The English Labour Network has launched and articles so far provide compelling justification for a new England made up of regional assemblies.
Councillor Peter Lamb of Crawley Council puts it best: “Westminster is trying to run far too much”. It’s true. Freed from the arcane practices of the British Parliament, Welsh devolution has led to a number of pioneering initiatives, from the Plastic Bag Levy, the soft opt-out scheme for organ donation and the prescribing of cannabis-based medicine Sativex – all of which has led to the initiatives being adopted elsewhere in the UK.
Labour’s support is weaker amongst those voters who identify more strongly as English than British.
We long for the day that the only coverage of the flag of St George is a fascist march calling for an encore of England’s shameful colonial past.
The closest England has come to a fresh, patriotic meaning was when Baddiel and Skinner released their self-deprecating Three Lions, and they were hardly seen as intellectual figures at the time (although, Frank Skinner later penned a brilliant autobiography, and David Baddiel presents the odd programme on Radio 4).
Sign them up, Cllr Tom Beattie. Get Billy Bragg to change the lyrics to that great song of his and you’ve got yourself a campaign song. Surely, he’s found enough girls by now (note: he’s married). Maybe the typical, Avocado-splaying Glastonbury festival-goer might chant it when they get bored of the terribly monotonous White Stripes Seven Nation Army Jeremy Corbyn song.
I cannot agree with every detail of the English Labour Network’s seven-part mission statement – but it has backing from three Labour MPs already.
Sam Stopp’s English Labour Network does linger in the realm of pomposity, but behind the pseudo-intellectual political science-speak appealing to a very limited audience, is an entirely worthy cause.