Tuesday 10 April 2018

Yet another bid to centralise power

A bunch of unbelievable dunderheids calling themselves the 'Constitutional Reform Group' are proposing a new Act of Union. You can read it here. The group are remarkably coy about their membership, but rumour has it that they are, at least primarily, members of the House of Lords - which comes as no surprise to me (indeed, I'd hazard I could correctly guess the names of several members).

Long time readers of my blog will recall that I've written on the UK constitution, rather often:

  1. The West Lothian question, take two
  2. Parliamentary Questions
  3. Submission to the Smith Commission
  4. Scottish devolution, and socialism in one nation
  5. A breakfast any self-respecting dog would reject

Fortunately the committee have provided a feedback form through which you can give your opinion of their turgid bucket of foetid dingoes' kidneys, here. I strongly commend the idea you do so. For inspiration, my own contribution is below; do not copy it, as that is bad form, but feel free to riff melodically on some of these points.

I have very rarely read a more foolish or more incendiary document - this ranks surely alongside Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal for offensiveness, but lacks the wit.

It is not possible to have a federal state in which one confederate can always outvote all others. If the United Kingdom is to become a federal state, then either England must be split into at least five separate units (Wessex, Sussex, Essex, Mercia, Northumbria, perhaps) or Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, put together, must be able to outvote England. Otherwise it isn't a confederation, it's an empire (which, under your committee's proposal, of course, it is).

It is not possible to have a democracy with appointed legislators. Not any appointed legislators at all. The United Kingdom, of course, never has been a democracy, but it is about time it became one.

It is not tolerable that a broad range of taxes be retained by the federal administration. The centre can have few functions and therefore has little expenditure; the overwhelming majority of revenue must be generated where it is needed - in the nations. It would be better to put all taxation powers with the nations and fund the federal government with subventions from them.

It is not possible to have a UK wide court system, because there is not a UK wide system of law. Nor is it desirable that there should be, unless, of course, England wishes to submit to the jurisdiction of Scots law. No? Didn't thinks so. Similarly, a UK wide civil service makes no sense.

If you want to cause civil war in these islands, I commend your proposed bill as a most excellent way to proceed. Otherwise, I suggest you bury it in the deepest cesspit you can find, and pray it never resurfaces.

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