Monday, January 19, 2015

Devolution is a good idea, if you have something to devolve to !

Scotland has identity. It is a nation within a nation and a proud one. It has a clear and historic border. It means something to be a Scot. To devolve power to Scotland was right thing to do. More is coming their way - all good. Wales is broadly the same, Northern Iteland not quite, but close. And England - well what?

There is no regional identity in England. For some it's a county, but that's mostly a rural thing. For some it's a city, and the great cities and conurbations are where most of us live. But if you create a "region" for administration where do you draw the border? Yorkshire united with Lancashire and with Manchester as its regional capital? Try selling that in Leeds. Recreate Wessex by bunging Cornwall together with Devon and Dorset....hmmm! Draw a artificial line around East Anglia (who decides and against what criteria?). 

There is a problem with devolving power and decision-making if you have no one to devolve to. A City like Manchester has enough on its plate without taking on some phoney "Regional capital" role. "The North" isn't Scotland. It has no homogeneous identity, history or logic. Do we need another tier of Government to try and create greater devolution in England? I don't thnk so. Westminster can focus its attention away from London and the South East, and perhaps it should. But we don't need new bureaucracies to do this. 


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