All 4 entries tagged Devolution

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February 20, 2007

An English Parliament? No–one cares.

At the time of writing, 1,128 people had signed a petition of the Number 10 website for the creation of an English Parliament. It’s a popular idea with a few Tories, who know they’d probably get a permanent majority in such an assembly.

But it doesn’t seem the public care…

21,445 people want census data to be made available earlier
10,984 people want St David’s Day to be a Welsh national holiday
5,649 people want Ruth Kelly to give up her job
4,228 people want to replace the national anthem with ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet
2,033 people want to ban the sale of “puppy farms”
1,781 people want to “save Suffolk middle schools”
1,214 people want to prohibit the sale of fireworks
1,148 people want the government to give Blackpool the super-casino

In the light of which, it seems that people really aren’t fussed about England getting its own Parliament. Unless, of course, their wages are likely to come out of it.


January 24, 2007

Britishness is dead. Long live…?

Union Jack The British are feeling less so than ever before. Over the past decade, the number of people calling themselves ‘British’ has fallen from 52% to 44%. And while Scots nationalism has increased, Wales has remained ambivalent about its own identity.

Ask a Scot whether they are British or Scottish, and according to the British Social Attitudes Survey, nearly 80% will say Scottish. Ask a Welshman whether they are Welsh or British, and 60% will say they’re Welsh (the same figure as 30 years ago). And half of Englishmen claim to be British.

This shows a few things…

  • We seem to be heading nearer and nearer completely separate identities.
  • The English identity is relatively weak
  • And the Welsh seem unlikely to want further devolution, even though the Assembly is considered toothless.

January 16, 2007

Why are the SNP taken so seriously?

Asked what the Act of Union (300 years old today) had done for England and Scotland, an SNP spokesman told BBC Radio 4 tonight:

Well, back three hundred years ago, it made England look strong and powerful.

And that, apparently, is it.

Regardless of what you think about nationalism and the idea of Scotland becoming independent, isn’t it more than a little disingenuous to suggest that Scotland hasn’t benefitted one jot from being politically and economically joined to England?

True, they would have had a lot of North Sea oil to themselves, but I’d be interested to know if Scots think that England has ever done anything for them.

My suspicion is that the Act of Union has strengthened both countries over time, and that in denying this outright, the SNP are making themselves look silly. There are still arguments for independence today without disregarding three hundred years of history, no?


November 14, 2006

Peter Hain makes a mockery of devolution

Peter Hain is reported to have come out with a ludicrous statement today, which would mean devolution in Wales is only allowed while Labour govern the Assembly.

From this article:

The Welsh Secretary indicated that if the present opposition parties formed a coalition administration after next May’s election, MPs at Westminster would not necessarily agree to their legislative plans, which might include Proportional Representation voting.

At the moment, any legislation made in Cardiff has to be ratified – or agreed – in Westminster. And so far it’s not caused any problems.

But this signal from Hain is hypocrisy and unnecessary party politics in the extreme. It’s unfair on Wales and it makes devolution look pointless. Ironically it’s forced the Welsh Conservatives – who opposed devolution – to defend the Assembly. I hope Hain will be forced into a retraction before any more damage is done.

If it wasn’t for the Wales v Liechtenstein game, I think Blamerbell would be spitting on his cornflakes (or whatever he eats at night).


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