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Friday, 20 January 2012


It now appears that, after months of delay, that the English are to be snubbed and unrepresented on the Government's West Lothian Question Commission. The West Lothian Question ("WLQ") is that, deliberately opaque, phrase used by the British Establishment to talk about the 'English Question' without mentioning the "E" word.

As the Daily Telegraph's Philip Johnston explains it:-
"It was in 1977, during the devolution debates in the Commons, that Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP for West Lothian, asked: “For how long will English constituencies and English honourable members tolerate honourable members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on British politics, while they have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?” Enoch Powell, in the same debate, gave Mr Dalyell’s puzzle the status it now enjoys: “We have finally grasped what the Honourable Member for West Lothian is getting at,” he said. “Let us call it the West Lothian Question.”
To call something a “question” conjured up those great issues that once preoccupied parliamentarians, like Schleswig-Holstein or, more pertinently, the Irish Question. But this was never really the West Lothian Question – it is the English Question. How does England fit into the post-devolutionary settlement? This has been ignored,"

So after many months of procrastination the Government has now announced the membership of its West Lothian Question Commission (or McKay Commission as it may come to be called). There are six Commissioners. Here are potted biographies of them:-

Sir William McKay KCB (Chairman)
Sir William entered the service of the House of Commons in 1961 and was Clerk of the House from 1998 to 2002. Since retirement, he has served on a large number of bodies that consider complex legal and constitutional matters, including the Legal Questions Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and as an observer on the Law Society of Scotland's ruling Council.

Sir Geoffrey Bowman KCB QC
Sir Geoffrey Bowman was called to the bar in 1968 by Lincoln's Inn, of which he is now a bencher. From 1971 to 2006 he was a member of the Parliamentary Counsel Office, which is responsible for drafting government Bills and facilitating their passage through the Westminster Parliament. He was First Parliamentary Counsel (head of the Office) from 2002 to 2006. He has considerable experience of legislative drafting, Parliamentary procedure and constitutional matters generally.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG
Sir Emyr is the President of Aberystwyth University. He is the former British Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former UK permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council (NATO). From 2007-2009 he chaired the All Wales Convention.

Professor Charlie Jeffery
Professor Jeffery has held a Chair in Politics at the University of Edinburgh since October 2004 and is currently Head of School of Social and Political Science and Vice Principal for Public Policy at the University. He directed the Economic and Social Research Council's research programme on Devolution and Constitutional Change from 2000-7. He was a member of Council of the Economic and Social Research Council from 2005-11. He has been advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Committee on Standards in Public Life, the EU Committee of the Regions, the Commission on Scottish Devolution and the Scotland Bill Committee of the Scottish Parliament. He is a member of the Politics and International Studies sub-panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and chairs the Political Studies Association of the UK.

Professor Yvonne Galligan
Professor Galligan is the Director of Research on Governance and Public Policy at Queen's University, Belfast. She is also the Director of the University's Gender Initiative and of the Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics. Professor Galligan has written extensively on questions of political and parliamentary representation.

Sir Stephen Laws KCB QC
Sir Stephen Laws was called to the Bar in 1973. He joined the Civil Service in 1975 and transferred to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in 1976. Sir Stephen was First Parliamentary Counsel from 2006 to 2012. Sir Stephen's career in the Civil Service has involved being an adviser to different Governments on Parliamentary and constitutional matters, as well as responsibility for the drafting and procedural handling of Government Bills at Westminster.

You will notice that only two of these six are arguably English. Both of these are as British and as Establishment as it is possible to be! They are both retired “First Parliamentary Counsel” i.e. top ranking civil servants whose legal work is both the drafting of government bills and advising Whitehall Ministers etc., and the Committees of the Houses of Commons and Lords as the Bills progress through Westminster’s legislative process.

Also consider the Commission's government-imposed Terms of Reference:
"To consider how the House of Commons might deal with legislation which affects only part of the United Kingdom, following the devolution of certain legislative powers to the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Assembly for Wales."
NB no mention of the word "England"

We can therefore be absolutely confident that none of the Commissioners will have any interest whatsoever in the English Nation, English Nationalism or even in democratic fairness for England.

The Government’s approach is now self evidently to delay any recommendations until at least 2015 and even then they are seeking recommendations that will have the minimum impact on the way Westminster currently operates.

However I have a message for Ministers and for their West Lothian Commission – the English are awakening and when fully roused they will not be happy with Westminster or Whitehall which have betrayed the trust placed in them to be fair to England and to the English Nation! And this McKay Commission will not appease us one bit!


  1. Well said,Robin. The Govt is presenting the WLQ as a little procedural difficulty and one can only say that this is a very low key set of appointments, with only one of the 'usual suspects'(Prof Jeffery) on board. This suggests that, whatever is finally recommended, will have no real English dimension. Once something is on offer or in place, however, it may provide a foot in the door.

  2. Time to do it ourselves methinks, And why so many Lawyers

  3. Is this not a perfect situation then where a Petition is required. If what you say Robin is true - then there would be no problem in getting 100,000 signatures?
    Dare I say it .........."Lead on Macduff"?

    Regards, Paul Austin

  4. Laurence Williams20 January 2012 at 16:25

    Dear Robin, you touched a raw nerve there with 'Schleswig - Holstein' for my Danish forebears were 'forced' out of that region following the Danish/German War of 1864; they moved to Copenhagen [as far away from the Germans as they could get!] and their son [my Grandfather] found his way to London in 1892. The rest, they say, is History! Laurence Williams [Sidcup, Kent]

  5. Leo Brookes - English and proud20 January 2012 at 20:30

    I fully concur with you on this. It is not a commission that is needed but an English Conention as both the Scots and Welsh had. The Cameron family's heritage is Scottish as is he wife's so we should not be shocked at this stitch up.

