Direct Democracy

New think tank/blog from Carswell and Hannan.

As usual, mixture of decent ideas with not so decent.

For example, Yay! to the Swiss version of dealing with the EU while devolving power to counties rather than England seems a tad odd.

But worth a look….

5 thoughts on “Direct Democracy”

  1. Seems like devolving what remains at Westminster to the Counties whilst not devolving from Brussels back to the UK is doing the EU’s work for them.

    Once you get tax raising and revenue accountability to the County, many will be bought off one at a time by Brussels, so ending England as a single entity.

  2. Devolving from UK-level to county-level makes more sense than devolving to England level for the obvious reason that there’s no real difference between a government covering 60m people and one covering 50m people: all the same problems of over-centralisation that the England currently has would persist under an England government.

    (indeed, England *has* an England government already – once again, as has happened throughout parliamentary history, the party with the most MPs in England is also the party governing the UK).

    I’d rather devolve to regions of a few million people than counties, because I think county-level (outside of the big metropolitan counties – GL, GM, Merseyside, Birmingham) is too small to handle the functions that local government should take over from the nation-state, but county level would be an improvement on the status quo. England level would make no difference at all.

  3. As a side point, it’s worth noting that this is the main reason why a Lab/Lib coalition was a complete non-starter: it would not have commanded a majority of seats in England, and as the regional parties it would have required for support don’t vote on England matters, it couldn’t have passed any domestic legislation without Tory support.

    (in other words: the WL question is self-resolving, and a de facto English parliament already exists: there is no conceivable scenario under which a party or alliance without a majority of English seats could govern the UK…)

  4. JohnB, shilling for Brussels.

    Regionalising is what the EU wants and they know why – each area is easy to buy off, and not strong enough to resist and be independent.

    I used to think that what we needed was to remove a layer of government in Wales/NI/Scotland and make their MPs sit in their respective legislatures and for all MPs to come together for UK-wide matters.

    Maybe, though, we want a different sent of people for UK (Federal) vs National matters. I am not decided by a long way.

    Whatever happens, I want to see the geographies to NOT match the EU regions. Why? To remind them who does not run the country.

  5. Roger,

    I haven’t actually read The Plan. Do Hannan and Carswell really suggest that the regions/counties would be free to join the EU “one at a time”, or have I misinterpreted your comments?

    I assumed that such power would not be delegated, and that the integrity of the UK’s borders would be protected. FWIW, that is my main objection to a fully independent Scotland / Wales. They would naturally run screaming to the EU, and it would be folly to allow a future European army a beachhead on our island.

    As for the question of “doing the EU’s work for them” by devolving powers to cities and counties before the UK withdraws from the EU, I’m not convinced.

    The EU is keen to destroy each member state’s sense of national identity, but its goal in all matters of government is centralisation; localism seems like a good defence. I think people of York or Penzance would feel more discomfort with the transfer of powers from their county to Brussels, than they would with the transfer of power from distant bureaucrats in London to distant bureaucrats in Brussels.

    For defending our sense of national culture and identity, I think localism wins again. Central control over schools, museums, courts, and police chiefs makes it much easier for an anti-British party like New Labour to undermine our pride, and push pro-EU propaganda. With enhanced local powers, any such party would have to fight shire by shire.

    With concerns about the EU out of the way, I think the main objection to localism is that councils tend to be even more incompetent than the jokers in Westminster.

    I imagine there are two answers to this:

    1) As much power as possible would be pushed *below* the level of the county/city councils, ideally to individuals

    2) The transfer of power from Westminster to the cities/councils would cause us to choose our representatives in local government more carefully.

    Will be interesting to see how it plays out, if it is ever given a chance. I for one am hopeful.

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