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Monday, 11 July 2016

Constitutional Reform

It's good news that not everyone in Britain is sitting stunned and paralysed three weeks after the referendum. The irritating whine from London is diminishing, counter-revolutionaries are working out that any election based on an attempt to overturn the referendum would give Brexiteers an overwhelming majority in Parliament and the Labour party is working out whether it wants to be a protest movement or a political party. My £3 to vote for Corbyn has never been better spent. And now the thinkers are coming into play; the Constitution Reform Group has just published a discussion document that at first read appears to advocate turning the UK into a Swiss-style Federation, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland enjoying autonomy in all but shared functions. 

Shared functions, administered by a Westminster Parliament reduced in size, would include The Crown, the Settlement, Defence, National Security, Foreign Affairs, High level economic policy, Currency, Immigration, Citizenship, Extradition, Emergency powers. 

Before I come to a view as to how well such proposals will serve to meet my own personal objectives of (a) keeping the United Kingdom as a sovereign kingdom and (b) Big Bang Localism whilst diminishing the malignant power of Whitehall and the chains of central command and control, I need to read the Discussion Paper fully. 

And as usual, please share your views - your collective wisdom has a price above rubies!


Anonymous said...

Looks like a starting point... Like you I haven't read it all yet, but one thing caught my eye...

"Indeed, one of the mistakes that can be made in discussing the future of devolution is to encourage an attitude of rivalry between the individual parts of the Union, with one part thinking along the lines of “if they have the power to do X then why don’t we?”"

I would not choose the word rivalry, since this is not about the power of politicians, it is about what works... You don't find out what works unless different people try different things and dare to fail. It is called competition. Novelty being the working principle.

You list a number of "competences" that would be in the hands of Westminster, this is the crux of the matter... National politicians will try to seize as many of these competences as they can, citing various reasons...

Personally, I reckon that the list should be smaller than your list Raedwald, which I accept is straight out of their pamphlet.

I saw a mention of broadcasting at the top level... A massive problem during the recent referendum was the propagandising of the 'remain' view across the nation, so much so, that there are whole swathes of people who actually think the total opposite of the reality... i.e. that the result of brexit is a corporatist takeover... If you tell a lie, make it big and repeat it often...

It also talks about England as being a valid constituency...

Historically as your pen name suggests, this is not so, and the question can be settled quite quickly by devolving down to shire level.

Anyway, just a couple of 'fag packet' thoughts.


Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

The biggest problem are the cadres of bureaucrats who have *never* been effectively controlled. Tail wagging dog hardly covers it....

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

I'd add that there was actually an Act of Parliament with the title "Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010" - largely aimed at the bureaucrat issue - it has simply been gathering dust......

Wildgoose said...


England has as much right to its nationhood as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We have just had a Referendum in which we have supported the basic principle of Sovereignty whereby the only people who should decide what laws we live under are the people who actually live under those laws and who elect lawmakers to decide what those laws should be.

The attitudes of so-called "Unionists" who think that Scotland, Northern Ireland and now Wales can have their own legal systems decided on that basis, but that the English cannot, and must submit to interference (either political or via blatant bribes from the English Treasury) by politicians from different countries (e.g. Scotland and Northern Ireland) is why I no longer consider myself a Unionist.

The attitude of "Unionists" is that we have to respect the nationhoods of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but must endlessly attack any expression of Englishness as a "threat".

And No, although I want powers devolved to their lowest appropriate level, that does not include the creation of a balkanised legal system in which each town or Shire has completely different laws from its neighbours. And if we are to continue with an English Legal System (and why not?), then we need an English Parliament to be its lawmaking body.

But the same people who insist that Scotland must have its own Parliament are also the same people who insist that England must not.

England has just extricated itself from one oppressive (European) Union. We now need to extricate ourselves from the historical accident of the (British) Union as well.

We need politicians who will actively work to better our collective interests rather than ones who constantly seek to undermine England in the narrow interests of their own (different) nations.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"the same people who insist that Scotland must have its own Parliament are also the same people who insist that England must not."

This is true.

It's noticeable that when the Scots want to run their own affairs, this is portrayed at sensible, logical, pragmatic, modern, democratic, etc etc; yet when the English want exactly the same thing, that just proves that they are ignorant racists. It's getting tedious.

Anonymous said...

I was not thinking about the so-called ancient borders... We are in a united kingdom, and from an administrative POV Scotland is not a nation, it is however, a conveniently sized, in terms of population, shire.

