Thursday, May 03, 2007

Judgement Day for the United Kingdom

As the Scots, the Welsh, and vast numbers of the English cast their votes today, the outcome will be as much a test of David Cameron’s prospects of walking into No 10 as it is a seal on the fate of Tony Blair. The most important vote, however, will be cast in Scotland. If, as opinion polls appear to suggest, the SNP form the largest group at Holyrood, Alex Salmond will become First Minister, and it will be a democratic statement that no sensible person or serious political party could ignore.

As the 300th anniversary of the Union passed without flags and bunting, Cranmer is of the opinion that Mr Cameron is missing a trick. Conservative representation to Westminster from Scotland has become almost as dead as the dodo, and a sure vote-winner would be a Conservative policy (…there’s a rare thing…) to stabilise and equalise the status of England within the Union; to restore a sense of proportion. Mr Salmond’s proposed referendum on secession may herald the end of the Union, but the Scots should not have a unilateral say in a path to divorce; any separation will affect England just as much. But it is one thing to mutter on the back row about the Barnett Formula, the West Lothian Question, or the inappropriateness of having a Scottish Prime Minister legislating on matters that affect England but not his own constituents. It would be quite another, and a sure vote-winner, to bestow upon England a constitutional existence; to recognise that, uniquely in the United Kingdom, the heritage and institutions of this once-great country have been subsumed to the cause of Great Britain, and to acknowledge that to talk now of England is to pander to the BNP, nationalism, and to vainly dream of a bygone ethnicity.

To acknowledge the cause of England would strengthen the Union, not weaken it. The United Kingdom is the sum of its parts, and none is greater than the whole. The status of the nation and its influence in the world resides in its unity; in fragments it is conquered. It is quite possible to be a Conservative and Unionist while supporting the concept of an English Parliament, if only because the policy would be a ‘tidying up exercise’ to endow England with the same powers as those now held by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The English will not be prepared to be treated indefinitely with neglect and contempt, and Mr Cameron would be wise to recognise this (presently) latent feeling and harness it. It is time to recognise the flag of St George, April 23rd, and a country called England. An English polity would be perpetually Conservative, for the Conservative heartland lies in England. To revive England would be to renew Conservatism and Unionism, and in that renewal could be a re-assertion of the Union in a 21st-century constitutional settlement based on localism.

Why can Mr Cameron not see this?


Anonymous Observer said...

It is actually time to use each election to tag on referenda local and national to increase turnout.

In Northern Ireland there is provision for a referendum to be triggered every decade - there should be a removal of Secretaries of State/Governor-Generals for Wales and Scotland from The Cabinet....there is no Secretary of State for England in Cabinet....not even for Northern England which is paying the price for largesse to Scotland

When Scottish agencies offer British Residence Permits to Indians to attract fee-paying students; and Indian TV programmes offer tuition to British Universities as competition prizes, we know just how abusu=ive relationships have become - Scotland circumventing our own immigration rules with connivance from Whitehall

3 May 2007 at 08:13  
Blogger Joseph said...

Is Cameron capable? His performance at PMQs yesterday was abysmal. He appears to have no policies other than the pursuit of windmills.

The case for devolution in England is overwhelming. As Your Grace knows, England is not a series of regions but a nation and that has always been the policy since before the conquest.

If the people of Scotland wish more autonomy there is no case for further attempts to maintain the fiction of the union.

Ironically, England has now more in common economically with Ireland than a stalinist Scotland There is no real difference between Brown and Reid other than their tribal loyalties.

Labour will continue to bleed the productive economy dry to maintain their socialist fiefdoms.

Home Rule for England may not be enough.

3 May 2007 at 08:18  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

How can we expect the politicians to do anything for England? Blair is Scottish, Brown is Scottish, Menzies Campbell is Scottish and Cameron... Now that's an interesting name; I wonder where that comes from?

3 May 2007 at 14:40  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

Well put - your Grace.

