News

Former appeal judge says legality of Brexit extension SHOULD be tested

A former appeal judge has said the legality of Theresa May's delay to Brexit should be tested in a court.

Sir Richard Aikens, who sat in the Court of Appeal from 2008 until 2015, spoke after the leader of the English Democrats political party launched a legal battle claiming that the UK has already left the EU. 

Britain was supposed to leave on March 29, but was granted an extension by the EU until April 12 at a meeting last in Brussels last month.

But The English Democrats leader Robin Tilbrook, as well as number of Tory Brexiteers, says the new exit date should have gone before the House of Commons and the House of Lords before it was approved.


Case to block Article 50 extension - Update 30.03.19

English Democrats bring the Case to get a Declaration that the UK has left the EU as of the 29th March 2019

 

This is our only chance to complete what we voted for in the EU Referendum!

We are serving the legal papers required to bring this case but we really need all the support that Leave supporters can give us to make sure that we can match the expensive legal muscle whom the Government and Remainers will instruct against us! 

Please help as generously as you can! 

There is a donate button on our website >>> EnglishDemocrats.Party/donate

Here are the draft Grounds:-

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

 

BETWEEN

 

THE QUEEN

ON THE APPLICATION OF THE ENGLISH DEMOCRATS

(REG. NO. 6132268)

Applicant

 

-and-

 

THE PRIME MINISTER (1)

 

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION (2)

Respondents

 

 

 

________________________________

 

GROUNDS OF THE APPLICATION

_________________________________

 

 

  1. It is submitted that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has left the European Union as of the 29th March 2019 after the expiry of its two year Notice to Leave dated 29th March 2017.

 

  1. Much of the relevant law has been explored and ruled upon by this Honourable Court and by the Court of Appeal and by the Supreme Court in the case of R (on the application of Miller and another) – v – Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC5. Consequently Parliament enacted the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.

 

  1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland joined the European Union pursuant to Treaty in 1972 and subsequently the European Union Act 1972 was enacted to give domestic legal force to the Treaty obligations to the European Union.

 

  1. The current overarching constitution of the European Union was reformed under the Lisbon Treaty which was brought into direct legal force in the United Kingdom pursuant to the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008.

 

  1. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty reads as follows:-

 

“Article 50 – Treaty on European Union (TEU)

 

  1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

 

  1. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

 

  1. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

 

  1. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

 

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 

  1. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asked to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

                          

  1. On the 23rd June 2016 the voters of the United Kingdom, by a majority, and the voters of England by a larger majority, voted, in the largest democratic mandate in the United Kingdom’s history, to leave the European Union.

 

  1. In accordance with the United Kingdom’s “Constitutional Requirements” Parliament enacted the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017. The Preamble to that Act states that it is:- “An Act to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU”

 

The Act provides:-

 

“1. Power to notify withdrawal from the EU

  • The Prime Minister may notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.”

 

  1. Pursuant to the statutory power granted by the European Withdrawal Act 2017 the Prime Minister duly served the Notice on 29th March 2017. That Notice expired on the 29th March 2019.

 

  1. Accordingly it is submitted that as of the scintilla temporis after the expiry of the said notice on the 29th March 2019, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has left the European Union.

 

  1. In the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 Parliament further enacted a transitional scheme whereby it proposed to transpose all EU law into a direct effect in the UK jurisdictions of Northern Ireland, Scotland and England and Wales. Much of that Act has not been brought into force. The Act mis-describes its implementation date as “exit day”. This is something of a misnomer since under the true construction of this Act it has no role, either purported or implicit, in determining the date of departure of the UK leaving the European Union. Within the meaning of the Act, “exit date” is merely the implementation date for the Act’s transactional arrangements.

 

  1. The Applicant is aware that there has been purported ministerial Regulation under the 2018 Act which may have been approved by resolution in both Houses. However even if it has, it is submitted that such a Regulation cannot of itself be in any way definitive of the UK’s actual departure from the European Union. The relevant wording of the Act makes this clear:-

 

“European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

 

An act to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other provision in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.

 

[26th June 2018]

 

1 Repeal of the European Communities Act 1972

 

The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day.

