Monday, 20 April 2015

Blair's Devolution Disaster

The Labour government of Tony Blair foisted so many disasters on the British Isles that even full-length books about it give inadequate space to the glaring injustice of its devolution policy.
Devolution was one of the ways that Labour bought votes so that it could get into power in 1997. The Party made promises to all sorts of minorities and pressure groups to get their votes, regardless of the impact this would have on the UK as a whole.
Devolution had long been a Liberal policy but New Labour was eager to adopt it if it would update their image for voters in Scotland and Wales, where most of the coal-mines had been closed down and Labour had no intention of re-opening them. Devolution was the sweetie they handed out.

So Scotland and Wales were each given a referendum, resulting in a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly, that cost the UK taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds per year. The absurdity of this is that under Labour the UK continued to relinquish its powers of self-government to the EU. More and more parliaments were set up, with less and less power. Each one costs a fortune to run, and so we pay more to get less. 
          The whole basis of devolution was unjust. When Scotland and Wales got their own parliaments, they should have lost their right to sit in the English Parliament. That is fair. Why should Scottish and Welsh MPs, who are predominantly Labour, have power at Westminster, and impose their policies on English people who have not voted for them? Devolution did nothing to address this injustice, but made it worse. Scottish and Welsh people now have two votes and two sets of MPs. They can impose laws on England and then go home and rule themselves as well. We have to pay for their double elections and double parliament with two lots of representatives drawing handsome salaries. And they have more MPs in Westminster per voter than the English do. The population of Scotland is actually no more than the population of Yorkshire, yet there are 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster and only thirty from Yorkshire. 
Wales and Scotland also get a disproportionate amount of the EU funding that we all pay for via our membership fees of £62 million per day. Most of this is paid by the English tax-payer who thus subsidizes Wales and Scotland both indirectly and directly.
          The Barnett Formula is a basic injustice that has existed since 1978 when Labour's Lord Barnett decided to allocate more funding to Scotland and Wales than to England. Out of the total tax revenue of the UK, Scotland and Wales get more per head of population than England does, and that is statutory.  English people get only £8,500 per year, while Welsh get £9,709 and Scots get £10,152.  That is how they can afford free prescriptions, free ambulances, free care for the elderly, and free university places.  

Just stop and think  - over a 70-year lifetime, the English voter gets £105,000 less in public spending than a Scottish person. Think of the impact that has on quality of life. Devolution made this existing injustice worse. 
In the clamour for devolution, England was never given the option of a parliament free from Scottish and Welsh MPs - Labour didn't even consider it. And no wonder, since there are far more Labour supporters in Scotland and Wales than in England. They are the traditional Labour heartlands. Without Scottish and Welsh Labour MPs, Scotsman Tony Blair would never have got into power. The history of the Labour Party is a history of Scotland and Wales ruling England. From Kier Hardy to Callaghan, Kinnock and Blair, Labour has been a Scottish and Welsh-led party, imposing its policies and taxes on England. Without Scottish and Welsh MPs, England would never have had to endure the calamity of the Blair-Brown government, with its PC nonsense and endless wars.
        Shamefully, when David Cameron was campaigning in Scotland against independence, he guaranteed continuing the Barnett Formula  - it was nothing but a bribe at the expense of English voters. Cameron, another Scotsman...
       The fair solution would be to abolish the Barnett Formula and scrap the Scottish and Welsh seats in the Westminster Parliament. Let Scotland rule itself if it wants to and take its share of UK's national debt with it when it goes. Why should we have to bail out the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays too? Their voters will soon wake up to a cold reality, that Scotland is a poor country that has been living beyond its means. 
      Abolishing the Barnett Formula is an English Democrat policy that UKIP has now started to flirt with, but they are only offering to reduce the subsidy paid by England, not to scrap it altogether. We in English Democrats want to end it altogether. Devolution has been a farce. Independence should be genuine or not at all.
   Vote to abolish the Barnett Formula here:

1 comment:

  1. Devolution as the UK does it can be summed up in 4 words : it undermines universal suffrage. Democracy is one person one vote. Devolution is one person two votes.

    Devolving power to make decisions locally about tax and spending is one thing. It made no sense for all decisions about Scotland to be made in London at the Scottish Office. I must admit that although I was never a big fan of it the Scottish Parliament is a beautiful building and such things have done much to create a sense of civic pride. Where this turns into Nationalism there is a problem.

    However, you can't lay all the blame on Blair - just most of it. Mrs Thatcher introducing the Poll Tax into Scotland a year before England was seen by many people in Scotland as "treating them differently from the English" because it meant there were different laws in different parts of the country. That is discriminatory.

    There should be one law for all and all legislation should be made in one place. The old Witan used to solve these problems by moving about by Parliament later became stuck in Westminster for logistical reasons of needing to be close to the executive. However, this is no longer the case. I often work with people who are not in the same room or even the same country by the power of internet technology and video conferencing. So my solution is move Parliament about. Why does it need to be in London all the time? The EU parliament has 2 locations. With Westmister closing soon temporarily for major repair which make take several years there's never been a better time to experiment with moving Parliament.