Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Drawing the battle grounds

Here is a link to a page which explains the boundary changes which affect Irlam and Cadishead for the General Election on May 6th. These changes probably enhance the chances of a Conservative being returned for this area for the first time, especially if the turnout is below 60%. History suggests that most non-voters would probably favour Labour - so if turnout is over 70% we can expect a swing back to Labour.

Of course the imponderables are Labours' national record - and their relatively new candidate Barbara Keeley.

There are four candidates:

Richard Gadsden, Liberal Democrat

Barbara Keeley, Labour

Ian Lindley, Conservative

Paul Whitelegg, English Democrat

I guess the unknown here is Paul Whitelegg. This party was established as an English equivalent of the SNP or Plaid Cymru, demanding a separate English Parliament, and return to the political conditions of middle ages. They also seek a withdrawal from the EU (where 80% of our international trade is) and return to the virtually defunct European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Despite claims distancing themselves from the Far Right, the party hold robust views about immigration - claiming they support the "wishes of the English people". I have strong misgivings about any political party making claims about Englishness, Scottishness or whatever. Ultimately such politicians are attempting to fix and essentialise something which is by definition fluid and dynamic and beyond a fixed definition.

Source: Worsley and Eccles - politics.co.uk


Wyrdtimes said...

I don't understand your misgivings about Englishness. The English are the people of England. Why shouldn't they have the same levels of recognition, representation and funding as the Scots or the Welsh?

The problem with the EU is that the people of England (and the "UK") have not consented to being members of a federal European Union. And the EU doesn't require that consent - it is a deeply undemocratic institution - bordering on a tyranny as far as I'm concerned.

As for "80% of our international trade" coming from the EU, it sounds like a figure plucked out of the air to me. But more importantly UK or better still English withdrawal from the EU doesn't mean that other EU nations will stop trading with us.

The Germans will still want to sell us cars, the French cheese etc. Trade will continue, but we'll be able to trade with the rest of the world on our own terms - not there's.

Ultimately it's a freedom issue.

Personally I'd much rather live in a small, peaceful, independent England than in a bogus EU region enforced upon me against my will.


Anonymous said...
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Steve M said...

You are probably right about the trade figures, although according to latest stats (http://www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_economy/Mm24jan10.pdf) UK exports to the EU are growing at a time when export to the US are falling, suggesting that the road to recovery lies with the Continent. One reason why this export trade is healthy, is because Britain is a good manufacturing for many global producers who take advantage of the fact we are an English speaking country within the EU's Common External Tariff.

But as I say, the concept of "The English" is open to question, its a contested term which defies definition. Anyone seeking to fix a definition of the English ultimately articulates this from a particular perspective, and so we end up with people like John Major claiming England is all about cricket and frumpy women riding bicycles around the village pond. That view in particular, simply doesn't reflect England's international and cosmopolitan identity as a contemporary and modern industrial and urban society.

Personally, I think it would be an economic and social disaster if the UK left the EU. Imagine the politician who has stand up in front of the nation and tell millions of families they can't have their annual two weeks in Magaluf cos the price has doubled ;)

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