 

2 Saving for EU-derived domestic legislation

 

(1) EU-derived domestic legislation, as it has effect in domestic law immediately before exit day, continues to have effect in domestic law on and after exit day.

 

20 Interpretation

 

(1) In this Act—

 

“exit day” means 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m. (and see subsections (2) to (5));

 

(2) In this Act references to before, after or on exit day, or to beginning with exit day, are to be read as references to before, after or at 11.00 p.m. on 29 March 2019 or (as the case may be) to beginning with 11.00 p.m. on that day.

 

(3) Subsection (4) applies if the day or time on or at which the Treaties are to cease to apply to the United Kingdom in accordance with Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union is different from that specified in the definition of “exit day” in subsection (1).

 

(4) A Minister of the Crown may by regulations—

 

(a) amend the definition of “exit day” in subsection (1) to ensure that the day and time specified in the definition are the day and time that the Treaties are to cease to apply to the United Kingdom, and

 

(b) amend subsection (2) in consequence of any such amendment.”

 

  1. Despite the express wording of the European Union (Notification f Withdrawal) Act 2017, expressly only empowering the Prime Minister to give Notice to withdraw the United Kingdom from the EU, the Prime Minister has purported to request an extension of the Article 50 date for departure and subsequently purported to agree an extension to the date of departure.

 

  1. It is submitted, in accordance with long and high authority of legal precedents and also recently and comprehensively in R (on the application of Miller and another) – v – Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC5 that, statute fully displaces any residual prerogative powers.

 

  1. In the premises the only power that the Prime Minister had, as regards Article 50, was the service of the Notice withdrawing the United Kingdom from the EU and giving two years notice. That power was functus officio on the 29th March 2017. Accordingly, her purported request for an extension of the date of departure and the Government’s purported agreement to such an extension is and was unlawful and is and was null and void.

 

  1. In the premises the Applicant seeks a Declaration from this Honourable Court that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland left the European Union upon the expiry of the Article 50 Notice on the 29th March 2019.

 

 

 

 

Statement of Fact

 

I believe that the facts in these Grounds are true.

 

 

 

Signed …………………………………           Dated ……………………..

           Robin Charles William Tilbrook


Latest Twist in Brexit Parliamentary Fiasco

Latest twists in the Brexit Parliamentary fiasco and about the case to stop any extension to Article 50

Following the latest twists in the Brexit Parliamentary fiasco and my previous blog article about the case to stop any extension to Article 50 except by a full Act of Parliament, I have written again to the Government’s lawyers as follows:-

 

Mr Jonathan Stowell

c/o Government Legal Department

 

Dear Sir

 

Re:  Proposed Action

        English Democrats – v - the Secretary of State for Exiting the          

        European Union

 

We refer to the above matter and to our letter of 20th March.  We note that, since that letter was dictated, the Prime Minister has written a letter to the President of the European Council, Mr Donald Tusk, formally asking for an extension of the Article 50 Notice period.  This request for an extension has been made without the authorisation of an Act of Parliament. 

Ministers, including the Prime Minister, only have official power either on the basis of Statutory powers or on the basis of Royal Prerogative powers. 

A long line of legal authority, including the Gina Miller case, has repeatedly reaffirmed that the Prerogative powers only exist in the absence of Statutory powers.  The only relevant Statutory power was that set out in the EU Withdrawal Act 2017, which gave the Prime Minister power to serve a Notice to terminate the UK’s membership of the EU. 

It follows that on the face of it, the Prime Minister’s request for an extension is illegal. 

Also any agreement for an extension which might have been agreed by the European Council is also without any Statutory authority. 

We thought it only proper to raise these points in the light of on-going developments, especially in view of your not having fully responded to our initial Letter before Claim. 

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

Tilbrook’s


Case to block Article 50 extension - Update 22.03.19

Latest twists in the Brexit Parliamentary fiasco and about the case to stop any extension to Article 50

 

Following the latest twists in the Brexit Parliamentary fiasco and my previous blog article about the case to stop any extension to Article 50 except by a full Act of Parliament, I have written again to the Government’s lawyers as follows:-

 

Mr Jonathan Stowell

c/o Government Legal Department

 

Dear Sir

 

Re:  Proposed Action

        English Democrats – v - the Secretary of State for Exiting the          

        European Union

 

We refer to the above matter and to our letter of 20th March.  We note that, since that letter was dictated, the Prime Minister has written a letter to the President of the European Council, Mr Donald Tusk, formally asking for an extension of the Article 50 Notice period.  This request for an extension has been made without the authorisation of an Act of Parliament. 

