These are the thoughts and moods of a born Londoner who is proud of his Polish roots.
Monday, 22 September 2014
Labour Party should call for an English Referendum in 2017
Steve Richards is right in his article "Forget devolution, the only thing that matters in Westminster is the next general election" about the political opportunism of David Cameron in bringing forward a contrived constitutional solution to other parts of the UK as well as for Scotland by November. The "Vow" in the Daily Record applied only to Scotland. The constitutional implications for England, Wales and possibly even Northern Ireland should not be hurried for the electoral convenience of one party, if for no other reason than they would complicate and possibly delay the promised required constitutional solutions for Scotland.
The Electoral Reform Society has already called for a non-party political constitutional convention to consider the various options. Such a convention should be given at least 2 years to consider the options away from the heat of elections and all concerned parties could have their input. Solutions could include a more federal structure as in Germany with increased powers to regional and local authorities, the abolition of the House of Lords and also the possibility of new political institutions in place of the House of Commons..
The Labour Party should support this and, in order to avoid being accused of seeking to kick the problem into the long grass, Labour should supplement their support for such a convention by promising that a future Labour Government would call an English and Welsh referendum in 2017 to confirm the proposed constitutional reforms. It could be a electrifying and popular decision showing that Labour was prepared to grasp the nettle and offer the English and Welsh public a choice. It would also place the Tory promise of an EU referendum in its cynical and limited context. If the Liberal Democrats had any sense they should follow suit.
The opportunism of David Cameron would be exposed and the Conservatives could not follow the same path and offer a referendum. To have called for one referendum in 2017 may have looked like political necessity; to offer two would appear to be carelessness.
letter published in "The Independent" 22/09/14