Sunday, 14 September 2014

This week's Cornish Guardian article ... more powers for Cornwall?

My column for this coming week’s Cornish Guardian unsurprisingly focuses on the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. It includes much of the material I have blogged about over the last couple of days. It will be as follows:

The referendum on Scottish independence, which will take place on Thursday 18th September, is increasingly forcing politicians to consider the wider constitutional implications of the vote.

Whatever the result in Scotland, I hope it will herald a rethink about the governance of the whole of the UK

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have published a joint declaration which promises to “strengthen” the powers of the Scottish Parliament if the people of Scotland vote NO. They claim that delivering a “strong Scottish Parliament” will actually strengthen the basis of the United Kingdom.

If the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats all agree that greater powers for Scotland would be beneficial to the United Kingdom, they must also accept that the devolution of significant political and economic powers to other parts of the UK is also appropriate and would be equally beneficial to one and all.

As the Leader of Mebyon Kernow, I have challenged the leaders of the three largest London-based parties to support the creation of a strong Cornish Assembly which, to use their recent words, would also strengthen the United Kingdom.

And it just happens that the Liberal Democrats have published a “pre-manifesto” document and sent out a press release claiming they would “campaign at the next General Election to introduce a Cornish Assembly.” But the relevant section of the pre-manifesto document confusingly states that the party would enable “greater devolution of powers from Westminster to councils or groups of councils working together (for example to a Cornish Assembly).”

For Labour, Ed Miliband has declared that: “Further devolution is coming to Wales, and Scotland’s example will lead the way in changing how we are governed in England too … with extensive new devolution to local government from Cornwall to Cumbria.”

I am extremely disappointed that both the Liberal Democrats and Labour are couching talk about devolution within the context of local government. We need to be more ambitious than that for Cornwall. We need a new democratic deal on a par with Scotland and Wales – a legislative Cornish Assembly – not just a few more additional powers for local government.

But I am also disappointed by the attitude of local Conservatives such as Sarah Newton MP. When asked about the creation of an Assembly – for a constituent part of the UK – why does she feel the need to scaremonger that such devolution would lead to the break up of the United Kingdom, when David Cameron is claiming the opposite?

1 comment:

ally watkins said...

Well said dick. They all seem to be clutching at straws. New Labour will be worst hit when the sxots gain independance. Im hoping for a landslide victory it will give more faith to other counties to talk of independance. London centric corporate lead decisions are why this country is in such a mess.