 

Ministers, including the Prime Minister, only have official power either on the basis of Statutory powers or on the basis of Royal Prerogative powers. 

 

A long line of legal authority, including the Gina Miller case, has repeatedly reaffirmed that the Prerogative powers only exist in the absence of Statutory powers.  The only relevant Statutory power was that set out in the EU Withdrawal Act 2017, which gave the Prime Minister power to serve a Notice to terminate the UK’s membership of the EU. 

 

It follows that on the face of it, the Prime Minister’s request for an extension is illegal. 

 

Also any agreement for an extension which might have been agreed by the European Council is also without any Statutory authority. 

 

We thought it only proper to raise these points in the light of on-going developments, especially in view of your not having fully responded to our initial Letter before Claim. 

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

Tilbrook’s

Support the legal case to stop extension to Article 50 http://englishdemocrats.party/donate


Lawyer starts case to block extension to article 50 notice

ENGLISH DEMOCRATS CHAIRMAN STARTS CASE TO BLOCK EXTENSION TO ARTICLE 50 NOTICE.

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Robin Tilbrook, the Chairman of the English Democrats and a Solicitor, has started a case to block the UK Government from extending the Article 50 Notice or revoking it without having to get an Act of Parliament.

 

 


What's the SNP playing at over Brexit?

WHAT’S THE SNP PLAYING AT OVER BREXIT?
Ever since its foundation, in 1927, the Scottish National Party has been loudly dedicated to getting Independence for Scotland from the Union of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

During the heady days of Alex Salmond’s leadership it looked as if it might actually achieve that ambition, but with Nicola Sturgeon it would appear that the SNP have lost their way. 

Rather like the questioning about why Theresa May was making such a poor job of Brexit (was it incompetence or duplicity?); we now have to ask the same question of Nicola Sturgeon and her leadership of the Scottish National Party about Scottish Independence and Brexit.

On Thursday last week Scottish Nationalist MPs proposed a resolution in the House of Commons to try to trigger Article 50 being revoked and thus to abort Brexit altogether.

This is a strikingly ironic and an apparently irrational thing for national ‘independence’ campaigners to do.  Not only are they trying to use Westminster parliamentary tricks to block the English Nation’s popular vote for independence from the EU, but also they are voting to block Scottish independence also. 

This last point needs explanation.  

During the Scottish Independence referendum, the then head of the European Commission, Mr Barosso, confirmed what numerous other EU figures had been saying, which was that Scotland leaving the UK would make Scotland automatically outside the EU.  

It follows that if the UK is kept within the EU Scotland cannot become independent of the UK without leaving the EU.  However, if the UK leaves the EU and Scotland then leaves the UK, Scotland could apply to become an “Accession State” to the EU.  

Instead the SNP are now trying to block the UK leaving the EU which shows either a startling degree of incompetence, or that their policy on Scottish independence is mere duplicity. 

In weighing up which you think it is, it may be worth considering Nicola Sturgeon’s remarks in saying that she doesn’t like the word ‘national’ in Scottish National Party’s name, to see whether you think that the Scottish National Party is still sincerely committed to Scottish independence or whether it is just parasitically hag-riding the support of duped Scottish Nationalists as yet another Internationalist, Leftist party. 

Here is the BBC report of what Nicola Sturgeon said: -

“Nicola Sturgeon has said she wishes she could turn the clock back and change the Scottish National Party's name.

The SNP leader admitted the word "national" could be "hugely problematic" during a debate at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

She was speaking with Turkish author Elif Shafak, who said the word had a "negative meaning" to her.

However, the first minister insisted her party was about self government and was not insular.

