It’s a well known fact that the British government distributes our taxes unfairly, subsidising Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at England’s expense but that sort of thing wouldn’t happen with charity would it? The answer, of course, is yes.
Figures released by the Big Lottery Fund show that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland receive significantly more funding than England – as much as three times more if you live in Northern Ireland.
The average lottery funding per head in England is just £9.46 compared to £13.49 in Wales, £25.27 in Scotland and £31.33 per head in Northern Ireland. There is a Big Lottery budget for the UK as a whole as well but no figures have been released for this fund so it’s not currently possible to tell whether this disparity is replicated in the UK-wide budget.
A spokesperson for the Big Lottery Fund has tried to justify spending so much more on Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by saying that grants are given based on population and deprivation. England’s population is 5 times that of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined and parts of England are the most deprived in the whole UK but England received just a third of the funding Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland got. They also cite a one-off award for £49m to the Life Changes Trust as a reason for the disparity in funding this year but previous years’ figures show that England has always received less funding per head that the rest of the UK.
Some will no doubt point to the money the British government took from the lottery to pay for the London Olympics and claim that it was lottery money given to England but the Olympics weren’t English and the lottery money has to be paid back (eventually) by a corporation owned by the Mayor of London. It was an expropriation of Lottery funds by the British government, not a grant by the Big Lottery Fund.
The Big Lottery isn’t the only charity to unfairly allocate extra funding to the other member states of the UK. The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal diverts funding to Scotland whilst allowing Poppyscotland, who it merged with, to keep all the money it raises for itself, for example. There are many other charities that have Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and British arms but that’s a topic for future discussion.
Facebook have informed me this evening that I’m temporarily banned from posting for 12 hours because someone reported one of my comments as abusive.
The offending comment was in response to a question posed on the Politics UK page asking whether people on benefits who drink and smoke excessively should have their benefits cut. It said:
Give them non-transferable food vouchers. I don’t go to work to pay for other peoples’ fags and booze.
Someone has taken exception to this comment and reported it. At first I was just annoyed at the fact my account could be suspended automatically just because some whining lefty clicked the report button. Then I discovered that actually, all these abuse reports are vetted by a real person so it was actually a conscious decision by a whining lefty at Facebook instead and that’s pissed me off.
My comment was in context, it wasn’t rude, it wasn’t abusive, it wasn’t threatening and it wasn’t “hate speech”. Facebook seemingly does absolutely nothing about the spammers and fraudsters that infest the site despite the fact they can be spotted a mile off when you see them in group membership requests. I report every single one of the spammers that I find yet I often see requests from the fake friends of the fake profiles to the same group days later.
I’ve been on Facebook since the early days when it was first opened up to non academics but it’s lost most of its appeal these days. This has prompted me to do what I’ve been planning to do for a while – lock down my account and cull my friends list, I’m going to stick to Twitter and Google+ from now on.
Tory MP Michael Fabricant has called for a new Act of Union to establish the principal of institutional discrimination against England in constitutional law.
Fabricant wants a new Act of Union which will ban British MPs elected in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from voting on devolved matters in England, only allowing British MPs elected in England to vote on them. This would make an English Parliament unconstitutional, explicitly denying equal rights for the people of England.
Mark Wallace, the executive editor of Conservative Home, has written an article Michael Fabricant is right, we must give political equality to England in which he explains how England shouldn’t be given equality by refusing to create an English Parliament with the same powers as the Scottish Parliament but should instead settle for the unworkable fudge that is English Votes on English Laws (EVoEL).
Wallace (who claims to be an avowed libertarian) is typical of the British nationalist Tories – opinion polls show that a majority of people want an English Parliament but because that’s not the Tory way of thinking it has to be opposed. That’s certainly not libertarian thinking.