  6. What a shame that the disjointed and disappointing English Nationalist bands don't have the common sense to put petty personal wrangling aside and contest the real issues confronting England. As far as I can see without such unity the whole cause of Engliosh Nationalism will continue to be the by-word for lost causes.

  7. Anthony W Hodges21 January 2012 at 13:34

    Of course everything Robin Tilbrook drew attention to is accurate. We are back to the point that in this much vaunted democracy of ours, after an election, whether the Government embraces the West Lothian question or any other matter detrimental to England's interests there is virtually nothing that can be done about them or any other dysfunctional position of England or of the United Kingdom whilst these three almost identical political parties defend the established political class (themselves). Until these people are removed and a far more radical group is elected to power our decline will continue until eventually it will become irreversible. Anthony W Hodges

  8. Anthony W Hodges21 January 2012 at 13:36

    In the light of my own comments I fully endorse 'anonymous" (21.01.2012)is his criticisms of disparate English national groups.

  9. Well the truth of the matter about the English, is that England is a country in a deep state of decay, The English contribute a lot to this by the tactic of lying ‘Doggo’, which is one understands the custom of rolling up like a hedgehog when it espies the lights of an oncoming heavy articulated truck. The English regard the idea of ignoring the proselitisations of Nationalists as hilariously funny. It is all part of the great English ‘sense of humour’. The English think they uniquely possess, although telling the English that they are not particularly funny will not make you any friends.
    The English regard all this talk of Nationalism in terms of what the solid beery English workingmen of two centuries ago called ‘Cant’.
    The English are a Northern people and can only really hold one political idea at a time, and Nationalists must wait until the English realise that English Nationalism is a real idea with real substance. The truth is that the English mind is somewhat similar to that French mineral water which takes a long time to trickle through the rocks to the up-welling spring. One must hope that when realisation dawns it will have all been worth it.

  10. The English People's Party shares these EDP concerns and will happily work with the EDP on this issue. We do need a chorus of very clear and strong English voices in the lead up to the Scottish independence referendum where we can be sure the British elites will seek to pay off Scottish separatism by selling out English interests. Regards Andrew Constantine

  11. Dear Robin
    from where I stand what we have here is some people who are obviously very intellectual who can talk the hind legs off a donkey with their very intellectual arguments, but these are not the people who make history they are dealing with the aftermath of other peoples thoughts and actions so are trying to give themselves credence, thinking they have some sort of power which originally came from us as what is happening is the result of our past thought and action.
    If we are English then we do need to understand history from an Englishman`s view, perhaps we need to read such works as John Bunyan`s `Pilgrims Progress` giving us an insight into the human condition which is just as relevant then as it is today, going from the pond of dispond too the gates of heaven, then onto George lovelace the Methodist lay preacher of the Tollpuddle martyrs with his letter, these men amongst many others show the heart and mind of the English, and this goes back centuries,English civil war / 1688 revolution, the reformation,the peasans revolt started by a monk from Kent quoting from the Bible, the battle of Hasting`s/Senlac ridge fighting the norman stormtroopers of the recently broken away Roman Catholic church,and back to the Horsa and Hengist hired by Vortigen to fight against the Picts and the Irish Scots.
    but these Germanic people were here already as axillaries in the former Roman Empire and that is where our national flag came from a captured cavalry standard, and from that time we have all sorts thrown at us and it has been our duty to carry on our identity as English and has nothing what so ever to do with the present government who in truth who are these people and who do they actually represent, certainly not the English and they have said this more than once so it is up to us to carry on just like our forebears, this goes down to the family and its strength that is where the Hide comes in, it is the area of land needed to support a family which goes onto the
    Hundreds(Hides)and so on to the king this has been going on for hundreds of years and with the church a spiritual aspect as well as reading and writing as it weaves between pagan and Christian, but is the Christian aspect which has given us strength to fight wrongs, a very simple message which everyone can understand in fact the more simple can be the hardest to beat because of there simple truths and this is what it is all about truth which for me is the Christian message through the eyes of an Englishman, family first and from there outwards. like everyone else is doing your own first and from that example we hope others will follow this example, with their own culture and customs.we have a lot to celebrate as being English history proves this let no one convince you otherwise.
    Stephen Bennett

  12. Mmmmmmm......About as English as Haggis !

  13. and of course totally unbiased

  14. Robin, you should have mentioned the Commissions Terms of Reference:

    "To consider how the House of Commons might deal with legislation which affects only part of the United Kingdom, following the devolution of certain legislative powers to the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Assembly for Wales."

    Where in that little lot is the word "England"? Not only is the make up of the commission patently biased, they refuse even to acknowledge they mention every nation in the blessed union except the ones any answers they come up with will be aimed at; The English. My blood is boiling!

  15. England does not exist anymore ask Welshman Prescott, for confirmation of that. It is now a multicultural paradise, according to the liberal(wet tories) government.

  16. Can I just state that I don't want a multi-cultural society, so whom in his infinite wisdom decided that England should be a multi-cultural society...........I wasn't asked, were any of you?????

  17. Even when i was 17 years old and got my first passport i was offended that it said British national on it. even at such a young age i knew my nationality was and is English, and who was any politician to tell me otherwise. i'll always correct those who call me British. i for one am very for an English parliament, and its time those ignorant self serving bell ends for politicians realise, we as Englishmen and women won't stay quiet forever.