Ms Shafak, who was wrongly accused of public denigration of Turkishness for her novel The Bastard Of Istanbul, told the audience at the sold-out event: "Coming from Turkey, seeing the experiences there, not only in Turkey, across the Middle East, the Balkans, for us for instance the word nationalism is, for me personally, has a very negative meaning because I've seen how ugly it can get, how destructive it can become, how violent it can become and how it can divide people into imaginary categories and make them lose that cultural coexistence.

"Whereas when I come here, I hear the word nationalism being used in a different way and I felt that, can nationalism ever be benign? Can it ever be a benevolent thing? So, there is a part of me that doubts that very much."

In response, Ms Sturgeon admitted: "The word is difficult."

She said: "If I could turn the clock back, what 90 years, to the establishment of my party, and choose its name all over again, I wouldn't choose the name it has got just now, I would call it something other than the Scottish National Party.

"Now people say why don't you change its name now? Well that would be far too complicated. Because what those of us who do support Scottish independence are all about could not be further removed from some of what you would recognise as nationalism in other parts of the world.

"Two things I believe that I think run so strongly through the Scottish independence movement are firstly that it doesn't matter where you come from, if Scotland is your home and you live here and you feel you have a stake in the country, you are Scottish and you have as much say over the future of the country as I do. And that is a civic, open, inclusive view of the world that is so far removed from what you would rightly fear.

"Secondly one of the great motivators for those of us who support Scottish independence is wanting to have a bigger voice in the world, it's about being outward looking and internationalist, not inward looking and insular.

"So the word is hugely, hugely problematic sometimes for those of us who ...but Scottish independence is about self-government, it's about running your own affairs and making your own mark in the world.

"So yes words do matter but I think we can't change the connotations that the word has in other parts of the world, what we have to do is just demonstrate through words of our own, through deeds, through actions, through how we carry ourselves, that we stand for something completely different to all of that."

Here is a link to the original report>>>https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-40975105

So what do you think?  Is the SNP's policy on Brexit incompetent or duplicitous?


Spring Conference 9th March 19


Could Young Fabian Socialists become English Nationalists?-

COULD YOUNG FABIAN SOCIALISTS BECOME ENGLISH NATIONALISTS?

 
What I have reproduced below is a speech given by the former Labour Cabinet Minister and long-serving MP for Southampton and now Professor at Winchester University in the Centre for English Policy Studies, John Denham. 
 
John Denham is an intelligent and eloquent man, but his politics are highly Labour Party political partisan. 
 
As the speech shows he is fully alive to the risk to the Labour Party’s future of the fact that the English are becoming more nationally self-aware and that English nationalism is awakening. 
 
In the main his analysis is good although his agenda is unattractive to any real English nationalist.  He wants English nationalism to become multi-cultural and therefore in effect cease to be nationalism. The English are to be told in the words of John Prescott “there is no such nationality as English”!   
His recipe is really therefore an argument that Labour should be more effectively deceitful about England and the English Nation than they are currently being!
 
It is a good example of John Denham’s partisan unreliability, lack of objectivity, that despite having met me and quite a few other English Democrats on a number of occasions, he is unwilling to openly admit that there is a campaigning English nationalist party!   
It is also deceitful of him to only quote the BBC’s survey which showed many people saying that they are both English and British.  Whereas the much larger and much more authoritative survey, the National Census in 2011, showed that 60.4% of English people identified as only English and not British!
 
The speech will however, I think, be interesting to anybody who cares at all about England and the English Nation. 
Robin Tilbrook
Chairman - English Democrats
 
Here is what John Denham said:-


English identity and Labour

This is the text of a talk given to the Young Fabians in Westminster on 8th January 2019.

Thank you for the invitation to talk about English identity. The Young Fabians have led the way in addressing the issue, including your recent suggestion that Labour should support an English Parliament. But in my view it is still too rare and unusual for any part of the Labour Party to organise a discussion about England and English identity.
 
Because this is the really interesting thing: England and the English are an ever-present component of our national culture and our politics. But England – as England – is barely mentioned in the national political debate; it is only occasionally addressed in the national culture of the establishment. And if English identity is mentioned, it is to be disparaged and abused.
 
There is now a fair amount of data about English identity, but the quality of academic work – particularly on what people mean when they say they are English – is woefully poor. This allows lazy writers to ascribe to the English dreams of Empire, entrenched racism, or rural idyllic romanticism. They project whatever prejudice takes their fancy unencumbered by troublesome facts.
 
