On Sunday 21st September I volunteered to help the Campaign for an English Parliament (Not aligned to any political party, just a group of Pro English Parliament people) at the Labour party conference in Manchester.
This was the first time I had been out with CEPAction and fully enjoyed the day and certainly highlighted to myself (if it ever needed highlighting) was how divisive the Labour party and its sub groups are towards people of our nation.
Our location was next to the Pro-Palestinian demonstration, they had their flags flying and we had the English National flag also flying, after a good conversation between us both they recognised how we are being discriminated against.
Whilst many of the delegates going to the conference happily took our leaflets and discussed the concept of and English Parliament, the largest group who completely dismissed the idea and even called it racist was from Labour’s elected officials.
- Hannah Mitchell Foundation
After a brief break for refreshments at the “Britons Protection” and lunch we moved to the “Town Hall Tavern” for a fringe meeting by the Hannah Mitchell foundation for the discussion on Regionalisation or City Regions.
The meeting which was very well attend got off to a bad start for the organisers with their first guess speaker putting her foot right in it.
Stand up Linda Riorden the Labour Cooperative MP for Halifax who stated she spends 99.9% of her time in London and can’t wait to get back up north and speak to “Normal” people (clanger 1), she then goes on to say that Labour Councillors don’t do enough and should get out more and engage with voters (Clanger 2).
We now move to questions from the audience, a gentleman stands up and states he is not happy with her statement which he finds divisive and insulting and asks “Does she believe there is no “Normal” people down south”. Now stand up a Yorkshire Councillor who also states she finds it offensive as she is out nearly every day.
- Hannah Mitchell general Secretary
Is this divisive and derogatory view of the various areas of England representative of the Hannah Mitchell foundation, well lets turn to Paul Salveson the General Secretary of the Hannah Mitchel Foundation, who in his post http://tinyurl.com/m539nvt begins by titling it “Northern beer drinkers for a YES vote”, and whilst he quotes a phrase from someone else “Scotland seems to be saying they’ve had enough of being governed by rats ‘down south’ and want their own power” he doesn’t at any point denounce the statement as being derogatory.
Eddie Bone of the Campaign for an English Parliament made very good points, even though he had to butt in because the chair was trying to avoid letting hi speak.
Again the Chair seemed to be avoiding letting me speak, it became obvious to many in the room who kept seeing my hand raised, eventually I was allowed to speak.
Point 1) An English Parliament is not another layer of Government that had been suggested, we are talking about taking away 117 MPs from the other nations who are not directly accountable to the people of England.
Point 2) An English Parliament, even in Westminster, would not be controlled by a “London Centric” Parliament, the North West has 76 MPs whilst Gt London has 73, the Northwest out votes Gt London.
Point 3) We then come to who our MPs actually represent, my Bury South MP is listed as nearly always following the party line, as Minister in charge of Maternity services under Labour they earmarked Bury Maternity services for closure because he followed the party line and not represent his constituents.
Point 4) The Greater Manchester Combine Authority(GMCA) took power away from councils, when it was the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) the Council leaders came to consensus, nothing was legally binding on the other councils.
The GMCA was formed when the Council leaders agreed to give it legal status without asking the voters of their borough. So as long as there is 6/10 Councils for it, the other councils will have it forced on them.
Point 5) The Yorkshire contingent stated that with a regional base they could get extra EU funding, although when it was pointed out that they were allocated £650 million by the EU for deprived areas, but instead was diverted to Scotland as a pre-referendum bribe didn’t go down well.
- The Comedy Club
We later came across Andy Burnham, MP for Wigan area at another fringe meeting at the Comedy club (Very apt for a Labour fringe meeting to be held in a Comedy Club) and when challenged by Eddie Bone over an English parliament I was extremely surprised at how Anti English Burnham actually is, although his arguments for a City region were easily shot down and all his entourage could do was shrug their shoulders.
Overall a very good day out – Or as I call it “Labour Baiting”