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This United Kingdom

by RogueTrooper Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 05:59:41 AM EST

Guardian:If it's English vote for English law, the UK's end is nigh


Helped along by the St George's crosses fluttering from every second car and the "Ingerlands" being chanted from pub pavements, the "English question" is back on the agenda. It goes way beyond the World Cup fever though - it's not about the strengths and weakness of the England football team. It is the old West Lothian Question rebranded - and it has still not been answered.

First asked in 1977 by the Labour backbencher Tam Dalyell, it has been rediscovered by every rightwing paper and pundit. The question is simple. Once powers have been devolved to the Edinburgh parliament over health, education or whatever, why should MPs sitting for Scottish seats be allowed to vote on such issues at Westminster? They are then making policy not for their constituents but for other people's. Is this not a question of fairness, and are the English not being given a raw deal?


More, after the break...

More countries to enter the EU? From the diaries - whataboutbob



In the view of rightwing commentators, the injustice is gross, cannot be tolerated much longer, and should provoke some kind of constitutional uprising by the English. It isn't only the commentators. David Cameron has put Ken Clarke in charge of drawing up the Tories' new constitutional proposals. Clarke has made it clear "English votes for English laws" is near the top of his agenda. Another former Tory home secretary, Lord Baker, has introduced a bill in the Lords to prevent MPs who don't represent English constituencies voting on matters devolved to other assemblies. Nearly 20 years on, apparently, this question cannot be ducked for much longer.

The first thing to be said about the English question is that it is almost entirely party political. If Scotland and England produced roughly the same proportion of Labour, Tory and Lib Dem MPs, nobody would bother discussing it. But with the Tories getting a majority of votes in England, its undercurrent is that the Conservatives are being cheated. If they got the majority of English seats, and a future Labour or Lib-Lab government was ruling on the basis of a majority dependent on Scottish or Welsh MPs, today's growing hubbub would turn into a full constitutional storm.


Are the Tories so desperate for power that they would tear the country apart? Quite probably. Intriguingly it would seem that it is Kenneth Clark, one the Conservative Party's most Europhilic ( and Euro supporting ) members who is wielding the knife.  Clearly they have not thought through the implications of this strategy.

So the first question they need to be asked is this: are you content to embark on this road? Are you so worked up about the English question that you are prepared to see Britain disappearing as a political union? Are you happy about where that leaves England's voting weight in the EU? Have you thought through the implications for a British presence on the UN security council? It should be said that since public spending is higher in Scotland, separation could mean lower English taxes and therefore many would cheer. But I have a strong suspicion that Cameron and the rest of the Tory frontbench would be horrified at all this. They must be smoked out now, before they have finally committed themselves.

The creation of the Scottish Parliament took the wind out of the independence movement's sails. However, I think that an Anti-Scottish backlash is coming. Expect the Tories to go full tilt when Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister.

I say to my Irish friends that I think Scotland is more likely to become an independent nation before Ireland becomes a unified one.

Display:
Thanks for diarying this! I saw it this morning and thought it really connects to some interesting issues, but I didn't have time.

Of course, as a resident of one of the oppressed provinces of the North, I have to say that once Scotland and Wales and NI go free we'll really be screwed. Permanent Tory government, focused on propping up the South East no matter what. Not another road, railway or even bridge built north of Watford Gap in England. It's not a pretty future.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:20:26 AM EST
How long until the oppressed North's independence movement leads to the rebirth of the Seven Kingdoms?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:29:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then you'll have to get the regional assemblies.

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 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes. Of course, given that by definition it will be a minority issue it make take some time to actually happen. Say, 100 years or so?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 09:18:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you so worked up about the English question that you are prepared to see Britain disappearing as a political union? Are you happy about where that leaves England's voting weight in the EU?
Whoa! these people really have no understanding of federalism.

English votes for English laws, and a single Head of State, Federal Government and Foreign Policy...

Or are the Tories going to end up joining the Europe of the Nations parliamentary group? That would actually make some political sense.

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 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:29:37 AM EST
The trouble is that England now has no English federal unit.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:30:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. But these tories still identify the UK with England, so they cannot imagine two distinct parliaments in London.

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 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:33:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think there are two issues here:

  1. The Tories haven't thought through the logical extent of their attitudes. i.e. Two parliaments is a logical outcome, but it's not something they have thought about.

