Sunday, 3 April 2011

Back to "The English Problem". (The case of Team GB)

I have recently  written on this Blog on the "The English Problem" ,and how I believe this should replace the term the "West Lothian Question" when looking at the effects of Devolution, and the natural feeling amongst people in England, that they are suffering from a democratic deficit, in thatthe Celts can make laws for Wales,Scotland &Northern Ireland in their legislatures and still vote on laws which only affect England.

This a problem which must be addressed:But if it the solution as some propose  an "English Parliament"  then those backing it must realise that will be a partner in the UK and not the sole voice.

In an article in todays Independent on Sunday (IOS) Paul Newman writes an article entitled "Celts fail to embrace spirit of the Games"  inadvertently shows us the difficulties of Federal Union of Equals.

In this he attacks the F A's  of   Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland for not supporting the creation of a combined GB for the under 23 soccer  team for the 2012 Olympics. To his credit he does write that.

"Maybe football should not be a part of the Games – a personal view is that they should feature only those sports for which the Olympics is the pinnacle – but at least football has come up with a format that differentiates it from other competitions, even if the presence of three over-age players in a tournament for under-23 players somewhat defeats the object". 

So he is not guilty of misleading people by omission (as many of his London colleagues have ) in that this would be international competition.  and we would see the International Stars playing. (and how many other Olympic sports have an age limit?) but he fails to appreciate real problem that such a precedent  could lead to . He may dismisss the notion that the sides would eventually  be forced by FIFA to combine permanently at all levels and he cant see the arrogance of the English FA in saying they will provide a side regardless of the views of the other Home Nations.

And that is the real problem the English FA clearly feel that the other governing bodies are not their equals and that they can make such a decision to side an English side as Team GB  and invite players from the other countries to play in their so called GB side regardless of the stance of their governing bodies.

And this is the problem with Federalism. It would only work if an English Parliament were to acknowledge it was on the same par as the other devolved powers which may happen but would take time and the English FA example shows that there would be reluctance. Though perhaps the very nature of creating a English parliament might leds to an acceptance of such a position

Perhaps the answer would beto devolve power within England, but. Is sense the mood in England is more towards  a Parliament. (Except in Cornwall of course).

But as Newman has shown whether the rights or wrongs of a Team GB under 23 team for 2012 the voice of England whilst it must be heard is not the only one that should be listen to.


  1. Glyngeddau,

    It's just English arrogance......once again.

  2. In the affairs of England it is the only voice that should be listened to.

    As per the Team GB - I understand that your FA's were given the opportunity to participate but refused; which left the English FA to carry the team alone. Not a very good basis for accusing the English of speaking out of turn.

    God forbid that the voice of 50 million should count for anything if the voice of 5 million or less should oppose them.

  3. Totally agree with Anonymous. Also when team GB came home from the last Olympics, the English medalists who were the majority, celebrated and took credit as British athletes - there were no separate celebrations for being English winners whereas the handful of Scots who won medals were paraded up and down the streets of Scotland as Scottish Athletes. Can imagine the complaints if the English members had splintered off in this way.
    I would say England being on a par with the other nations of the UK (except England isn't a nation of course) is a long way off. We'd love to be treated as equals. Why should England be devolved within? We want an English parliament and why except in Cornwall? I live in Cornwall and very much want to see England as one nation, not regions, with it's own parliament making decisions in our interests and ours alone just like elsewhere in the UK.

  4. What you are possibly unaware of is the fact that the 'English' FA is very British, rather than English, in its outlook (and don't be fooled by the St George's flag flying near the statue of Bobby Moore just outside Wembley Stadium, where they have their offices)

    From the moment London won the bid to host the Olympics, the FA has been doing the bidding of the Brit establishment without so much as a murmur of complaint.

    This is typical British, rather than English, arrogance. As an English nationalist, I have every sympathy with the views of the FAs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. I wouldn't want to see the England team consigned to history, and would give a permanent 'U'K team zero support, just as I'll give the Olympic team zero support. Just to show how arrogant the FA is, it ignored the official England supporters organisation, who were against the Olympic team from day one, just like all the other national supporters groups from the 'U'K.

    As for an English Parliament, should it happen, it wouldn't be allowed to become the dominant voice, because it would be given no more powers than any other devolved parliament (and devolution acts allow for the Brit parliament to take back what they give).

  5. I think anon of 05.53 has rather missed the point of this piece!

    What irks me about the coverage of the GB team saga in the London press is the assumption (as you rightly point out) that the FA can somehow override the wishes of the other three assocations, to the extent of considering a 'black-leg' team i.e.non-English players being invited against the wishes of their associations.

    Haven't they noticed that the SFA is starting to use stronger language - that Scottish players would be guilty of 'treachery' if they accept invitations to play?

    We could well see a black-leg team (if constituted) playing against a backdrop of abuse and threats, death threats even. Can't the halfwits see that?


  6. Celts? That seems a rather racist assertion (ancient WHITE tribes) - and totally inaccurate!