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News: England Cricket and Commonwealth Games

12 May

England world20

English Sport

The England cricket team have beaten New Zealand and top their group in the World 20 competition . They move onto the semi finals unbeaten in the competition so far. Congratulations and lets keep our fingers crossed we can reach the finals.

The England Commonwealth Games Team have selected Andi Jones (Salford Harriers) and Helen Decker (Ipswich Jaffa) to represent England in the Commonwealth games after their London Marathon perfomance. Congratulations guys, I know you will do England proud in Dehli.

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England expects

11 May

There have been numerous articles in papers over the last few days recognising what a lot of English voters have known for a long time. We have a democracy deficit here in England. The English Voters are simply 2nd class citizens in U.K. democracy stakes.

English voters get less MPs per capita than Scotland. The English get less say in how England is ran than the Scottish do in running Scotland (or the Welsh in Wales) thanks to devolved Parliaments and Assemblies that were denied to the English. To further the English humiliation, Welsh and Scottish MPs vote on policy that will effect England only (something denied to English MPs on Scottish and Welsh policy).

David Cameron

David Cameron is a Unionist, he has said “He does not want to be Prime Minister of England”. If he does fail in his bid to be British Prime Minister, then I can have little sympathy for him. The Conservative party needs to wake up and realise it is a predominately English party. Stop the futile attempts to bribe the Celtic fringes at the expense of England. The place between Scotland and Wales has a name, we have had enough of being treated as an after thought, a wet fish of a prize.

A Federal UK is the only way forward. Start addressing these issues and start acknowledging England.

As the below excerpt from a article by Harry Reid Herald in Scotland .

“English voters who are starting to believe themselves to be seriously, and possibly permanently, disenfranchised.

Of course there is an obvious and sensible answer to this conundrum: break up the Union. If the English had England to themselves, they could vote Tory to their hearts’ content. Problem over.

There are two difficulties with that. These Tory-tending English voters have a potent, if utterly irrational, regard for the Union. Their current leader and spokesman, David Cameron, typifies this.

It makes political sense for him to get rid of Scotland and its cussedly anti-Tory voters, yet he cannot bring himself to try to do so because of some atavistic and inexplicable veneration for the Union.

You could almost admire him for his loyal attachment to a chimera which prevents him and his party from ruling England, but you have to wonder at his political sense, or lack of it”

Gordon Brown resigns

11 May

Gordon Brown resigned as leader of the Labour Party, I wish him well in whatever he does in the future but cannot say I am sad to see him leave. Hopefully we may see a more English Centric Labour party emerge…. oh dear, must stop laughing.

England World cup squad announced

11 May

Fabio Capello has announced his preliminary England squad list for the World Cup. The line up is offers no real surprises (any bets on which 7 will be dropped for the final 23 man squad ?).

Goalkeepers
Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green

strong>Defenders
Leighton Baines, Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock

Midfielders
Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Scott Parker, Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright-Phillips

Forwards
Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney

The world cup is going to be a refreshing break from a political weary English population.

It is YOU time

3 May

Rather clever use of script in this video (if you stick with it). Nice to see a positive message.

Remember it is YOUR vote. Vote because the person you vote for will help YOU, benefit YOU, inspires YOU and will create a country YOU will be proud off. A lot of politicians will vanish after this Thursday and not want to engage or care about you for another 5 years. This is the moment where YOU count, be counted, show YOU matter and YOU care. No vote for any party is wasted if it represents YOU. Vote Yellow, Red, Green Rainbow, stripes or spots – do not let the big parties tell you it is a wasted vote – that is their attempt to trap you perpetuating three party politics. It does not have to be that way.

Home rule for England

26 Apr

Power 2010 have been pulling out the guerilla warfare books and on the eve of St.George’s day pulled a nice Home Rule publicity event not ‘in’ but ON Westminster.

“Happy St George’s day! To mark the national day of England’s patron saint POWER2010 paid a little visit to Westminster to remind politicians of the demand for English Home Rule now that there has been devolution to Scotland and Wales.”

http://www.power2010.org.uk/blog/entry/home-rule-for-england/

Whilst I am still disappointed that Power2010 took the popular English Parliament issue out in their committee stage. I would encourage you to take part in their campaign and sign their pledge.