3 May 2007 at 15:30  
Anonymous Voyager said...

to have no policies other than the pursuit of windmills.


3 May 2007 at 17:59  
Anonymous najistani said...

Switzerland with its Canton system is the ultimate example of a constitution based on localism, but it still maintains a ferocious desire for independence from Eurabia, backed up by a well-ordered citizens' militia:

"Guns are deeply rooted within Swiss culture - but the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept.

The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.
This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defence, developed over the centuries.

Instead of a standing, full-time army, the country requires every man to undergo some form of military training for a few days or weeks a year throughout most of their lives.

Between the ages of 21 and 32 men serve as frontline troops. They are given an M-57 assault rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition which they are required to keep at home.
Once discharged, men serve in the Swiss equivalent of the US National Guard, but still have to train occasionally and are given bolt rifles. Women do not have to own firearms, but are encouraged to.

In addition to the government-provided arms, there are few restrictions on buying weapons. Some cantons restrict the carrying of firearms - others do not.
The government even sells off surplus weaponry to the general public when new equipment is introduced.

Guns and shooting are popular national pastimes. More than 200,000 Swiss attend national annual marksmanship competitions.
But despite the wide ownership and availability of guns, violent crime is extremely rare. There are only minimal controls at public buildings and politicians rarely have police protection.

Mark Eisenecker, a sociologist from the University of Zurich told BBC News Online that guns are "anchored" in Swiss society and that gun control is simply not an issue.

Some pro-gun groups argue that Switzerland proves their contention that there is not necessarily a link between the availability of guns and violent crime in society.

But other commentators suggest that the reality is more complicated.
Switzerland is one of the world's richest countries, but has remained relatively isolated.

It has none of the social problems associated with gun crime seen in other industrialised countries like drugs or urban deprivation.
Despite the lack of rigid gun laws, firearms are strictly connected to a sense of collective responsibility.

From an early age Swiss men and women associate weaponry with being called to defend their country. "


3 May 2007 at 23:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has none of the social problems associated with gun crime seen in other industrialised countries

It now has a large enough Balkans population for that to change.

It also had a murder in Zurich last month carried out by a Reservist using his carbine

4 May 2007 at 09:03  
Anonymous Colin said...

Happily, His Grace, is blogging again. I was already worried.

Yesterday, I watched the debate between Madame Royale and Monsieur Sarkozy on internet TV. His Grace and the readers of this august blog might be interested in some highlights of the debate.

First, both are very able liars. Madame Royale - stylish dressed and good looking - promised everything to everybody such as IT courses for people unable to read and to write. (She really said that. How someone unable to read is able to read computer code remains her mystery.).

Monsieur Sarkozy presented an economically sound programme with a few exceptions. For example, he proposed to introduce import tariffs for the protection of French jobs. He forgot to mention that this is impossible within the common market of the EU except if he would be able to impose that for all EU countries. That would make every citizen of the EU poorer because all would have to pay more for imported products in order to save inefficient French companies.

Second, Monsieur Sarkozy stated clearly two times that with him as president Turkey shall not become a member of the EU. All countries will have to agree, he said, and he would not agree in order to save the ever wider integration of the EU member states.

4 May 2007 at 19:37  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Colin,

Welcome back.

His Grace is most concerned when his beloved communicants cease fellowshipping for reasons unknown and unknowable.

He intends to return to matters French and Turkish over the coming days, and thanks you for your contribution.

4 May 2007 at 20:04  
Anonymous Colin said...

Your Grace,

Thank you very much for your kind welcome. I appreciate your extraordinary hospitality. In fact, I didn't cease His Grace's fellowship but was simply too busy and tired in the evening for trying to write something erudite and intelligent.

I am looking forward to read your views about the coming events in Turkey and France. Not to forget, Miss Jelly Bean's sufi view on the matter.