  2. Maybe you underestimate the pressures that may occur in Scotland (maybe Wales too) to not participate in a federal state once all the options are on the table.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 09:21:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok on 1. On 2, I think it is the Tories that underestimate them.

The tories don't seem to be thinking very clearly on any issue. To them politics really is a game where they prize is 4 years to hold cuhy jobs.

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 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 10:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the original post, I see this...
A Tory administration overseeing English health, transport, education, social security and environmental policies would be so powerful it could not take orders on foreign affairs and taxation from a Labour Westminster government in charge of the last non-devolved issues.
It does seem problematic to have England as an undivided component. But, really, Greater London should be a federal district (New Labour restored the Mayor of London that Thatcher removed), and then maybe the North of England could try again to get a regional assembly?

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 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 10:25:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A federate England would be the best solution however I don't believe the debate is headed that way. There seems to be an upswing in both anti-Scottish sentiment from England and an upswing in Anti-English sentiment from the  Scots at the moment. Whether this bodes well for the future I am not sure. However, I do believe that matters are about to come to a head; quite possible as early as next year.

From The Scotsman: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=861712006


In the first of the meetings, both held last Monday, Mr McConnell is understood to have told Mr Blair that the SNP could do real harm to Labour in Scotland in 2007.

"This meeting was about updating the Prime Minister on the threat from the SNP and discussing the political strategy required to meet it," said one source yesterday.

Private Labour polling leaked last month suggested Labour could lose as many as 12 seats next year, jeopardising its control of the Executive.

While some Scottish Labour MPs and MSPs privately believe that Mr Blair has become a liability who should quit before May, Mr McConnell's aides insist he did not discuss the resignation issue with the Prime Minister.


The first thing the Scottish National Party will demand is a referendum on the Union. Something that will, at the very least, unnerve the Spanish government and send the Spanish right batshit crazy.


Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 10:36:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whether that reference to Spain is a snark or a Freudian slip, its brilliant.

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 Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 10:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have long advocated that something like this was inevitable.

Which is why the Labour party should have been making the running on some form of PR long ago. There is only an inbuilt tory advantagae under First past the post.

Trouble is that politicians can't see beyond the next electoral cycle, no strategy whatoever.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 12th, 2006 at 07:53:34 AM EST
The problem with this is that there are still many people in the labour party who cannot forgive the libdem's for abandoning the party and the country to Thatcher during the 80's

The time to push through these changes to the voting system were during the first election, but unfortunately Labour won it too well, and had no incentive to do anything about the voting system.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 03:26:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Labour and PR in the same sentence! Haha! So, what happened when you woke up?"

Seriously, though, I agree with what you say. Although I haven't studies FPTP closely, it seems New "Labour" only started winning when they became Tory Light. (Again, nothing that's news to anyone. Just padding my post a bit.)


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 12:34:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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 ]
It's all a clever plot to get more representation in Europe. If Britain breaks into four countries, it gets four votes (or whatever, depending on the voting system of the day) in the European Parliament.
by asdf on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 12:02:55 AM EST
No, voting weight wouldn't change in the Parliament, it would change in the Council.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 05:17:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... where the votes actually make a difference.

(Yes, I'm a cynic and once in a blue moon the Parliament actually seems to have some influence.)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 12:35:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what makes you think The Welsh, Scottish, English and Ulster governments would vote together?

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 05:34:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the UK split into two or more nations, would the resulting nations automatically be part of the EU?

I can certainly envisage England leaving the EU, or not applying for (re-)admission.  A lot of people outside England might see this as a good thing for the EU.

Also, the idea of an independent, self-governing Northern Ireland is quite worrying - given the total inability of the political forces there to work together so far.  Necessity might be the mother of invention, to take a very optimistic view.

by GreatGame2 (fishy_logic_at_yahoo.co.uk) on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 11:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party are both pro-Europe. Of the successor nations it is possible that England would quit the EU and remain in the European Economic Area, but not likely for the others.

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 Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 09:45:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The obvious answers to the West Lothian question are either devolved Home Rule all round or federalism, where every part of the UK has the same rights and powers.

The problem of the obvious solution is what to do with England. With 80% plus of the population an undivided England would be an over-mighty subject. How tempted would the English First Minister be to do to the UK Prime Minister what Boris Yeltsin did to Mikhail Gorbachev?