Underfunded England to be hit hardest by future cuts

26 Apr

new study by ippr published today (Thursday 22 April) warns that the current funding disparities between England and the devolved nations might widen as spending is cut across the UK.

With the prospect of significant cuts in public expenditure after the General Election, the study argues that because of the way the Barnett formula works the budgets of the devolved administrations will be better protected than those in England for spending on comparable services. This means that although spending across the UK will fall overall, the spending disparities that currently exist between the devolved nations and England, which are the source of considerable and growing tension, may actually widen during a period of spending retrenchment. Certainly the spending gap will not narrow in coming years.

The study suggests two reasons for this:

  • Firstly, devolved administration’s budgets will be relatively well sheltered from the worst cuts that fall on England since the bulk of the block grant going to them is based on health and education spending which the Conservative and Labour parties have promised to protect. Health and education funding make up more than half of the ‘comparable’ spending programmes in England upon which the value of the grant is based.
  • Secondly, the so-called ‘Barnett squeeze’, which means that over time the Barnett formula is supposed to bring about equal spending per head in the four nations, goes into reverse if spending cuts are being made. This means that the proportionate fall in spending in the devolved administrations will be lower than that experienced in England.

The study warns that public opinion may not tolerate a situation whereby the devolved administrations, and Scotland in particular, is perceived to be suffering less pain than England. Previous ippr research has shown that the number of people in England who think that Scotland gets ‘more than its fair share of funding’ has almost doubled in recent years (from 22% in 2003 to 40% in 2009) which suggests growing public unease about the distribution of money. This is only likely to grow if spending disparities widen during an era of cuts.

Devolution in a Downturn, by Professor David Bell, also highlights a number of other deficiencies with the way that the devolved administrations are funded. Since their grants are determined by spending decisions made in England by the government in Westminster, over which they exercise no influence, the devolved administrations cannot control the size of their budgets (though they are free to spend the block grant as they see fit). This also makes financial planning difficult and places the devolved administrations in a state of limbo: they know that spending cuts are coming from 2011-12 onwards but they do not know how these will affect them until these decisions are taken.

The study argues that the UK as a whole would benefit from more discussion on how the budgets for its constituent nations are set – this could lead to better decision making and improved economic performance.  It suggests that the UK could learn from federal countries like Germany where the federal government formally consults with the Länder over budgetary decisions.

Devolution in a Downturn shows that unlike in previous recessions, Wales and Scotland have not seen much higher levels of unemployment than elsewhere in the UK – though Northern Ireland has suffered steeper increases in joblessness than elsewhere. (Northern Ireland has also seen a worse crash in its house prices – partly because it is linked to the extremely depressed property market in the Republic of Ireland.)

The devolved administrations therefore face broadly similar economic problems, but are severely constrained in how they respond:

• They cannot significantly expand or reduce spending
• They cannot significantly change the tax burden
• They have very limited powers to shift the timing of spending
• or to reallocate spending to promote growth

The report’s author, David Bell, Professor of Economics at the University of Stirling, said:

“The recession has exposed the lack of powers within devolved administrations to influence demand in their national economies. Control of macro-economic policy remains firmly in Whitehall.

“Having been tethered closely to the economic fortunes of the UK as a whole, the devolved administrations now await with some powerlessness significant cuts to their block grants.

“However, this lack of control is not unique to the UK – for example the German federal system does not allow the Länder to respond differentially in any significant way.  It is also the case that the funding formulas which leave the devolved administrations so dependent on Westminster could work in their favour when spending cuts begin to bite.”

In the paper, Professor Bell argues that giving devolved administrations more fiscal powers is not necessarily the answer, however.  The argument that giving them greater power to respond to local economic circumstances has to be offset against the danger that greater autonomy will simply lead devolved governments to spend more, knowing that in the end they will be bailed out by the UK Treasury if things go wrong.

Identifiable public spend per head, minus social security, across the UK nations, 2008/09

Identifiable spending per head, minus social security Index of spending per head (UK=100) Variation from the average (%) Spend per head Variation from the UK average (£)
England 97 -3% £4,827 -£170
Scotland 120 +20% £6,016 +£1,019
Wales 110 +10% £5,506 +£509
Northern Ireland 122 +22% £6,120 +£1,123
UK 100 N/A £4,997 N/A

http://www.ippr.org.uk/pressreleases/?id=3965