I agree, as an Englishman who gets annoyed that there is no option on government forms to point this out, that not enough recognition of the rights of the English are taken into account... My points were entirely based on how to best operate "citizen triggered, binding local direct democracy" in these islands.

I would point out that I am also from Kent, what about the rights of Kentish men and Men of Kent?

What I was really talking about above was that England is a constituency that represents 85% of the population and business done in the UK. From a democratic point of view, it would be better if the national government had very little competence and that the greater amount of competences be divided amongst the regions, but because of the huge population advantage of England, it might be better for all, including the English if it were broken down into shires, ancient kingdoms, fiefdoms, whatever, in order to improve competition amongst ALL of these constituencies?

Anonymous said...

Ruby's price is notoriously cheap.

Budgie said...

If past experience is any guide, moves for "localism" actually (rather than theoretically) give us more bureaucrats and bureaucracy, not less. In practice Regional and local government have been just as remote in terms of being unaccountable as London is, probably more so.

I traveled a long way to help the NE reject Prescott's EU inspired regional government because the clear aim was to balkanise England, to thus weaken England, and hence eliminate the troublesome British (the Scots on their own not being powerful enough) from the EU political scene.

I do not see the problem as being one of the internal political settlement of the UK, but rather the twin evils of managerialism and corporatism. Any organisation will fail if the people in it act in bad faith. This is what we have got now.

auralay said...

I have only skimmed the first few pages - when I read "stakeholders" I tend to lose the will to live.
Fro a Welsh perspective when I first heard the idea of a Welsh Assembly I thought what a wonderful idea. Wales really needs another talking shop and more bureaucrats. NOT! Subsequent events where Welsh heath and education has fallen below even the failing English ones has not improved my confidence.

Since the 2011 referendum in Wales gave more powers to the assembly, the members are claiming higher pay for their extra responsibilities. It is notable that there are no calls to reduce pay to the Westminster MPs who presumably have less to do.
As Budgie says always more bureaucracy!

Dioclese said...

Faced with the appalling prospect of that awful woman Eagle taking over, I'd vote for Corbyn! And I don't like him in the slightest...

The eagle is landing. Gawd help us!!!!

Anonymous said...

There's a stink of rotting fish about the May/Leadsom debacle - what do we expect from two old, piss-stinking, geriatric hags and a raddled Tory party.

Anonymous said...

The CONS: they are a set of conniving, treasonous, duplicitous cunts but then the establishment never changes, over centralized, over stuffed with apparatchiks, big government has always been our enemy and the EU only cemented the hegemony where Germany pulls the strings, in Europe, even in Britain.

The May/Leadsom partnership was a Tory waltz leading the nation up the garden path, Gove did Boris and in one stupid move the remain party won hands down, a quick Dave departure and Ken and the Grandees had the plan up his sleeve all along, just in case of an "out" vote. Dave falling on his sword and doing the dirty "I love my country!" what a fucking cunt, in Britain's hour of need - Cameron and then the CONS shafted Britain and not for the first time you might be able to recall.

Talk about shooting themselves in the foot, it is way past time, the CON-EU party must be sent unto oblivion, utterly destroyed.

Cascadian said...

I had predicted in an earlier post that BoJo as a con-men leader would destroy the party, Daisy May will do just as well.
Hague is pronouncing Daisy as the perfect candidate to get a deal for Brexit, intuitively we understand the predictive power of Hague to mean she is imperfect and will not be able to negotiate a removal from EU.
A search for a better deal to stay in the disastrous EU and the prevarication it will require should send droves of votes to UKIP (if they can get organized).
Angela Eagle is now a candidate for leader of liebour after previously declaring and removing herself. Such decisiveness defines the party as unserious.
Limpdems, liebour and con-men all destroyed in two years, I would like to think this is NOT a time for constitutional reform, perhaps UKIP should be allowed the chance to attempt to form a government and govern for their electorates benefit.
Talk of constitutional reform appears to me as a way to retain the status and power of the much diminished trio of "establishment" parties.
But this is only Monday, whatever next happens to third-world yUK is beyond prediction.

RAC said...

Corbyn was less than red hot on remain, not sure what the latest state of play is regarding them allowing him to contest the leadership but if he is frozen out it's only a short walk across to UKIP, stranger things have happened.

anon 2 said...

WHOA. Bang the bells; Sound the Sirens; let the warning Flares Fly!!!!

