There is no such thing as an ‘England-only’ issue.. – Skwawkbox

On the right: Kate Hoey.

On the right: Kate Hoey.

If you were incensed at Tom Pride’s ‘crackpot’ article, this one should make your blood boil. Here’s Steve Walker of the Skwawkbox blog:

Much talk continues in the media of the ‘inevitability’ and supposed fairness of ‘English devolution’ – which is nothing more than a cynical Tory attempt to neutralise the 58 out of 59 Scottish MPs who are not Tories, preventing them from hindering the Right’s plans to further strip away vital supports from vulnerable and ordinary people and making it far harder for a Labour government to achieve good in government or resist Tory predations in opposition.

The purported logic behind this effective coup is that, if the people of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the right to decide issues such as health and education spending and (in the case of Scotland) to raise revenues, ‘then it’s only right’ that English people have the ‘freedom’ to decide on so-called ‘England only’ matters.

But this is a complete red herring, because there is no such thing as an ‘England only’ issue.

This was highlighted and elaborated by an excellent comment by a reader called ‘Pete’, who runs another blog:

The false premise behind all these comparisons between England and Scotland (and Wales and NI) is the assumption that they are in some way comparable: they’re not. England has 80-odd percent of the UK population, London alone has more people than Scotland and Wales combined. Scotland’s GVA per capita looks good – ranking it 3rd behind London and the SE in English regions – however is only the 6th UK region by gross GVA – behind 5 English ones. Those disparities mean there is *no* change to English tax, public services, inflation, employment legislation, company law, trade union law … that *does not* affect Scotland. A reduction in English VAT, for example, would instantly have an adverse affect on Scottish manufacturing, retailing, pay rates and more. Because of its relatively very small population and economic activity, the reverse is not true to any meaningful extent. England is 80-odd percent of the UK changes there will always affect the other 15/17 percent – i.e. Scotland, Wales, and NI.

(emphasis mine)

The media, from the BBC to the vast majority of the written press, appears to be completely (deliberately?) ignoring this very obvious fact in their coverage of this issue and are giving free rein to various right-wing politicians to voice this ‘obvious truth’.

They are also giving excessive weight to a handful of ‘blue’ Labour MPs who are shamefully supporting the right, such as Kate Hoey, who claimed that Labour should back the moves ‘even if in the short term it looks that it might be a disadvantage to our party‘, describing a few dissenters as ‘serious pressure’ on Ed Miliband.

To read the rest of the article, please visit Skwawkbox. In the meantime, let’s all make a note of Kate Hoey’s name, in preparation for the day when Labour ejects the neoliberals.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
bringing you the best of the blogs!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards


  1. amnesiaclinic September 22, 2014 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    Well-spotted! There is really no limit to the cynicism of these tories. I can see this going through very quickly whereas the benefits promised will be torn to shreds in the commons and what is left will be implemented so slowly they will get lost in the general election.
    Who would ever, ever trust this lot?
    The only really bright light is that the whole process has really ignited political interest and we have to do all we can to keep that going for the benefit of the whole of the UK.

  2. harry the don September 22, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    we’ll be too busy building snowmen atop the icy vistas of hell to remember kate hoey’s name that day…

    • Mike Sivier September 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      From that comment, can we take it that’ll be all the use you’ll be until that day, as well?

      • harry the don September 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

        i live in maidenhead mate, with the best will in the world i can’t pretend my votes for and promotion of a genuinely progressive party will make any difference to anything. at least i’ve retained a little integrity.

  3. John September 23, 2014 at 1:12 am - Reply

    Bizarre, is it not, that the Tories – who claim to be the Unionist party – are busily trying to destroy the United Kingdom after only just having campaigned to keep it?
    This latest stunt reveals to all Scots who voted “No” just how cynical the Tories truly are.
    It may now also show up Labour and the Libs as being somewhat naive by comparison.
    No wonder most people are confused and possibly sickened by the sheer arrogant ruthlessness with which the Tories try to pursue electoral advantage.
    They are so damned juvenile – are they not?
    Just as well UKIP will keep them out of office in 2015, I say !!!

    • Mike Sivier September 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Give me strength…

  4. stephentamblin September 23, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Don’t believe any thing the Torys say what a mess

Leave A Comment