Wednesday, November 5, 2014

82% of public are backing devolution for English regions, the idea might have merit if done properly; however do we think we could cope with a country full of mini Boris Johnson as mayors, or does that sink the soul?

Dear All

Just as Scotland has changed post 18th September, so has England, people want more democracy and accountability of their elected members.

It seems the by-product of the Scottish independence campaign by default is that four out of five people support devolved powers for regions in England.

The results of a new poll aren’t really surprised, there has been a political shift, in England; things have moved because of Ukip’s rise, it shows that people don’t just want change in their life which is important but a wider change in how politics operates.

The political market is being opened by the introduction of more choice.

A ComRes poll commissioned by the BBC shows 82% of 3,000 adults surveyed by phone last month would support regional devolution.

This shows that the main parties should have developed more opportunities to regions, a good way to do so would be the transfer of Whitehall departments to other areas of the country, when we think driving licences; we think Swansea.

If there had been more of an exodus from London to the rest of the UK, it might have triggered more renew and perhaps generated investment opportunities. Although London is great, it can have a polarizing effect that sucks everything into a bubble.   

The new poll also highlighted that 60% of people backed allowing English MPs only to vote on English issues.

If that is forced through, it would mean two tiers of MPs, the problem with this is that a government with a narrow majority might find that yes, they won the election but the opposition can veto their government policies when presented as bills in the House of Commons.

Would the idea of the major political parties at Westminster backing the idea of handing powers to local regions work?

In theory, it probably could work out, I suspect at the start, there might be a lack of knowledge and experience kicking about which may take some time to have the new setup bedded in properly.

Chancellor George Osborne yesterday announced Greater Manchester would be the first to benefit from plans to give cities more freedoms and powers. Manchester is big enough to be a good area for a pilot, it should yield interesting results.

The new poll also found just one in five people said they wished Scotland had voted to leave the UK.

Two-thirds of people agreed however that Britain was better off by having a strong capital city, although many expressed the view too much money was spent on London.

Striking the right balance is important, but you can understand why people seem to have a mixed message about the capital.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the BBC the Government was undertaking “the biggest decentralisation of power for decades”.

The trend in Scotland by the SNP is the other way, possibly because the clique is power mad, and their elected representatives are dross.

Can’t be trusted!

Under reforms announced by Osborne earlier, Greater Manchester would have the first “metro mayor” outside London. It this venture a roll out of mini London across the UK, well the jury is still out on that one. The reforms will see the Mayor having responsibility for policing, a £300 million housing investment fund and strategic planning powers.

The Westminster Government will legislate to enable the changes, with the potential for the mayoral election to take place in 2017.

Although people really want change, we should be careful that such change enhances communities for the better, a change that sees no real benefits passed down would be at best be a waste of time and resources.

As an idea, it is worth a few laps around the track to see if it has traction, if it does, then perhaps others may pick up on the ideas as well, however, to see it in operation, people would have to stand back and watch the results objectively.

And that requires time!

Yours sincerely

George Laird 
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


Anonymous said...

could it be any worse that a world full of Salmonds?

Thank goodness Georgieboy Eck doesnt have ANY KIDS eh



Terry Summers said...

Alex Salmond and Boris Johnson between them have made the prospect of multiple devolved authorities across the British Isles much less attractive in the mind of the voting public.
we have been slowly moving towards a federal system of devolved regional governments or about 100 years. So far we have had Stormont which ended in failure. and we now have Holyrood, the welsh and Northern Irish assemblies and the London Mayor acting with devolved power from Westminster. the Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies appear to be getting on with their allotted tasks without grandstanding.
I would like to see a federal system of devolved assemblies based on 5-10 million population regions, but the thought of them being headed up by the likes of BJ and AS, little cockerel crowing atop their dung heaps, is slightly more of a price than I would care to pay.

Anonymous said...

Boris is actually quite popular in London - he's not seen as he is in the rest if the country. He's done well there and is a sharp operator.