis
      05/09/2010 at 5:34 pm

      I’m really sorry Ruth, but you will have to do much better than this playing with semantics. What you meant by benefits was EXACTLY that.

      As a member of the house of lords, you still do not seem to have grasped what devolution actually means.

      You talk of freedom from tuition fees and Reduced prescription fees. These are only possible because the Scottish Government decided to allocate funds to them, instead of other things. The London Government could do exactly the same – but they choose not to. That is hardly the fault of Scotland.

      As regards the Barnett formula – the ONLY reason it exists, is because Scottish businesses and people still pay ALL their taxes to London. The Scottish Government have requested an end to Barnett, and All taxes raised in Scotland spent in Scotland, with NO money from London at all.

      The current minority Tory administration in London has decided they will NOT allow this.

      So, look, there is no point in English people whinging about Alex Salmond. The SNP want no more Barnett, it is your English prime minister, and his minority London Tory Government that are stopping it from happening.

      I’d suggest you write and complain to David Cameron, instead of blaming the SNP or the Scottish Government.

      Still waiting for your full apology for offending the people of Scotland in your little anti Scotland tirade on BBC Radio 4 on 20th August 2010.

    • Ewen McPherson
      06/09/2010 at 8:27 am

      I wonder if the Baroness would be prepared to submit an article clarifying her statements on “Any Questions” to the popular Scottish News Website


      She should perhaps take a few minutes to read over some of the correspondance therein to understand some of the depth of feeling that her comments have raised.

      I am sure that I speak for many of the users of the site when I say that we would be very happy for her to address us and engage directly with us as we would happily assist her to directly understand why there has been such a reaction to her words.

    • Holebender
      06/09/2010 at 9:10 am

      “Special BBC provision”? Would that be the special provision that sees only a fraction of the license fee raised in Scotland allocated to BBC Scotland? Or would it be the special provision which sees the BBC openly opposing the elected government of Scotland while propagandising for the Union and (especially) the Labour Party? Perhaps you mean the special provision which sees the BBC’s website invoking a “profanity filter” at the very mention of a website which does nothing more profane than highlight some of the shortcomings of the BBC ( http://newsnetscotland.com )? Go ahead, try typing that URL into a BBC Scotland politics discussion website and see what happens.

      Perhaps the special BBC provision we receive is the provision of programmes which give ill-informed pundits free rein to make broad-brush defamatory comments against all Scottish people as a group?

      Your attempts at self-justification on this blog are far too little and far too late, Your Ladyship. Has it really taken you this long to formulate these poor attempts to explain away your intemperate bigoted remarks on the radio. Either come up with something more plausible (although it would still be very very late) or do the grown up thing and apologise.

  30. Lord Blagger
    05/09/2010 at 10:50 am

    So when it comes to a break up of the UK, because, for example, England leaves, will the Scots accept the advantage of a Barnett formula share of the debts?

    • Holebender
      06/09/2010 at 11:38 am

      Will London? Will the north of England? These are parts of the UK which receive more government spending per head of population that any part of Scotland, but I don’t hear them being pilloried.

      When the UK breaks up all assets and debts will be divided up by negotiated settlement. I’m sure Scotland’s representatives will deal honestly and openly with Whitehall. I only wish, based on past experience, I could be as confident of the chances of Whitehall playing fair.

  31. Matt
    31/12/2010 at 1:33 pm

    What’s all this about upsetting Scottish people? I thought the opening post was about numbers of peers. The following propositions strike me as ‘no-brainers’, and would love to hear a peer put them forward in the house:-

    ~ It would be consistent with fixing the members of the commons at 600 to do the same with the Lords.

    ~ Whatever one thinks about the ‘anachronism’ of hereditary peers, and despite the cobbled-together nature of the deal that retained the best 92 of them in the house, this deal has been a success. These peers make an excellent contribution to the house – by and large, they attend more frequently, and their speeches are less long-winded. To the objection that the electorate in their by-elections can be ridiculously small, then all that needs to happen is to have all replacements elected by the whole house, instead.

    ~ Given that we have a working precedent for the reduction of sitting hereditary peers, apply the same to the life peers. Anything between 200 and 400 retained (from a body of some 640 at the moment) would be sensible. We all know some of the ones who wouldn’t survive this process – they would retain their titles, but would be ‘non-sitting’. The reputation of the house would be bolsteered by their guaranteed absence! By the same token, the real ‘workers’ like Lord Grocott would recieve more recognition.

    If this system had been in place, say, when John Prescott was given a peerage, then he would have become a life peer, but would have to have waited for the death of an already sitting life peer, and then won an election in the house, in competition with the all the other non-sitting peers who wanted the replacement seat. I’m sure he would have been successful anyway, but the point is that there would have been a visible element of indirect election to it.

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