When it came to office back in 1997 Tony Blair's government had plans to change the constitution of the whole of the Britain through devolution. Scotland and Wales were to be devolved first, and this was to be followed by devolution to the English regions. The plan came unstuck in 2004 when voters in the northeast of England voted decisively against regional devolution. The northeast was seen as the most likely to vote in favour, when they chose not to it became clear that no other English region would support devolution either.
According to an article in today's edition of the Sunday Herald Gordon Brown intends to resurrect English regional devolution when he becomes Prime Minister.
English regional devolution is a matter of great importance to Brown, because of his fear that his Scottishness might be a handicap in the next Westminster election. A number of English people already wonder why he should be allowed to be Prime Minister with overall responsibility over a number of departments and their policies, when those policies will only affect England and where the departments responsible for his home patch are governed by a different parliament and a different party.
Of course there is no more call for English regional devolution today than there was back in 2004, and no referendum in any region has a chance of producing a vote in favour of devolution. Brown may, therefore, attempt to avoid the need for referenda altogether. England already has Regional Assemblies, statutory bodies where councillors and representatives of public and voluntary organisations meet to discuss things such as regional development. Brown might just decide to "democratise" these bodies, by having their members elected rather than nominated.
Such plans must be resisted
Firstly because Cornwall is part of the South West of England Region, which includes the whole of the southwestern peninsula. Cornwall is a nation that deserves its own parliament, it is an insult to the people of Cornwall to treat them as a minor part of an English region
Secondly because such a scheme would degrade the national status of Wales and Scotland, they would be seen to be on a par with an English region such as the west Midlands rather than nations
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, because England is a nation too. The only way to treat England, Scotland and Wales equally is by creating a parliament for England and not by creating nine English Assemblies.
Cymraeg: Atgyfodi Datganoli i Loegr
Other blogs on this subject:
Tommy English: England is not a country.....
Ourkingdom: England's Turn for its own parliament