My column in tomorrow’s Cornish Guardian will be as follows:
I have campaigned for devolution to
for my entire adult life and I will make no apology for covering this important
issue for the third consecutive week.
In 1997, when he launched his Government’s plans for a Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar stated that the aim was for a “fair and just settlement for
within the framework of the United Kingdom.”
He added that it would “strengthen democratic control and make government more accountable.”
In the same year, the Welsh Secretary Ron Davies argued that the creation of a Welsh Assembly would “give the people of
a real chance to set their own priorities” and to provide “leadership to
reinvigorate all aspects of Welsh life and culture.”
I believe that
also needs a “fair and just settlement” as described by the late Donald Dewar,
and a powerhouse democratic body that can provide the real leadership outlined
by Ron Davies.
That is why I want to see a democratically-accountable National Assembly that can set the funding and policy framework for the majority of the public sector within
And following the NO vote in the Scottish referendum, the leaders of the three largest London-based parties have all been talking about devolution, but I have been extremely disappointed by the responses from local representatives of the largest
The Conservative Party and the Labour Party have already set out their opposition to a Cornish Assembly.
Tory MPs such as George Eustice have begun to scaremonger, releasing statements about “more politicians,” a “waste of money” and “flash new parliament buildings.”
Candy Atherton meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the Cornwall Labour Party, said that a Cornish Assembly would just be “another layer of bureaucrats.” That must be somewhat galling for those Labour MSPs and AMs serving in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly – their national legislatures – to be described as “bureaucrats.”
I am disappointed at their lack of ambition and I am confident that a National Assembly would be good for
democracy and its economy.
The present reality, as I see it, is that the Westminster Parliament retains control over most political decisions of real significance. Local government makes up only a portion of the public sector, and central government continues to remove power and financial resource from Cornwall Council, transferring influence to unelected bodies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership.