Following my earlier post on devolution following the Scottish referendum result, I have heard and read an awful lot from a lot of different people with various views. It appears that there is some typical ‘Westminstering’ of the situation where the focus has gone back into party politicking and Westminster village world forgetting the reality of everybody in this country.
The federal approach appears strong. Having a national federal Parliament that has devolved as many powers as possible downwards – shrinking the centre down to a much more manageable size and empowering our places across the country to take on their own destinies and issues.
Are Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each distinct and close enough for one Parliament each? Quite probably. Is England too big for one Parliament? Well, yes it must be as an English Parliament does nothing for the rest of the country outside of London.
So the powers devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should also be devolved to a number of units within England. Are they the regions? Or driven by the city-regions?
For example, in my home patch, would we be Greater Birmingham or the wider West Midlands region? Would city-regions be the hub of parliamentary areas incorporating rural counties? How far down can powers go while remaining effective and ensuring strategic coordination across areas?
In theory the regions, driven by their capital cities, would be adequately-sized blocs comparable to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – this would be important in ensuring greater balance and equality between all areas.
Anyway, it isn’t for me to worry about the details. But I do worry that this time of great opportunity could be squashed by arguments and grubby politics and end up being taken over by those with an interest in empowering the country to take a much more active part in shaping our destinies. We shall see.