4 May 2007 at 20:25  
Anonymous Miss Jelly bean said...

I'm glad my views intrigue and amuse you, Colin. I shall be delighted to contribute my opinion upon such subject matters, primarily Turkey and how the recent dispute over the presidential elections epitomise the ongoing secularism vs. Islam debate, especially now since Abdullah Gul failed to win majority in the parliamentary vote. Had he become president, his wife would have been the 'first lady' (notice the use of double entendre), to be wearing a hijab.

4 May 2007 at 21:38  
Anonymous Colin said...

Miss Jelly Bean,

Thank you for continuing to contribute to the debates. Indeed, I am interested in your views because they are new and challenging to me. And I know that you enjoy to preach to the infidels about the beauty of your religion, a view which - please accept my apologies for being blunt - don't entirely share.

I understand that you feel happy about the first lady of Turkey wearing a hijab as you do. But then again, wasn't Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, also wearing a hijab? See, her photo. Did the hijab change anything in politics? I don't think so. Lord Acton wrote in 1887 in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton the main lesson of history: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Naturally, this is independent of religion or dress code.

Moreover, I find it injust that men want to submit women to ancient dress codes. Why shouldn't men equally be forced by women to wear ancient dresses. For example, the Turkish president would look quite lovely in a fez hat which was formerly worn in the Ottoman Empire.

I am in favour of equal rights for men and women and against abusing women - as Hirsi Ali wrote in her first book - as Son Factories. In her book "The Caged Virgin" she wrote: "Her veil functions as a constant reminder to the outside world of this stifling morality that makes Muslim men the owners of women and obliges them to prevent their mothers, sisters, aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, and wives from having sexual contact."

Here some more food for thought. I am wondering what you think about her view, especially the content of her interview with Alex Chadwick about the racism of multiculturalism etc.

4 May 2007 at 23:38  
Anonymous Colin said...

'first lady' (notice the use of double entendre)

I noticed but don't quite get it. Please help this poor soul. Does it mean that a woman is not supposed to be 'first' or ?

5 May 2007 at 00:12  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I understand that you feel happy about the first lady of Turkey wearing a hijab

but since Kemal Ataturk banned it in public institutions this very act would be to overturn the Republic built by its founder and leave the Army as Guardians of The Constitution no option

5 May 2007 at 18:01  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

I never said I was happy (or sad) about the first lady wearing a hijab. I was simply speculating. It intrigued me that the BBC decided to raise this point, and so I decided to share it with you. I wasn't trying to imply that the hijab will change anything in politics, but the fact that Abdullah Gul's wife wears a hijab, could be one of the reasons why he was seen unfit to run a secular state. He is usually seen as pro-islam rather than pro-secularism essentially due to his islamic links. Now that the government of Turkey wants to join the EU, they'd like to stay as far away from Islam as they possibly can (undoubtedly to please the EU).

As for the unjust dress code you mentioned, well you know what I find unjust? I find it unjust when women want to wear the hijab but are forced against their will to remove it in countries such as France.

As for Hirsi Ali, whilst I respect her for everthing she went through, I would also like to add that she doesn't represent every Muslim woman's views out there. You seem to be under the impression that Muslim woman deliberatly want to be supressed and so wear the hijab. We 'muslim women' don't feel the need to walk around nude just to express our rights of liberty. We don't need to prove anything to anyone, and feel more liberal wearing clothes, rather than having to stoop to immoral, indecent acts just to make a point. I'm not saying that all women who don't wear a hijab are immoral, but we like to keep to our limitations, and if we're fine with it, why must it bother you so much?! I'm not speaking for the women who don't like to wear the Hijab, only for those who do but annoying people keep bothering them about feeling supressed when they're not.

It's like coming up to me and saying 'you feel supressed wearing the hijab because I said so' and then if I reply 'actually, no I don't', I will be given the reply 'YES YOU DO! they've BRAINWASHED you into thinking that you arn't supressed but you are! GOT IT!'