Despite this, we know more about English identity than many might think. And, of course, those of us who spent a long time talking and listening with English identifiers in our constituencies have plenty of insights ourselves.
 
The cost of ignoring England and English has been high. If you are a Remainer the cost is paid in the overwhelmingly English decision to Leave. If you are Labour, the cost is paid in the failure to win votes in English places and amongst English people who were once proud to be Labour. If you want a multi-cultural society shaped by tolerance, inclusion and shared values, the cost is paid by our failure to strengthen the versions of Englishness that meet that challenge and in the persistence in a minority of an ethnicised and racist national identity
 
Above all, if we want to see a radical and progressive transformation of our economy and society to serve the common good, we pay the price in a divided nation, within a divided union, in which the ‘many’ Labour wants to stand for, is too divided and disparate to bring about change.
 
Engaging with England and Englishness is not a quaint cultural diversion. It’s central to the possibilities of progressive change.
 
Nationally (in England) about 80% say they are strongly English; and 80% strongly British.
 
As those figures make clear, most people who live in England say they are English AND British to some degree. The largest group (around 35-40%) are equally English and British. But either side of this there are rather more ‘more English’ than are ‘more British’ – about 3:2 in most surveys.
 
One striking thing is that, in most Labour meetings, there are few who say they are more English than British, and many who are more British than English. There is no ‘must’ about national identity; no sense that people should feel English. But it is very important to be aware when the identities of those in our own party are out of step with many of the people who we want to vote for us.
National identities are about far more than flags and football. In the classic academic description, they are ‘imagined communities’: that set of shared  stories, histories, culture, values and symbols that enable us to feel a sense of common identity with people we have never met.
 
But they are also offer world views; stories, narratives that help us make sense of the world as we experience it. And in a nation where multiple identities are common, people will emphasise the identity, or the mix of identities that make most sense of our own experience.
 
People who identify as more English are also more likely to be rooted within England -that is they are more likely to also identify with a town, city or region of England. They are though, much less likely than British identifiers to see themselves as European.
 
The English are significantly more patriotic – not just about being English but about being British too. You won’t be surprised to know that the people who are more English than British are those most proud to be English. But they are also the most proud to be British!  People who are British not English are not particularly proud of being British.
 
These same is true about national characteristics. In the popular mind, there is virtually no difference about the extent to which British or English identities are seen to be open, welcoming tolerant, friendly, generous. But people who identify as English or English and British, are much more likely to associate both identities with these relatively positive characteristics, than do the people who say ‘I’m only British’.
 
In summary, as you move across the spectrum of identities, we move from people who are strongly rooted within England, towards those with weaker local and more strongly international identities; we move from those who are strongly patriotic to those who have less pride in any national identity; we move from those who associate national identities with positive values to those who are less likely to be positive about any national identity
 
And there is a final but very important point: the differ on attitudes to the governance of England, the union, our relationship with the union and people’s sense of political power.
 
The English are more likely to be dissatisfied with the way they are governed (though few people of any identity think they are well represented), they feel least able to influence politics and business, they are most likely to support an English parliament and certainly to want English MPs to make English laws, most strongly want to put England’s interests ahead of the union.  They most strongly feel the Barnett formula is unfair and have a far higher estimation of the importance of the EU in shaping domestic policy than do their peers in Wales or Scotland.
 
So, we can begin to see how the different world views expressed in these different identities are reflected in people’s political choices. Even though we don’t hear people say ‘I’m voting Leave’ because it is the ‘English’ thing to do, or ‘Labour’ because it is the ‘British’ thing to do, those choices do map strongly on to people’s sense of national identity.
 
For reasons we don’t entirely understand, Britishness rather than Englishness has emerged as the choice for those who are most comfortable and potentially successful in the world as it is; they are least attached to a sense of place, most open to other identities, less patriotic. Englishness is more rooted in place. We can, then, understand why the cultural impact of immigration is most keenly felt in those places where a rooted sense of belonging is most central to people’s idea of their own identity. And, of course, we find the ‘more English’ living outside the big cities, in the smaller towns, where people have seen social and economic change go against them.
 
