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I’ll believe it when I see it… July 10, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Some intriguing ideas in this stew, a ‘proposed constitutional reform [that] would give each nation and region of the UK full sovereignty over its own affairs’.

It’s being pushed forward into the light by the:

…Constitution Reform Group, convened by former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Salisbury, is to make the the case for radical constitutional change in the UK by claiming the need has been boosted by the vote to leave the European Union.

And:

Their proposals say the existing union should be replaced with fully devolved government in each part of the UK, with each given full sovereignty over its own affairs. The Westminster parliament, the group says, should then be reduced to 146 MPs. The individual nations and regions of the UK would then be encouraged to pool sovereignty to cover the matters they wish to be dealt with on a shared basis.

The proposals say they “start from the position that each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a unit that both can and should determine its own affairs to the extent that it considers it should; but that each unit should also be free to choose to share, through an efficient and effective United Kingdom, functions which are more effectively exercised on a shared basis.”

Yeah, well, I see the name of one D. Burnside involved and I wonder how it would impact on Northern Ireland. And note that ‘international’ functions including treaties would remain the responsibility of the federal centre. How does that mitigate negative outcomes as perceived by ‘Remain’ voters in NI and Scotland?

A lot of ambiguity too in other areas. No sense of the parliamentary structures of the federal state, but the reason for all this is telling:

Members of the group have made clear they are partly motivated by limiting the momentum towards Scottish independence following the 23 June vote to leave the European Union. “It would pull the rug from under independence,” said Lord Hain, while Salisbury argued his proposals would hand the initiative back to unionists.

It may be a bit late in that respect.

Comments»

1. sonofstan - July 10, 2016

Complete constitutional overhaul that keeps the House of Lords, yeah? Also, the list of things that would be federal matters is quite large- US States and Canadian provinces have tax setting powers in excess of what is being proposed for instance. And one more also, wait for the first FG voice to say this is great idea and can we come too?

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benmadigan - July 10, 2016

maybe that’s why there’s an on-going attempt to de-throne Enda?

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2. Ivorthorne - July 10, 2016

Isn’t there a rather obvious problem in that the way in which England (well, pretty much London really), subsidises the rest of the UK. How exactly would that work? Will the English continue to provide these subsidies to NI, Wales and Northern Ireland at current levels once they have their own devolved government?

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sonofstan - July 10, 2016

Given the way the fractures in the UK have come to the surface since June 23 I can see London and Londoners getting bolshy about supporting the rest of England, never mind the ‘fringe’.

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makedoanmend - July 11, 2016

Really? London is subbing everyone else?

Not refuting, but just considering here.

Everyday I see more and more local businesses going under. Everyday I see huge deliveries to supermarkets, corporate bars-cafes, and other sundry meag-businesses that send their profits to the banking centre in London. London capital, via interest and dividends (not to mention corporate profits) then distributes the money back into the economy – but often the money just rests in London based accounts and accumulates and accumulates to the same people day in an day out – ad infinitum. Or the money, to avoid taxes, finds itself digitalised in foreign climes – getting a suntan and drinking pina coladas.

So is London really subsidising the rest of the UK or does the vampire squid drain the very life blood from the rest of the regions of the UK?

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Ed - July 11, 2016

There’s a different way of looking at that question, though:

“Figures derived from a research report by IPPR, show Londoners receive £5,203 more per head on capital investment than people in the north-east – a discrepancy sure to reignite a long-running row on whether London’s growth is coming at the detriment of the rest of the UK.”

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/aug/07/london-gets-24-times-as-much-infrastructure-north-east-england

Also, the need for London to ‘subsidize’ the rest of the country largely comes from having an economy that is only meant to work for (the City of) London and the south-east.

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3. Michael Carley - July 10, 2016

As good here as anywhere, I suppose:

The strange geopolitical mindset of British unionists was most revealingly articulated during the 2014 Scottish referendum, when former prime minister Gordon Brown asked if an independent Scotland could lead “a new wave of secessionist movements that strike at the heart of the advanced industrial world? Could it be the pacemaker for nationalist breakaways in Spain, Belgium, and eastern Europe and for a thousand liberation movements in the developing world?”

Almost as one, the Scottish left replied, “And that would be a bad thing?”

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/07/brexit-scotland-ireland-independence-referendum-sinn-fein-snp-sturgeon-uk/

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yourcousin - July 11, 2016

I happen to remember the Balkan BREXIT, not so progressive and while it is fine echo Chavez’es (spelling?) rhetoric it is worth remembering that he was so worried about being a socialist icon that he ensured that his revolution would outlive him by let’s say, maybe a decade on the outside of things.