If you prefer women who like to reveal themselves, good for you Colin! I'm sorry my hijab bothers you so much but I really can't help it, I love wearing it!

5 May 2007 at 18:31  
Anonymous delroy said...

I went to Lichfield Cathedral today and saw a woman in a hijab. She looked very odd but that was mainly because she sported a magnificent mousetache.
Better in a Burka.

5 May 2007 at 18:48  
Anonymous Colin said...

Miss Jelly Bean,

"I'm sorry my hijab bothers you so much"

Your hijab doesn't bother me, Miss Jelly Bean, because I know that you have brains and aren't unhappy. However, the women I am mostly seeing with hijabs look more unhappy to me than their sisters without a hijab. And I am wondering about the reason.

My explanation is that to my knowledge everywhere in the animal kingdom including humans, females are trying to attract the most able males in order to secure the upbringing of their offspring. This is undeniably so everywhere on this planet including Islamic countries. Research revealed that everywhere boys want to be strong whereas girls want to be pretty. Unsurprisingly, one can also observe hijab wearing women trying to be dressed attractive and sometimes even rather sexy which proves that the same desire exists in Islamic women.

Since women like to be beautiful in order to advertise their fertility (i.e. research has shown that the beauty of women correlates highly with their fertility), full and shiny hair is a sign of health and hence fertility, the question remains why women should unnecessarily act against the law of nature. In other words, why didn't God make women bold if they were not supposed to show their hair?

”We 'muslim women' don't feel the need to walk around nude”

First, Miss Jelly Bean, your view is not identical with we 'muslim women'. Considering the large numbers of muslims in subsahara Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, the former Soviet Union, Algeria, Libanon etc. it seems to me that the majority is not wearing a hijab, hence ”walk around nude”. Second, if not covering the hair of a woman is identical to walking around nude, the same principle applies to the face. Why not also covering the nude face?

If God didn't want the face of young women to be more attractive than those of elder women, why didn't he make them uglier? If women don't want to reveal their hair, why do they reveal their face, why not wearing a burka in order to hide everything?

Why not going one step further and keep all women in the house for the rest of their lifes? That would guarantee that nothing at all is revealed. It is quite obvious that there is no natural limit to hiding the attractiveness of women.

The hiding of women's attraction is not the result of the women's desire, they all want to look beautiful and desirable (proof: beauty industry is big business everywhere), but the consequence of conditioned fears, conditioned by negative sanctions imposed by men and older women who everywhere want to control their possessions and competitors. In some countries they demand a veil, in others a burka, in ancient China the ability of women to leave the house was restricted by the binding their feet. Harems, eunuchs, and mutilations of women's sexual organs all derive from the same desire of men to control women while reserving for themselves the right of polygamy and promiscuity.

"If you prefer women who like to reveal themselves, good for you Colin!"

A woman is revealing herself by showing her hair? A strange idea, indeed. Why not the nose or her eyes also? I am sorry but I can't help it that I always feel sorry for them if I see these women looking so pitiful to me like Mediveal nuns because of similar ugly dresses.

"but I really can't help it, I love wearing it!"

That's fine with me if you like it. Since you are participating in a non-Islamic blog, I hope you don't mind that some people like to discuss topics which are not completely in agreement with views and prejudices of the Arabe tribes from pre-Mohammedian times. If you wouldn’t also enjoy to exchange ideas, you probably would write comments on Islamic blogs instead of Cranmer’s erudite and intelligent blog. Please let me emphasise again that while I highly respect you as an intelligent person and interesting personality, I am not in agreement with what I consider as Medieval superstition and prejudices.

Cordially yours,

Colin with moustache
(this time in a burka in order to comply with Delroy's wishes)

5 May 2007 at 23:39  
Anonymous Observer said...

Laban Tall has an interesting commentary on his Blog

Scottish School

6 May 2007 at 10:08  

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