In short, Englishness is felt most deeply in the places where Labour has been losing ground and needs to win.
 
Tonight, because I’m talking to Fabians, I’m concentrating on that Labour vote (many of whom now unfortunately vote Tory and have supported UKIP); a fuller discussion of English identity would also consider the more traditional Conservative English Leave voters; people who are often somewhat more prosperous than the stereo-typical ‘left behind’ working class voter, though they are no less disconcerted by social change and equally out of step with metropolitan values. They are, though, a harder reach for Labour as they are less likely to share the left of centre economic views of potential English Labour voters.
 
Let’s just think about those potential Labour voters. They are older, poorer, (though not necessarily the poorest) more working-class, have spent less-time in higher education, are more economically precarious, and least likely to think it is worth voting at all.
 
If the Labour Party does not exist to work with them to change the world, I’m not sure why we do exist. Yet we are struggling amongst them. And we don’t even talk to them.
 
At this point, many on the left say: ‘why do we have to engage with national identity of any sort?’ Why can’t we just have policies for older people, policies to improve skills, policies to end austerity, policies for towns and seaside resorts?’
 
In other words, why can’t we talk about everything except the way people talk about themselves!
 
Because these voters are English; they are proud to be English, (usually proud to to be British too). If Labour is not palpably proud to be an English party; palpably proud to be British too; then we send a rather clear message: ‘we are not people like you’.
 
Indeed, many hear the message as ‘we are Labour and we don’t actually like people like you, even though we would like you to vote for us’. Fat chance. And of course, many will not even listen to our policies because most voters look for a party they can identify with BEFORE they will listen to its policies.
 
People who want to talk about policy not identity are often deliberately trying to avoid the difficult conversations: with people who are more socially conservative, with people who are more worried about migration. People who, in other words, don’t share the cosmopolitan values of the metropolitan graduates.
 
But that’s the central challenge in social democratic politics right across Europe. We can build a majority that wants to reform capitalism, that wants to make it the economy work for the common good. But only if we can unite those who are on the left economically: to do that we have to find common ground across the cultural issues that divided us.
 
So, that’s our challenge. To engage with voters who are
·      English
·      Patriotic
·      Socially conservative
·      On the left economically
·      Live disproportionately in key marginal seats
 
Our willingness to engage with English identity is a test of our willingness to engage with these voters. It’s a powerful symbol of being willing to listen. And it is evidence of a commitment to involve them fully in building a better society, not just promise to do things for them. It’s a clear sign that, for all our internationalism, building a strong, fairer nation is at the centre of our aims.
 
One of the common objections that is raised is that this is all about pandering to English nationalism.  In fact, English nationalism barely exists as a political idea or movement. It has no significant political party, no public intellectuals, no cultural movement or institutions.  Unless by nationalism you simply mean loving your country and hoping it will succeed and prosper – but on that basis, Ruth Davidson, most Scottish Tories and the whole of Scottish Labour are Scottish nationalists: which rather begs the question of what the SNP are!
 
People blame Brexit on English nationalism, but its leaders like Boris Johnson, Daniel Hannam, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage are British politicians who speak, not about England, but about Britain. They certainly have an Anglo-centric world view – only a Johnson who equates Britain and England could talk of ‘1000 years of history’ - but he tells Telegraph readers ‘it’s time to believe in our Greater Britain’.  
 
In short, it is wrong to equate Britain’s English ruling elite with the people of England.
 
The second problem group is with a different part of the elite. The anti-patriotic, cosmopolitan, British and definitely not English. Predominant in the media, much of politics, the business elite and academia, they disparage English identity as racist and xenophobic; blame the crime of empire exclusively on the English despite the enthusiastic participation of Scotland, Wales and at least some parts of Irish society in it. They, of course, are disproportionately found on the left and within Labour.
 
By dismissing English voters and English interests as English nationalism they aim to avoid engaging with England at all. They often claim that UKIP is an English nationalist party. Yet, the collapse in support for UKIP is not reflected in any fall in the strength of English identity. UKIP was a temporary home for English votes, not an expression of English interests. Brexit was a cry of pain from people who were not listened to, not people seeking a new imperial glory.
 