As I'm sure you all suspect, CRG is another Trojan Horse; it's a charade designed, with malice aforethought, to scupper possibilities of Brexit. Divide and Conquer is the MO as usual, and its aim of cutting back the size of a Parliament would certainly rid the euSSR of a potentially pestiferous inconvenience.

I checked on the website. Date of the page "About the CRG" is July, 2015 - so there's nothing new about this movement.

Under the sequence Home-->Media and Events--> the red hot Grauniad suggests: "Brexit vote paves way for federal union ......." Yeah. Federal.

Under "About" --> "Steering Committee" tags: less than spotless Peter Hain features as one of the 10. I just love the irony to be found in titles of his publications: "His memoirs "Outside In" were published by Biteback in 2012 and the updated paperback of his book "Back to the Future of Socialism" has just been published by Policy Press.

The "Steering Committee" link also provides info on the Chief Witch of the Pot-Boiling: what fun that her name is "Stuart" - their froggie/euro-view always set us at odds with each other. But there's more on this daughter of Hecate - Hidden in plain sight under "Media" --> "Prime Minister's Questions," we find: "Gisela Stuart MP, a member of the CRG steering committee, asked a question to David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions Time on Wednesday 20 January. Gisela secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to meet with the CRG in the coming weeks to discuss a new Act of Union."

So they were still setting it up this January --- pre-referendum, and pre-Brexit. Given this, Brexit clearly will not be allowed to get in the way of their Fabian/Marxist Deconstruction.

So I'm sorry, Raedwald, but like yourself I haven't quite managed to plough my way through the claptrap of the pdf.

anon 2 said...


In reference to your last paragraph, I'm interested from that Dr. North wrote on his work about a "so-called Lichtenstein Solution" that he has: ". . . been invited to give oral evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday, and I'm minded also to send the paper to the Committee as a formal written submission" ("Brexit: immigration versus market - a false choice"). 

In light of today's "coincidental" approach to Mayhem, I wish him well and hope the Chief Witch may see her way to listening to him.

Beyond that, I'm also looking at North's "FleXcit the Movie" - and his six step approach to implementation of Brexit. The first step there is WITHDRAWAL. Domestic Reform is the last, the sixth item - and that is also well-considered through "The Harrogate Agenda." It's not about deconstruction, rather it involves reconstruction of local links between the people and their representatives, and the re-establishment of 'people power.'


Prawnster said...

I am going into the garden to read the document. I may be a while.

anon 2 said...

Oh -- sorry, I omitted this little gem on Stuart - from the CRG's info on Stuart - under "Steering Committee:

"In 2002 she became a member of the Steering Group of the Convention on the Future of Europe. Her Fabian publication “The Making of Europe’s Constitution” sheds light on some of the pitfalls of constitution writing."

Wildgoose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wildgoose said...

@anon 2
You may not have noticed, but Gisela Stuart was a leading light in the Brexit Camp.

You may also be interested to learn that Frank Field has had a long history of recognising that Devolution fatally unbalanced the UK Constitution.

You're right on Peter Hain though, I wouldn't trust him as fas as I can spit, however he is more likely to be a Trojan Horse seeking to undermine the CRG.

Mike Cunningham said...

After the brutal defenestration of Leadsom, which came after a Times reporter managed an interview to literally place words in her mouth which did not represent her actual attitude, we have been presented with the ‘Coup’, the very ‘Coronation’ which the new Prime Minister had stated that she did not want. Fair enough, according to the Party Rules, being the only one left in the race after Andrea stepped down, or was probably pushed after one of the acolytes stamped on the fingers which were clinging to the ledge; she was the one chosen of the Party; but is she the chosen by the Party.

There are some 150,000 Tory Party members who would have liked to hear what she had to say, and would liked to compare her statements with her opponent, before making their minds up on who should lead them: and I reckon that many of those Tory members are, like me, just a teensy-weensy bit miffed at the speed with which we were presented with a ‘fait accompli!

anon 2 said...

@Wildgoose - Ah yes: Vote Leave. Some people reckon that Leavers won in spite of them. And now, instead of getting on with Brexit (devolution from the euSSR) we are supposed to concentrate on devolution within the UK - which concurrently manifests itself as Union?

And we're not encouraged to mention her German origins, are we? That's "Racist". "Xenophobic" too, I bet. That though, + Fabian? Telling British indigenes how to organize themselves, and doubtless knowing that our native tribes have been quarreling with each other from time immemorial?

Umm. I think I'll stay suspicious.