Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tory Minister Fuels debate on how we spend our pocket money.

A remarkable example of Westminster arrogance has come after after a Plaid Cymru and SNP call to tackle the cost of fuel was defeated in the Commons.

The result of the vote was 14 Ayes to 303 Noes. Most Liberal Democrat and Conservative MP's voted against the motion. Most Labour MPs abstained.

I accept that Green activists would like to see less use of fossil fuels and I sympathies but making it hard for people inn rural areas who do not have regular access to public transport is not the way at present.

Why did Labour abstain? They would have expected Plaid and SNP support  in any similar motion they put forward. Are the rules of Westminster politics .
 Small  Opposition Parties must back the largest Opposition party but not Vice Versa
One if the worst aspects of Party Politics is the assumption  that only your Party  have the right ideas. It make you think that if some one like Plaid's  economics advisor Eurfyl ap Gwilym came up with a brilliant and foolproof plan for solving the financial crisis (OK fantasy, but I hope you get my point )  all three of the major British parties would reject it because they hadn't thought of it.

The debate produced one moment which showed the true ignorance of Westminster Tories however when
Treasury minister Justin Greening  said the Welsh decision to cut university fees showed scope for ministers in Cardiff to alleviate fuel costs.

So what he is in fact saying that the Welsh Assembly should subsidise non-devolved issues, and divert some of its budget to areas which are the responsibility of Westminster.This arrogance goes to the Heart of the devolution debate.

As long as the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies are not allowed greater financial control including tax levies (which also means the same for England) then any money which is sent back to Wales from the treasury (It's our Money after all) then it will be teated by ministers like  Greening as akin to pocket money and we will constantly be advised how to spend it.

 Even in as this case in areas in which they have currently no responsibility.

What we need is a basic UK tax rate  and then the devolved powers should  be able to set an additional tax and in the absence of devolved government in England, English MP's should set the additional levy (if they choose to) in England.

No one likes paying Taxes but we need to raise and spend money where it is most effective that is what responsible government is partially about.

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