Let the Games Begin! (Institutional Reform Edition)
Now on to solving the complex puzzle of the post-referendum UK.
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to deliver on the pre-referendum promises made by the three main Westminster parties to boost the powers of Scotland’s devolved parliament.
He has tasked Lord Smith of Kelvin, who led Glasgow’s staging of the Commonwealth Games, with overseeing the process of taking their commitments forward, with new powers over tax, spending and welfare to be agreed by November, and draft legislation published by January.
All of the comparative institutions types will, no doubt, be most fascinated by the process. At a minimum it will bring forth some excellent areas for discussion in the classroom.
Further, what will the post-reform UK look like? Will it be a further devolved version of a unitary state or will it start to look quasi-federal? Much depends on how they deal with England’s place in the mix. As long as Parliament functions as both the national legislature and England’s there is going to be conflict.
I am not sure, for example, how well something like the following would work:
Mr Cameron has also proposed a system where only MPs from England would vote on English issues in Parliament.
As BBC correspondent Chris Mason notes in the above linked piece, the issue at hand I more than just giving Scotland more power:
here is the sticking point: Can the two issues of England and Scotland be unpicked?
Labour is insisting that the two should be unpicked, that devolution for England cannot be rushed and that there has to be conversation in the rest of the UK, just as there’s been a conversation in Scotland.
But the Conservatives say the two have to remain together – that the English cannot be fobbed off.
This will not be easy to resolve.
Indeed. (For example, from another BBC piece: Labour warns of ‘two classes of MP’ if England-only votes go ahead).
A vote to reject massive constitutional change in one part of the UK has triggered a debate about just that in every part of it.