Prince Charles, protests at St Paul's and Samoa's missing dayby Prospect / November 16, 2011 / Leave a comment
A ballgown and cape belonging to the late Elizabeth Taylor on display at Christie’s in London. The collection of Taylor’s clothes will be auctioned in New York during December
The prospect of more Scottish devolution has prompted a new surge in English nationalism at Westminster. The chairman of the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP), Eddie Bone, has met with some 20 MPs since September. CEP is officially a cross-party organisation, and enjoys the support of both Frank Field and Lord Glasman of Labour. But its closest contacts are with the Conservatives. Those at CEP say that they (and any Tory MPs who express an interest) are coming under intense pressure from “the very top”—Cameron’s office—to drop the cause.
Prospect understands that Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, is one Tory supporter. David Davis, already a focus of rebellion against Cameron, is said to favour an English parliament and Alan Duncan, the international development minister, has suggested there should never again be a Scottish prime minister in Downing Street. But will the Tories be outflanked on this? Angry at what it sees as pressure from Conservative high command, CEP has begun working with Ukip, the strongly Eurosceptic party which, Prospect has learned, is soon to adopt the policy of backing an English parliament. Meanwhile, Bone says he has access to a database of potential supporters running into “the hundreds of thousands.”
The growing campaign worries Conservative HQ because there is a tactical case for separation. Tories know that they would win general elections much more easily without Scotland: even when the Tories lost the 2005 election, they won the most votes in England.
The following year, Michael Portillo, the liberal, “modernising” forerunner to Cameron, revealed the thinking in some sections of the party, when he said in under-noticed comments to the BBC’s Andrew Neil: “From the point of political advantage, the Conservatives have a better chance of being in government if Scotland is not part of the affair.” Pressed on this point, he added: “You are continuing to assume the Union is sacrosanct. That is not an assumption I make any more.”
Prince Charles and St Paul’s
Does Prince Charles privately support the forced eviction of the anti-capitalist protesters at St Paul’s? Senior church officials have told Prospect that the conservative-minded Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, boasted of the support of the Prince of Wales in wanting the…