The Liberal Democrats have favoured a federal United Kingdom, with England being divided into regions so no state of the federation was too big for the health of the whole.

The Labour Party had a policy (proprietor in England John Prescott) to have a form of Home Rule all round, although the proposed English regions were to be weaker than the Welsh Assembly which was itself weaker than the Scottish Parliament. They managed to get devolution up and running in Scotland, Wales and London. Northern Ireland is a special case bit it got an assembly as well.

The Labour plan for rolling devolution stalled when North-East England, the most pro-devolution region of England, rejected an elected Assembly in a referendum. As far as I can see absolutely no further thought has gone into the problem since, from the Labour government.

The Conservative Party, once Mrs Thatcher ditched Heath era thoughts about devolution to Scotland and Wales, stood firmly in the NO camp for each successive devolution referendum.

The Conservatives have convinced a majority of English voters that a regional government composed of central government civil servants responsible to a UK Minister is democratic, whereas a regional executive responsible to a democratically elected Assembly is bureaucratic. This has I fear made both Labour and Lib Dem plans for regional devolution/federation untenable.

If there is to be an all-England governmental unit two models have been suggested.

The one the Tories seem to favour and which some Lib Dem MPs have supported is to use the English representatives in the House of Commons as in effect an English Parliament. This may work so long as the UK and English majorities are of the same party but would cause chaos if that was not the case. For one thing the UK Parliament controls the money that the devolved administration gets.

Would a UK majority be prepared to fund policies it opposes? Would there be different governments for the UK and England? If not how would a UK government, in an English minority, deal with a hostile Parliament when the normal conventions of responsible government could not operate as the government could not get its English business through the House and the English Parliamentary majority could not replace the UK government? If there were different governments we are back at the Yeltsin and Gorbachev situation.

A more satisfactory idea is to follow the Scottish model and create an English Parliament distinct from the UK one. If the new body (or preferably both) were elected by proportional representation, which the Conservatives would no doubt strongly oppose, it would be much less likely that you would have different single party majorities. Hopefully the system would work in a less confrontational and rigid manner than the Westminster model does, so as to reduce the chance of the UK breaking up.

There would also need to be agreement between all the UK and devolved governments about finance. That is always a major aspect of any federal like arrangement, but other polities manage to sort it out so I do not see why the UK should not.

by Gary J on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 06:45:13 AM EST
The big problem with this approach, would be the same as the big poroblem with Europe.

Until there is more media coverage of the actual workings of the regional assemblies in the main news of the day, t(and of the european parliament, other than a once in a blue moon way)

the nationalist right will be able to sell this as a layer of beuracracy as the only encounter that the average person will have with these assemblies is through the steady dripping of poison through the right wing press.  Britain would have a far more positive attitude to European institutions, if there were five minutes per night set aside for covering the european parliament. (And lets face it it would be time far better spent than discussing the share prices) However this is not in the interests of politicians at Westminster, as they need to be seen to be out there doing their jobs.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 10:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has always seemed to me that it is the UK level of government which would be the obvious one to eliminate, if the European Union above and the nations and regions below became more important.
by Gary J on Tue Jun 13th, 2006 at 04:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A bit of background for those of us not versed in the vagaries and set phrases of the last 30 years of British politics...

Wikipedia: The West Lothian question

The West Lothian question was a question posed by Tam Dalyell, MP for the Scottish constituency of West Lothian during a debate over Scottish devolution in the 1970s. The name was coined in 1977 by Enoch Powell.

The question is twofold:

  • How can it be right that MPs elected to Westminster from Scottish constituencies have no ability to affect the issues of their constituents which have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and
  • If power over Scottish affairs is devolved to a Scottish Parliament, how can it be right that MPs representing Scottish constituencies in the Parliament of the United Kingdom will have the power to vote on issues affecting England (including those that don't affect Scotland), but English MPs will not have the power to vote on Scottish issues?
With the passing of the Scotland Act in 1998, and the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, this anomaly[1] has come into existence.


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 07:02:27 AM EST
It would seem that these decisions are made without reference to a standard model of federal structure, which presumably wouldn't display anomalies of that form.

Does anyone know of a good study of principles of federalism -- something with a good dose of prescriptive advice?

