Sunday, 2 November 2014

How serious are Labour over devolution?

Labour this week showed that devolution and Constitutional reform will at seem to figure highly in the next General Election..

The first was on Transport 
“Giving city and county regions more power over their public transport networks so they are able to set the right bus routes and have fairer fares, as well as integrate their transport services to help working people and businesses succeed in their areas. This will give regions similar powers to regulate their bus services as those in London.

An excellent idea but cynical bastards like me may well think it may well have more to do with attacking Stagecoach Boss Brian Souter for bankrolling the YES campaign in the Scottish referendum.

But its worth considering its a pity that it may be have been thought out of spite rather than bringing power closer to the people.

Labour also said that it would summon a constitutional convention early in the next parliament to consider how an elected senate would be established - including whether it could have specific regional representation functions.
Each region of England, as well as the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, would hold meetings before the convention where people would be asked for views on the functions of the new body, as well as the most appropriate form of election.
In a speech to activists in Blackpool, Mr Miliband will said : "It cannot be right that the North West has almost the same population as London but only a small fraction of London's number of peers.
"London is our capital and one of the world's great cities but it cannot be right London has more members of the House of Lords than the East Midlands, West Midlands, Wales, Northern Ireland, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber added together.
"And it cannot be right that those peers who do live outside London are less likely to be from great cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol than they are to be living in less-populated rural areas.
"We will make the second chamber of Parliament truly a senate of the regions and nations of our whole country."

Again at first seems like an elected idea . But are Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland  to be considered to be "Regions"  and I bet there will be no attempt to recognise Cornwall unique identity.

But just a quick look at the wording shows that Labour will not push this to far

Labour would summon a constitutional convention early in the next parliament to consider how an elected senate would be established - including whether it could have specific regional representation functions
Only a vague proposal  that Labour can even if it was in a majority in the next Parliament pass of "consultation" and in the Five years of the next Parliament just as in the 13 years of the last Labour Parliament Labour can safely put on the back burner .

Labour simplify things by having a look on how Australia does things

The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Chapter I, Part II of the Australian Constitution. There is a total of 76 senators; 12 senators are elected from each state, regardless of population. Each of the two autonomous internal territories has two senators. Senators are popularly elected under a single transferable vote system of proportional representation. There is no constitutional requirement for the election of senators to take place at the same time as those for members of the House of Representatives, though the government usually tries to synchronise election dates.
If they did this they could have the new Senate up and running in a year.

I very much doubt in the next five years we will be trotting off to the polling booths to elect a new Senate.




No comments:

Post a Comment