A 2015 new deal for England in UK, and UK in EU
2015 should be the year when the ball starts rolling for England to get a proper deal within the UK and the UK to get a radically different relationship with the EU. A heck of a lot rides on the general election. We'd better get it right
Next year could be a decisive year for England and for the UK. There is a lot riding on the election in May. This should be the year when the business of England is at last on the agenda.
After 15 years of one sided and unfair devolution, Parliament must come to a judgement about how to allow England a voice and a vote over her own affairs. England is not willing to see large new powers granted to other parts of the UK without some justice for us. I will continue to speak for England.
This could also be the year when the UK decides it does want a new relationship with the European Union. If the squabbling Eurosceptics can put aside their differences over the pace and extent of change in the relationship with the EU, they can win the election.
An election win will mean a renegotiation of the relationship. More importantly, it will mean a referendum on whether the new relationship is worth having, or whether we should simply leave the EU and seek to sort out the consequentials once we have given notice.
Those who believe there is no chance of a sufficient change to warrant staying in will then have their opportunity to persuade the country to leave. Seeing if there is a deal on offer first is a necessary part of either getting what we want through negotiation or showing the country that the EU is unreasonable and unfriendly to the UK’s needs. Moving straight to an In/out vote as some wish would be a more hazardous enterprise.
Years of dramatic constitutional change have been deliberately undersold to the UK electors. Labour’s Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon treaties were mighty steps on the way to EU control, presented as minor moves. The devolution settlement was presented as important in Scotland but played down or ignored in England.
At the very least the debates running up to the election of 2015 will be a political education on the big issues which remain unresolved, or are left in a state which many English people find unacceptable once they are explained.
I look forward to speaking for an independent UK with a new relationship with the EU, and to speaking for England. A more independent UK could achieve more, be more prosperous, and truer to its history and the beliefs of its people.
Mr. Redwood's writing is re-posted here by his kind permission. This and other articles are available at johnredwoodsdiary.com
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