The post entitled English knives out for Brown kicked off the biggest debate yet on this blog with 17 comments so far - most of them fairly uncomplimentary to me and/or Gordon!
Meanwhile Inamicus picked up on the question of whether an English parliament would benefit the North-East - a subject well worthy of consideration on its own.
Perhaps given your previous pro-regional views you might like to expand on how a region like the North East might stand to gain from an English Parliament dominated by the interests of London and the SE (i.e. the status quo), as I've yet to hear this explained by the pro-EPers ;)
It's a good question, and a fair one, given my past record of support for an elected North-East Assembly as the best way of tackling that region's economic and social problems.
Basically, the answer lies in the funding system used to allocate resources between the four constituent parts of the UK, known in Whitehall circles as the Barnett Formula.
Drawn up in the late 70s when Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were the most deprived parts of the UK, it awards each of them a higher proportion of spending than either their population or tax-take would otherwise merit, meaning spending-per-head levels are far higher in those areas.
In other words, taxpayers in England are currently subsidising the cost of providing a higher standard of public services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland than is available in our own country.
Were an English Parliament to be set up, it would necessitate a fundamental review of the formula which would see all four nations and regions treated on the same basis.
The ending of cross-border subsidies would be worth approximately £2bn to England which, if redistributed pro-rata across the eight English regions, would boost government spending in the North-East by around £100m a year.
This may seem a relatively small sum in the context of regional spending overall, but in the North-East it would probably make the difference between being able to fund vital economic development projects such as the A1 dualling and not.
In my view the degree of hostility towards an English Parliament that undoubtedly exists in the North-East is largely down to a fear that it would be perpetually dominated by Tories rather than a clear-headed assessment of the potential economic benefits.
It is, however, at least arguable that the North-East does better out of Tory Governments, given that Labour has shown an alarming tendency over the years to take voters in that region for granted.