On Calman and assymetrical power relationships in the Union…

Three Thousand Versts takes Kalman to task for his report on Scottish devolution, and Chekov asks:

Surely this type of tinkering can only emasculate our national Parliament at Westminster and compound the asymmetries which Labour’s constitutional experiment has inflicted upon the United Kingdom?

He goes on to consider the recommendations, but seems unconvinced:

…the recommendations stress the need for different levels of government with responsibility for Scotland; Westminster, Holyrood and down to the local level; to work together. Indeed, it might have noted that an attritional relationship between the Scottish and national governments only serves to bolster the SNP’s campaign for independence. The report offers rather a convincing case for continued Union, as well as a clear exegesis of Scotland’s place within the constitutional fabric of the United Kingdom, but if its practical recommendations would ultimately weaken that Union, then the body has failed to satisfy its remit.

I’ll offer couple of sub constitutional thoughts for the pot. One from my ex River Path colleague, David Steven on Twitter this morning who noted in passing that the unlovable character of local government relates to the fact that it is actually responsible for raising very little of its own budget.

And the Mayoral system (a Labour innovation which is very popular on the centre right) in certain cities in England, where the vote for a populist Mayor in Doncaster is likely to lead to serious clashes between himself and his council, if only in terms of picking a ‘cabinet’.

These tensions exist. The question is less should they exist, but rather can they usefully persist in a settled Union?


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