Monday, 10 May 2010

John Redwood 'speaks for England'

Sometimes, one can forget that the full name of our party is the Conservative & Unionist Party. Certainly, that ailment appears to have befallen John Redwood, who has used his blog to attack Gordon Brown's legitimacy due to his undented phalanx of Scottish MPs, arguing that it is time to 'speak for England'.

This kind of nationalist populism plays to the little-englander wing of the Conservative right, who are more than happy to proclaim 'victory in England' and use it as an attempt to justify power. Rubbish. We won in England in 2005 by some counts, but nobody was then arguing it amounted to much - our national performance was risible. There are some issues surrounding England's place in the union due to the legislative imbalance created by devolution, but that does not change the nature of a United Kingdom election - that it is in fact a United Kingdom general election. Regardless of who votes for what, whoever can form a parliamentary majority in the UK Commons.

If the Conservative & Unionist Party didn't break through in Scotland, that's our problem, not Gordon Brown's. Our position in Scotland (and Northern Ireland) is lamentable currently but it should not be used as an excuse to abandon a fundamental principle of the party - unionism. David Cameron's commitment to the union may provide another line of attack for the paleocons who are after his scalp - unionists in the party should not let it.

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