Sir, Ten years on from 1999 devolution it is imperative that England has self-governance.
Following devolution, Westminster’s 117 UK Celtic MPs lost up to 90 per cent of their duties but they are all still there undemocratically interfering in “England only” matters when the vast majority could have been transferred to their devolved governments.
However despite such continuing anti-democracy even the majority of England’s own 529 MPs still deny England self-governance some even on “cost” grounds yet most readily approved 1999 devolution with 297 new politicians with vast new devolved bureaucracies.
Hypocritically, Westminster and its self-indulging UK political parties parade the world thrusting democracy on others whilst denying it to the country and inhabitants of England – who elect and pay them.
Since 1999, UK Westminster has governed only UK non-devolved functions and the country of England (woefully) – but in the process controls over £500 billion (2008/09) of England’s revenues.
It can therefore manipulate England’s funding and subjugate its inhabitants, at will, to satisfy its own political objectives – how can it ever be trusted to put England’s inhabitants first?
Devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have no such dual loyalties, their sole function being to put their own countries and inhabitants first with annual “devolution settlements”.
So it is high time for England self-governance since Westminster’s UK functions now occupy only about 10 per cent of its time whilst “England only” matters (devolved by default) must need about 90 per cent attention.
Logically, of England’s 529 UK MPs around 475 (90 per cent) could be transferred to a England parliament whilst UK matters (even discounting EU input) would require no more than 10 per cent of current 646 MPs.
A meaningful UK structure incorporating an England parliament could be –
(1) Westminster UK functions (non-devolved) - 66 UK MPs (54 English plus 12 Celtic).
(2) England parliament – 475 England MPs.
(3) Celtic governments – 297 Celtic MPs – (129 (Scot), 60 (Wales), 108 (N.I) – why are so many needed?
This structure totals 838 politicians against the current 943 politicians so to deny a England parliament on basis of cost is a fallacy and denial on its right to self-governance is now unsustainable.
UK political parties would become defunct replaced by English political parties.
We shouldn’t be too quick to vilify Israel
Sir, As I continue to witness the sad events taking place in Israel and Gaza, I also seem to be witnessing people around the world, hell-bent on vilifying Israel. I find myself frustrated and perplexed by the apparent lack of basic recognition to the situation taking place and, additionally, the peculiar reality that the entire world seems to have unrealistically high moral expectations of Israel.
Whilst I won’t claim that Israel is perfect in all that she does, I ask the simplest question: which country on the planet would have tolerated thousands of rockets being indiscriminately targeted at its civilian population, as Hamas have done over the past few years, without conducting any major counter-action? Yet it appears that after years of political and sporadic military action from the Israeli side, Israel is just expected to merely tolerate these rockets and go about its daily routine! There seems to be no simple recognition of the blatant fact that Israel is required to act to stop these attacks!
Fact: Hamas is a terrorist organisation. Fact: Hamas has continued to fire thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Fact: Israel finally needed to take decisive action.
An acceptable debate would be to what extent this action should take. But the world needs to recognise the most simple of facts, that Israel must take strong action. Many have accused Israel of a “disproportionate response”, but no one seems to be able to give guidance as to what would constitute a real and effective response to the continual threat of Hamas rockets.
People need to make a real assessment of how they decide what is considered a “disproportionate response”. This classification cannot be simply based on the number of civilian casualties on the Palestinian side, since this is far too nonsensical a measure. I suggest that, on self-reflection, the vast majority of people are totally incapable of judging both the type of response required and the intensity of that response.
Israel must respect law to earn trading deal
Sir, Despite calls from the EU and many others for a ceasefire, the brutally disproportionate Israeli attack on Gaza – by air, sea and land – continues. In spite of this, the EU is this very month preparing to upgrade its trade agreement to give Israel even more privileged access to European markets.
In December, the EU’s Council of Ministers voted to support this upgrade, ignoring the fact that Israel was in breach of an “essential element” of the earlier agreement. This required states to respect “human rights and democratic principles”. The new terms are even weaker and include no obligations on Israel in respect of its illegal settlements, the illegal wall, and its repeated breaches of international human rights and humanitarian law in Gaza and elsewhere.
In view of the horrific events of the past days, the Green Party is calling on: (1) The UK Government to revoke its support for any new agreements with Israel and (2) The European Parliament to refuse to endorse any extension of existing agreements and to use its influence to prevent any upgrades of EU benefits to Israel until it abides by its international legal and humanitarian obligations.
If I am elected to the European Parliament this June, I pledge to support efforts to ensure that Israel and others in the Middle East (including the Palestinians) get a favourable trading status only if they respect international law and refrain from using violence as a means of settling their disputes.
Green Party candidate for West Midlands MEP.
Time to draw a line under West Brom shares dispute
Sir, In response to the letter from David Billings (Post, December 23) the board of West Bromwich Albion would like to clarify the following facts concerning the outcome of the recent High Court Action regarding the share consolidation.
Mr Billings was the spokesman for a group of shareholders who made an application for an injunction to prevent the share consolidation that was passed at the club’s annual general meeting in November. It has to be said that Mr Billings takes a highly subjective view of the findings of Mr Justice Patten, who dismissed the application with costs in the board and club’s favour.
Mr Justice Patten noted that the effect of the share consolidation on shareholders, large or small, would be random and “it is not therefore possible to say that the resolution [proposing the share consolidation] was intended to eliminate minority shareholders as a whole or to expose them all to significant additional expenditure.” Indeed, he went on to find that “for many its effect would be minimal or non-existent”.
The judge’s conclusion was that he could not “see how it can be said to be discriminatory” and therefore he was “not persuaded that the petitioners have established a good arguable case”.
Remarkably, Mr Billings omits to mention these crucial parts of the judge’s decision.
The judge also stated that he was “not satisfied” that there was sufficient material to support a case of undervalue by the directors in the issuing of 9,075 shares to the chairman, Jeremy Peace, at £80 per share on September 26.
The board would like to repeat that following the dismissal of this application by the small group of shareholders concerned, everyone with the interests of West Bromwich Albion at heart should now draw a line under the matter and concentrate on helping the club through a very important season.