Of course, it is no coincidence that England and the English provided the bulk of the Leave vote. Only England – lacking a parliament or any national institutions of its own – has not had the chance to reimagine itself as a 21 stcentury nation in the way as Wales, Scotland and even Northern Ireland have had a chance to do as a result of democratic and constitutional changes.
 
And unlike the other devolved nations, the state has played no role in the development of national English identity. Some on the left like to contrast a civic, democratic Scottish identity with an ethnicised Englishness. But where did this come from? The differences between Scotland and England in attitudes towards minorities, immigration or the degree to which identities are ethnic can be greatly overstated – there is much less difference than most people think. But the different images owe a great deal to the active involvement of political leaders and the national (and also the UK) state in promoting the idea of a civic identity.
 
Nothing like that has happened in England. Neither the UK government nor the Opposition talks about England or plays any role in promoting an inclusive English identity.
 
From all of this, we can begin to see what our political strategy should be
 
Firstly, Labour should take a leading role in reinserting England in the national conversation. Yesterday (7 thJanuary) a plan was launched for the NHS, but in sharp contrast to what would happen in Wales and Scotland, little mention was made of the fact that it was for the English NHS. Nor did Labour’s response.
 
We have a national education service. For which nation? Clearly not for the devolved nations where they have their own policies. If it is a national education service for England, why don’t we want to say the name?
 
Secondly, Labour needs to have its own English identity, in our material, in our language, in actually celebrating St George’s Day, not just tweeting about four new bank holidays.
 
Thirdly, we need to grasp the need to England to have a national political identity including, in my view (this is not ELN policy) some form of English Parliament, or real EVEL within Westminster.
 
Fourth, we need to understand that it is the UK government that makes England such a centralized nation, and the UK government that concentrates resources and energy on London. Labour needs to go way beyond current commitments to devolve power with England – not as an alternative to English governance but as an integral part of it.
 
Finally, a Labour government should be willing to act, as the Scottish and Welsh governments do, in using the state to promote a patriotic, yet diverse and inclusive English identity.
 
None of this should be too difficult. But it would make a real difference.

UK criticised in Council of Europe sharia warning

The UK - along with Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey - was criticised in a hard-hitting resolution adopted by the 47-nation Council of Europe raising concerns that rulings of Sharia councils 'clearly discriminate against women in divorce and inheritance cases'. It calls on the UK to make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to register their marriages civilly before or at the same time as their religious ceremony. 

Article from The Law Gazette:

The body that oversees the European Convention on Human Rights has named the UK - along with Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey - in a hard-hitting resolution highlighting conflicts between sharia law and universal human rights. A measure adopted last night by the 47-nation Council of Europe raises concerns about the role of sharia councils in family, inheritance and commercial law.

Rulings of sharia councils 'clearly discriminate against women in divorce and inheritance cases', the resolution states. It calls on the UK to make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to register their marriages civilly before or at the same time as their religious ceremony. 

The resolution was passed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which meets four times a year to set the agenda of the Council of Europe. It notes with 'great concern' that three member states, Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey, have endorsed explicitly or implicitly, the 1990 Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam.

The assembly is also 'greatly concerned' about the fact that sharia, including provisions that contravene the European Convention on Human Rights, is applied either officially or unofficially in member states. In the UK, 'sharia councils attempt to provide a form of alternative dispute resolution, whereby members of the Muslim community, sometimes voluntarily, often under considerable social pressure, accept their religious jurisdiction mainly in marital and Islamic divorce issues, but also in matters relating to inheritance and Islamic commercial contracts,' the resolution states.

It welcomes recommendations put forward in last year's independent report into the application of sharia in England and Wales and calls on the UK to ensure councils operate within the law 'especially as it relates to the prohibition of discrimination against women, and respect all procedural rights'. It sets a deadline of June 2020 for the UK to report back on reviewing the Marriage Act to make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to register their marriages civilly, as is required for Christian and Jewish marriages.  

The Law Gazette can be found by clicking the link below:-

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/uk-named-in-council-of-europe-sharia-warning/5068976.article?utm_source=dispatch&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=%20GAZ141016

 


-->