I'd also like to learn more about plausible but untested proposals, such as (in some domains of law) allowing a subsidiary legislature to reverse laws passed by a level above it, but only by a vote of equal majority. (That is, if an upper level passed a law by, e.g., 57%, a lower level could reject the law only through a vote of 57% or greater.)

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 02:15:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This has been alluded to upthread by DoDo, but I thought that I would just refer to what has become known as the "Cree Question" in Canada.

This question concerns the rights of those to secede from those seceding. In the case of the Cree who live in parts of northern Quebec, their position has been that as the Quebecois are allowed a right of self-determination, so to are the Cree.

So might we see, oh say, Cornwall seceding from England? I mean, it does have it's own language, yes?

by gradinski chai on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 09:33:54 AM EST
That is why a federate England is the bast solution. England is too big within the UK and rather diverse internally. You could break it up into Cornwall, South West, South East, London, Midlands and North.

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 Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 09:42:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the problems with Labour's English regional plans was that the boundaries of the regions had been set by the central government. The people who lived in them have never been asked if they wanted to be in that region.

There has, I believe, been some feeling in Cornwall that they should be a region distinct from the South-West.

There is certainly a feeling in northern Lincolnshire that they would rather be linked with the rest of the historic county (which is in East Midlands Region) rather than with Yorkshire in the Yorkshire and the Humber Region. Now that Humberside Council (which combined the East Riding of Yorkshire with northern Lincolnshire) has been wound up there seems no reason why the natural barrier of the Humber should not be the regional boundary.

If regionalism is to come in England there need to be more powers on offer and the regions should be constructed from the bottom up not the top down.

by Gary J on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 03:38:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the problems with Labour's English regional plans was that the boundaries of the regions had been set by the central government. The people who lived in them have never been asked if they wanted to be in that region.
Maybe the Spanish procedure could be borrowed... From the Spanish Constitution of 1978:
Section 143
  1. In the exercise of the right to self-government recognized in section 2 of the Constitution, bordering provinces with common historic, cultural and economic characteristics, insular territories and provinces with a historic regional status may accede to self-government and form Self-governing Communities (Comunidades Autónomas) in conformity with the provisions contained in this Part and in the respective Statutes.
  2. The right to initiate the process towards self-government lies with all the Provincial Councils concerned or with the corresponding inter-island body and with two thirds of the municipalities whose population represents at least the majority of the electorate of each province or island. These requirements must be met within six months from the initial agreement reached to this aim by any of the local Corporations concerned.
  3. If this initiative is not successful, it may be repeated only after five years have elapsed.
Replace province with county, obviously. The Greater London Authority, Scottich Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly could be grandfathered in without having to go through the process again, but they could reform their statutes.

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 Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 08:17:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good idea, but far too decentralised to appeal to the control freaks in Westminster.

Incidentally the statutes which define the devolved areas and their powers are UK laws. They were not devolved, so changes have to go through the UK Parliament.

by Gary J on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 10:25:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of course. The Spanish Constitution makes the Statutes "organic laws" (i.e. second only to the Constitution) and they must be approved by the regional parliament, then the national Parliament, then the people of the region in a referendum.

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 Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 10:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is a good idea, who are the MPs we should write to about it?

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 Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 11:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only one who really matters is the Rt Hon. Tony Blair MP, 10 Downing Street, London. I doubt that such a major constitutional change would take place, in the short term, without his support.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was in charge of regional policy until earlier this year. I presume the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly (an Opus Dei member) took over the responsibility.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4100061.stm

The regional remit is described as follows.

DCLG is responsible for regional policy within England, and aims to promote sustainable development in the English regions.

The Government is dedicated to increasing the prosperity of all the regions and to bridging regional disparities.  As part of this, DCLG is keen that action should be taken at the right level whether that is regional, cross-regional, sub-regional or locally.

There is great diversity within and between the regions of England and they face different challenges.  Therefore, the solutions - be they economic, social or environmental - will need to be tailored to the needs of the region. Read more about Regions....

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1139476

The stuff about elected Regional Assemblies is a long way inside the Departmental web site. I do not think it is a high priority.

by Gary J on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 05:40:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And a cool looking flag.
by gradinski chai on Wed Jun 14th, 2006 at 09:40:35 AM EST


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