recent piece on federalism and Labour was very eloquently put. It is something I have been thinking on for some time, since a friend mentioned it many years ago, and I have been puzzling it out ever since. I even went to a meeting a few years ago where Ian Murray MP and others were spouting federalism as a cure all, but under questioning, none really had any idea what would be involved.
So from my present considerations, here goes (the terms states, cities and regions are interchangeable):
Firstly, the governance of the UK and its federal states needs to be moved from London to somewhere more central of the UK, which for the sake of argument is York and would need, as per Ottawa and Canberra, to be an independent state of its own. Departments and ministries could either remain in London or be shared out, it's really irrelevant considering the ease of communications and travel within the UK.
Next the states would be based on population size, say of six million, which makes roughly 10 in England, 1 in Scotland, plus separate rules for Wales and Northern Ireland. Then there are the cities, all of which have had their powers reduced to zilch in the name of centralisation and reducing costs of duplication guff over many years and need to have them returned, including a voice in government – adding possibly another 30.
All in all, a back of a cigarette pack calculation, a 103-seat government. Plus a 75-seat second legislature. How about including representation from Gibraltar, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Falklands and the dependencies?
Now, with the best will in the world, 650 MPs and 800-odd Lords are not going to vote for Christmas, let alone leave the best club in London for the hinterland of the frozen north (anything outside the M25). Even Cameron's plan to reduce the number of MPs to 600 is being kicked down the road or into the long grass never to heard or seen again.
Then the regions/states and cities will have their own administrations and governments – and the argument against will be shouts of another layer/tier of pigs to get their snouts in the trough.The idea is good, devolving relevant powers to local administrations is absolutely needed, even down to small villages and hamlets, to give people the understanding that they have flesh in the game of the UK democratic system.
But will it happen? I'm very doubtful unless something totally unpredictable occurs – but then again, with the Brexit mess being made, who knows.
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