The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Brown’s British Problem

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 13, 2009 @ 22:45

Gordon Brown welcomes you to the "United Kingdom"

Gordon Brown welcomes you to the "United Kingdom"

There is trouble a’brewin. But not just for Gordon Brown.

We all know Brown does his best to wrap himself in the British flag. British jobs for British workers. A British day.

But he’s a very confused sort of chap. If you analyse his speeches (as I did for an essay one time) – you will note that invariably he uses English examples to illustrate what he claims is the “British genius”. Indeed, he has even been noted to misquote an original, substituting the word “British” for “English” as appropriate. Or, indeed, misappropriating an author who was writing about England and claiming it was a discussion of Britain. He has done this with George Orwell.

But why would we do this? Could it be possible that he’s trying to encourage the English to forget that they are the only nation of the UK without a state? Why are Scottish people allowed to be Scottish, and have a political expression of that in their Parliament, but the English have to be happy with being British, and have to make do with a Parliament that is for all the residents of Britain?

It’s the old West Lothian Question in another guise. And it’s bound to get worse after the next election when the result delivers not only a Conservative majority in Parliament but a Conservative majority in England. Or even if it doesn’t deliver a Conservative majority in Parliament, they are almost certain to get a majority in England anyway.

And yet the British Parliament deals with all English business, much of which is heavily influenced by the votes of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs.

But how is this going to fare for Cameron? How will he be able to govern as the Prime Minister of Britain when they are likely to be overwhelmingly rejected at the Scottish ballot box? Will we see Cameron accepting his lack of authority over the whole United Kingdom? In truth, that is exactly what the Scottish National Party want. Even better if the election result is a hung Parliament, and Alex Salmond gets to extract not only a referendum on independence, but a binding one as a payback for giving power to Cameron.

Brown recognises how important it is for the English to remain subjugated. They must not, under any circumstances, be allowed to establish a political identity: because the moment they do it will mark the end of the UK, and the end of Brown’s right to be Prime Minister. Alex Salmond knows this too: hence his support for an English Parliament. And he knows a political opportunity when he sees one.

There are many agendas in play over the question of Englishness and Britishness. Some of them genuine, some of them cynical. Suffice it to say that as far as our leading politicians go, none of them have a genuine, principled, reason to resolve this issue in any useful way.

Instead, it is merely used as yet another political football to score points against each other.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

(This post owes much to Simon Lee at Hull University)


3 Responses to “Brown’s British Problem”

  1. j lilburn said

    To use an analogy to explain Brown’s rule of England (sorry if you have already seen this):

    Dear English Football Association

    As a representative of the Scottish Football Association, I would like to inform you that we wish to change the way the English Football team is managed to bring it more in line with the way our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is running Britain.

    This will involve the following:

    1. The Manager of the Scottish team is allowed to be involved with the running of the English team. However, the manager of the English team should have no say whatsoever in the running of the Scottish team. This shall be known as the West Lothian Question.

    2. A sizeable proportion of any money the English Football Association raises from, say sponsorship or crowd takings, shall be given to the Scottish Football Association, regardless as to whether you need it or not. This does not apply the other way round. This is known as the Barnett Formula.

    3. You are not to call yourself England any longer. You will now be known as the British Regions. We, on the other hand, are still to be known as Scotland, “a proud and noble nation”.
    4. Medical treatment to your players will be limited to a few treatments because of cost. No such stringent limitation applies to Scotland.

    5. If your playing surfaces are flooded, then do not expect much assistance. However, Scottish pitches will be adequately provided for in the event of flooding.

    6. From this moment on, the English Football Association will cease to exist. However, the Scottish Football Association will be allowed to continue to work independently.

    A failure to follow these rules will see you branded as arrogant, selfish and unfair.

    I’m sure you will find this to your satisfaction. After all, you seem to be happy with this state of affairs with your political system, so why not your Football team?

    Yours sincerely

    Mr G Brown.

    PS You English are so naïve, you are being abolished and don’t even realise it.

  2. Terry said

    At PMQs 17/6/09 Gordon Brown challenged Cameron…

    “They [the Tories] should go back to their constituencies and explain how many police, how many nurses, how many doctors, how many teachers they would cut for policies that are in the interests not of the many but in their case in the interests of the few.”

    It sounds like a fair point, except that if Brown was to do the same, his constituents would tell him he doesn’t represent them (ergo no mandate) for any of these issues. In fact he doesn’t represent ANYONE in these areas!

    What I don’t understand is why Cameron didn’t nail him. I realise that Cameron considers England to be full of “sour little Englanders”, but he’s also a politician and they have been known in the past to use anything at their disposal, why didn’t he use this?

    • Perhaps Cameron is a subscriber to the Lord Irvine school of thought who once remarked that the best answer to the West Lothian Question is to stop asking it.

      If Cameron really is a Unionist, and I don’t doubt he is, then it’s not really in his interest to stir up the issue.

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