Saturday, 26 September 2020

Lib Dem talk of a Federal UK has no substance .

Yesterday I blogged on new Lib Dems leader say  that he opposed a Second Sotttish Independence referendum.

He said


I genuinely think Scottish people from all sides of the question on independence will say 'this is not the time for constitutional questions, now is the time for helping people who are in distress, businesses that are in distress and people who are facing the loss of loved ones'.”

On the party's opposition to another independence referendum, he said: "The Liberal Democrats' policy on independence is set by the Scottish Liberal Democrats and always will be under my leadership.

"I know that they believe that Scotland is better in the family of nations."

At the same time in her responce to   a Plaid Cymru-appointed group on Welsh independence has said two referendums should be held on the nation's future place in the United Kingdom. The Lib Dem "leader in Wales" Jane Dodd raised the hoary question of fedralism.

Led by former MP Elfyn Llwyd, it says a Plaid government in Cardiff should hold a "multi-choice" referendum to gauge views.

That poll should be used to persuade a UK Westminster government to agree to a referendum on the preferred option.

Ms Dodd said

 “politics isn’t working for Wales or the UK as well as it could right now” that “independence looks attractive”..

“There are far too many uncertainties, too many unknowns and too many risks with independence, she said.

“We don’t know nor are Plaid proposing solutions to questions such as: What currency we would use? Would we still have access to the BBC? What would happen in towns and villages that straddle the border? Or whether English students will still be able to study in our universities?”

Jane Dodds called for a “truly federal United Kingdom” instead.

The process would start with a declaration of a federal United Kingdom. A citizens’ assembly would then help draw up a written constitution.

Under the motion The Senedd, the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly would have their powers protected and could not be over-ruled by the Westminster government, she said.

The governments would be required to co-operate to tackle big issues that affect the whole UK such as child poverty or the climate emergency.

“The idea to reform the UK to a federal nation similar to Canada and Germany is a constructive middle way between a centralising Westminster government and a dash for independence from the nationalists,” she said.

“It replaces division with the co-operation which is needed to heal the existing divisions and to build a better future for everyone.”

So four years after the First Scottish Independence referendum have the Lib Dems produced any major paper on a Federal UK or included it as a commitment in a manifesto  . Googling it is problematic because  when you search Federal and LibDems you get results for it as it being a Federal Party (in name at least.) but what Federalism as a proposal for UK goverment from this party is dificult to actually find.

I suspect someone commenting on this will claim refer me to some kind of policy document, but as a Unique Selling Point (USP) , it seems that Federalism particularly in an English context is some what subdued.

What do they mean by it a Federal union of Wales, Scotland  Northern Ireland and England> or one of Wales , Scotland Northern Ireland and say eight English regions,

The first would be totally unacceptable to England if it meant that  the rest were equal  and the latter would reduce Celtic Nations, were merely UK regions.

I am not sure as we seem to be on a wave of support for Independence , that Plaid should be confusing the issue with multi choice questions.. Now is nor the time to take our eye off the prize..

Still it could lead to a debate and actuall proposals not vague  lib Dem Federalism Quackery.

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