Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Off Topic Tuesday #6: Devolved English Parliament?

First thing first, I should note that I'm not British, but just an American who gets interested in these kinds of things. So with that said, take this post with a grain or two of salt.

One of the things that's caught my attention is the debate over whether England should have its own parliament. Currently Scotland, Wales, and I believe Northern Ireland all have their own devolved assemblies. What's a devolved assembly? The best way I can explain it is to compare it to how states function in America. Each has its own government that sits below the Federal government. Each state can set their own economic policies, laws (provided that they don't conflict with the Constitution and Federal laws), and their own defense (in the form of a national guard and a state defense force), while the Fed handles affairs on the national level. In the United Kingdom, the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland work the same way, with the British Parliament having primacy over things that effect the entire kingdom.

Except there's a bit of a problem. More of an elephant that's quietly sitting in the room, waiting for someone to address it, really. The problem is that the biggest member of the United Kingdom, England, doesn't have its own devolved government. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I'm American, so I'm pretty well lost on why it doesn't have its own government. It's just odd that only three out of the five members (I'm counting Cornwall as separate because YOLO) do and the other two don't. In fact, this has led to one dilly of a pickle when it comes to the UK Parliament voting on laws. It's called the West Lothian Question and pertains to whether or not the rest of the UK should vote on bills that will effect England only and not the others. Personally, I don't think MPs from Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland should be able to vote on bills effecting England anymore than legislators from West Virginia should be able to vote on bills in Montana. At the same time, barring those same MPs from being able to vote on a bill just because of that doesn't seem write either.


So with that in mind, it makes sense to create an English Parliament and grant it the same powers and authority that the other devolved assemblies have and with its own First Minister. Similarly, Cornwall should get its own assembly as well, since it's a distinct region like all of the others. Gotta be fair, after all.

I also think that if England does get its own government, it shouldn't be located in London. I know that that would be the most obvious no-brainer choice for capitals, but having London be both the seat for the British Parliament and the devolved English Parliament just doesn't sit right. A single city, no matter how ground, can play host to two capitals. So I'd say put it somewhere away from London, pick one of the many other cities of England, like Liverpool, Manchester, etc. I'd imagine that there would be a nice economic benefit to this idea too, a shot in the arm for whichever city and whatever part of the country gets to play host to the new government. I mean, a new parliament building would have to be designed and built, which creates jobs. It could also attract businesses to the area, which just means more cash flowing through and I don't think many people would object to that.

Of course, there's a downside here: racists. Unfortunately, the idea of a Parliament of England has attracted the worst element that every country has, and this particular breed sees the debate as a chance to establish some sort of "English-only" utopia and as you can surmise, their view of "Englishness" is ethnic in scope, i.e. whites only. This, I imagine, is probably hurting the movement to create an English government more than it's helping, but those people are too dimwitted to recognize that. Ethnic nationalism is stupid.

So what do you think? Should England and Cornwall get their own devolved governments? Let me know in the comments below.

2 comments:

  1. The absence of an English parliament and the accouterments of nationhood that go with it leave sporting events and far-right demos as the only outlets for expressing English identity.

    There should be an English parliament so that we're all English through the ballot box, and the English flag should fly above English government, an English national museum, national library, etc. This would normailise English national identity instead of leaving it as a badge of resistance.

    Leaving England without any of the trappings of nationhood just creates a vacuum in which English identity can be subverted. Unfortunately the UK Government are only interested in promoting 'Britishness' as our inclusive civic identity, as demonstrated this week when the clock ran out on the bill to give England its own national anthem.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The absence of an English parliament and the accouterments of nationhood that go with it leave sporting events and far-right demos as the only outlets for expressing English identity.

    There should be an English parliament so that we're all English through the ballot box, and the English flag should fly above English government, an English national museum, national library, etc. This would normailise English national identity instead of leaving it as a badge of resistance.

    Leaving England without any of the trappings of nationhood just creates a vacuum in which English identity can be subverted. Unfortunately the UK Government are only interested in promoting 'Britishness' as our inclusive civic identity, as demonstrated this week when the clock ran out on the bill to give England its own national anthem.

    ReplyDelete

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