Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Another devolution" review" and another waste of time.

The Wasting Mule reports that a review of the implications of devolution as it is developing for the UK recommends the Barnett formula should go and the post of Welsh Secretary could be axed, 

Today’s hard-hitting report from some of the leading experts on devolution blasts the formula used to allocate Treasury cash to the Welsh Government, stating it does “not deliver equity between the various parts of the UK”.

The team assembled by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law state: “Devolved and UK Government finances need to be disentangled from each other. This will mean an end to the current Barnett formula.”

They want it replaced with a “grant based on clear criteria such as relative need” with an “independent, impartial body” advising the Treasury.

At first the report looks like an reasonable argument especially the question of fair funding but a closer examination suggest that its sole purpose is to preserve the Union with as few tweaks

For instance Instead of having separate Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Secretaries, they suggest a single “Secretary of State for the Union”.
The title suggest that he or she  not be the representative of the devolved powers in Westminster but the representative of the Union to the devolved Nations and whose main reason is to preserve the Union
The authors also state that a “secession referendum should be held no more than once in a generation” – a period defined as “at least 15 years”.
Unionist thought they could prevent such a referendum by making sure via the he Additional Member System (AMS) that the SNP would not gain a majority in the Scottish Parliament and would never have a mandate to call for such a referendum.

Now they seek to change the rules so that not only do the SNP  have to have a majority in the Scottish Parliament (or allies with similar aspirations) but they can't even put a referendum call in their manifesto because its outside a constructed time limit.

The report which will be launched  today is already out of date with the landslide in the General Election

The report even  makes an emphatic rejection of so-called “devo-max” which would see the Edinburgh Parliament responsible for everything except for a handful of subjects including the monarchy, monetary policy and defence.

The authors state: 
“There is no country anywhere in the world run along lines such as these. Under the SNP’s proposal, all revenue raised in Scotland would go to the Scottish Government, who would write the United Kingdom a cheque for the services it rendered in, and for, Scotland as regards monetary policy, defence, security and foreign affairs...
“Such an extreme form of devolution would seem designed not to preserve the Union with the rest of the United Kingdom, but to break it.”
And the last few words of the report sums it up . It s purpose is to preserve the Union and to send it on a different path  even this path is unclear.

The report’s authors include Gerald Holtham, who led a commission on the funding of Welsh devolution, ans was then totally ignored 

But its time we stopped  listing to these commissions and started turning to the people.

If the Independence referendum in Scotland taught us anything when the question is asked many more than expected were in favour and many more wanted more powers even if they were in the NO majority.

Every Commission set up to review devolution and although this report is Independent  real intention is to preserve the Union  and put a break on Independence aspirations.

If there was anything wrong with Plaids General Election campaign it was putting more emphasis on "Parity of Funding" and not enough of "Parity of Powers". .

Because you are told you likely to get a C+ in a exam does not mean you should aim to get a 100% mark.

1 comment:

  1. Scrapping the Barnett formula is sound economics, but bad politics especially when the SNP is in ascendency is Scotland and the Tories aren’t about to hand Nicola Sturgeon a big prize in the quest for independence by scrapping the Barnett formula and cutting the Scottish block grant by £4 billion

    Plaid Cymru’s focus needs to be on the economy in the run up to the Welsh Assembly elections, creating the wealth in Wales and keeping it here, and there is some good news on this after a horrible fortnight