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If we ignore for the moment the current figures, there are exactly the same arguments for an English Parliament (EP) as there were for a Scottish one. The strongest one is that polices which are not wanted by the English are being imposed because of the Labour majority in Westminster depends on their Scottish MPs.

This problem has long been recognised but sidelined within Labour as it is to their advantage. It was after all Tam Dayall who first raised the West Lothian question. The current situation is entirely down to their short-termism as after all they should have reached both a settlement for England and held a Speakers Conference about the future of the House of Lords in their first term when the impetus was there.

Actually the Scots Nats have a practice which maybe should be adopted. They (and I think Plaid) do not vote on matters that relate exclusively to England. The interim solution would be to have an "English Grand Committee" in the same way as there used to be a Scottish one. The logical continuation, to a Parliament elected along similar lines to the Scottish one would then become obvious. Although London is the dual capital, there is no reason for the EP not to be located in, say Birmingham. I suggested that as the second largest city and it is a transport hub but there would obviously be other candidates.

As well as having nation-level laws, there is a stronger reason to go to that level rather than regional. That's actually part of the argument that was used above. While there are considerable infrastructure investments in London and the South-East, there is a net outflow of tax income. you can therefore turn the argument round as find the right wing complaining about subsidising the rest of the country and having to keep the "indolent North". There would of course be the option of having regional assemblies along the London lines as the mid-level unit. There would therefore be either EP-region-district(Borough in the case of London) or EP-County (as now)-district.

The sense surely is for all four nations to have their own parliaments with the same powers - i.e. reform the Assemblies - so that they all have the same ralationship with the UK Parliament. This would also leave the Commons to have much more time to properly scrtutinise legislation in front of it.

by Londonbear on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 06:06:42 PM EST
Hey London boy.

We can fix the tax outflow from London and the South East at exactly the same time we fix the power and water inflows.


by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 06:12:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And more seriously, much of the theoretical "tax outflow" is due to skewed measurements by London propagandists.

Just because a company HQ pays tax in the London region doesn't mean it earns it's profits there. Likewise, just because a company receives subsidies to run a railway line in the North of England doesn't mean that the money doesn't largely go into City Institutions and CEO pockets in London.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 06:22:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously the figures need to be neutrally audited but there is a logic in that the major stock and commodity exchanges generate "invisibles" and there is a much larger tourist income (and therefore tax paid) in the SE than in, say, Hull.

I agree the figures are always skewed by the protagonists - for example there was a counter-argument to the Scots Nats' complaint about North Sea oil revenue. As I understand it, the international boundary extends at 90 degrees from the coast at the border. That would have put many of the so-called "Scottish" oilfields within English territorial waters.

The London Assembly is effectively a restoration of the middle-tier authority that there used to be under the GLC and before that Middlesex and Surrey so perhaps should be taken out of the "regions" discussions. Cerainly the current boundaries make no sense at a federal region level. The M25 for example falls partly in and partly outside of the GLA area. Two of London's main airports are even further outside. You also get the question of the point income tax would be collected. Do you tax according to home or workplace?

These are the sorts of arguments that will run and run until there is agreement on a final form to pass laws that relate only to England. The danger in not addressing it is that the issue will be taken up by the Right (ie the Conservatives or people like the English National Party) who are likely to more blatently exploit the racist undertones inherent in nationalism.  That is why I suggested a Constitutional Convention or Speaker's Conference along the lines of that which drew up the draft of the Scottish settlement.

by Londonbear on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 08:07:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Local authorities already tax according to residence...

You can tax people by workplace by taxing their employer, and by residence by taxing them.

Each overlapping layer of governance with a democratically accountable government should have the power to tax and spend within its boundaries. Then you get redistribution of income at each level. Different levels of government would tax different things as they would have ready access to different kinds of information.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 08:14:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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