I hardly think anyone here will be cheering if Jobbik ups the ante on tours of spaces lost to Trianon.

Just some thoughts.

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4. benmadigan - July 10, 2016

Looks like a non-runner to me – too little, too late for Scotland and NI give their brexit votes to remain. England will just have to put up with having Wales tagged on to it!

Furthermore, any federal country like for example the USA or Germany has a real written consititution, separation of powers etc which the UK hasn’t got and doesn’t seem to want. Not too long ago England certainly voted against regional government.

And what about the imbalance in population numbers? 50 million odd vs 5 million odd in Scotland and under 2 million in NI.

this suggestion looks like a recipe for disaster with so many powers being reserved for the new central British parliament.

https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/squaring-the-circle-what-no-means/

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5. sonofstan - July 10, 2016

It’s not a bad idea, or at least not the worst, but the British respect for ‘tradition’ probably means it’s a non- starter. There’s an article on labour list at the moment giving out about people who want to tinker with FPTP electoral system that has served us perfectly well. That’s what you’re up against. We’ve had it for a while therefore it must be the best, indeed the only right and british way.

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6. Gewerkschaftler - July 11, 2016

I call fake. Anything where (according to the ‘exclusive’):

… the shared UK functions would include the monarchy as head of state, foreign affairs, defence, national security, immigration, international treaties, human rights, the supreme court, a single currency, a central bank function, financial services regulation, income and corporation tax powers, and the civil service.

remains faux-decentralisation.

Only when Scotland has at least powers to raise taxes, control it’s central bank, enforce local regulation etc. etc. will some genuine federalisation be on offer.

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makedoanmend - July 11, 2016

+1

And many Scottish are not going to forget how the “promises” pre-referendum given by the other major parties in the UK have been watered down 3 times – (1) within 12 hours of the stay verdict, Cameron back tracked – (2) the Labour party then objected to provisions during negotiations on new devolved proposed powers which the Tories accepted – (3) amendments that were put on the final legislation.

And the Tories have been delaying the implementation of the watered down proposals, via bureaucratic channels, of many financial arrangements so that London legislation can further impact the Scottish before new powers are concretely passed into the hands of the Scottish government.

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7. Joe - July 11, 2016

Article in the Herald Scotland. Rathlin Islanders ‘half-jokingly’ talking about joining up with an independent Scotland. Senator Frances Black mentions left-field possibilities like a united Ireland, Rathlin and Scotland – not seriously proposing it, just saying ideas like that come up in converation post-Brexit.

Churchill still rings so true though: “The whole map of Europe has been changed … but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.” No matter what borders are scrapped or imposed, Mick and Billy in Fermanagh are going to have to learn to get along.

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8. deiseach - July 11, 2016

Richard Murphy torpedoes this idea with one line (although the accompanying article is also worth reading for his insightful thoughts on the nature of tax and money) – “Devo-max with an unaccountable English central bank is a recipe for a Euro style disaster” (http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2016/07/11/devo-max-with-an-unaccuntable-english-central-bank-is-a-recipe-for-a-euro-style-disaster/)

Liked by 1 person

sonofstan - July 11, 2016

Thanks for that. I love this sentence:

Tax does not, never has, and never will pay for government spending. Tax reclaims the money that the government has spent into the economy to prevent inflation. In the process of making that reclaim social, fiscal and other policies are advanced by the choices made on who repays the benefit of the spend incurred, and whether the repayment is required of the same person who enjoyed the benefit of it.

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deiseach - July 11, 2016

There was a very good article in Crooked Timer (http://crookedtimber.org/2014/10/02/render-unto-caesar-2/) making the point, via the wisdom of no less a person than Jesus, about the fiction that your wealth is a function of the sweat off your brow and all taxation is theft. Bottom line: if you want to use a currency, you pay the taxes demanded by the currency issuer. If you don’t like it, go back to barter. See how far your ‘self-ownership’ gets you.

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Gewerkschaftler - July 11, 2016

Being able / obliged to pay taxes in it, is one of the prerequisites of a functioning currency, and one of the reasons why so many ‘alternative’ currency systems founder.

Bitcoin and the like – principally technologies for money-laundering and tax avoidance as well as (technically questionable) anonymity – must parasitise other currencies to exist.

They will never replace state-backed currencies.

Liked by 1 person

Ed - July 11, 2016

There’s a small typo in that URL which might be a Freudian slip.

Liked by 1 person

Gewerkschaftler - July 11, 2016

+10. Richard Murphy is bang on as he so often is.

And Richard’s unconscious does seem to be showing🙂

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