Friday, 19 September 2014

This is the start of a long constitutional wrangle for the UK

FT Comment
...What is more, all the major political parties in Westminster have promised a new, dramatic but vague round of devolution to Scotland. Fleshing this out, getting it through parliament and then balancing it with new powers of self-rule for England could be the work of years, not months. There is no clean answer to the governance of the UK, no rationalist blueprint that pleases every component of a multinational kingdom in which one nation, England, is so dominant. Imagine if Bavaria accounted for 85 per cent of Germany’s population.
Still, the first few steps in this long and tortuous path are now possible to discern. In a statement outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning, David Cameron, the visibly relieved Conservative prime minister, said that he would seek English votes for English laws. This can denote several things but his version appears to be a system in which only MPs with constituencies in England can vote on legislation that affects only England. For the most part, this means public services such as healthcare, education and aspects of welfare. Because the Tories are the biggest party in England – by seats since 2010, and by votes since 2005 – the implications of this reform are profound. It is quite possible that Ed Miliband could win next year’s general election for Labour but have no parliamentary majority on some of the most important matters of government."

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