Dewi will disagree but theres an air of unreality about the Nats bargaining position. For one thing theyd have to do extraordinarily well and the Lib Dems really badly to hold the balance in a hung ( or as they prefer balanced Parliament. For another, as my colleague Alan Trench analyses trenchantly ( sorry) in his authoritative blog Devolution Matters, theres little to attract either the Conservatives or Labour about their terms. I will give Dewi one point. After comments in a post so far back I cant find it about the leaders’ TV debates, Alex Salmonds second idea of a fourth leaders debate featuring the SNP and Plaid leaders along with the others, with devolution as a main theme, is a good one. But too late now! Meanwhile the whole Ucunf thing is on another planet.
What the Conservatives failed to realise is that what’s left of the UUP, like the DUP is essentially an Ulster first party, more like a nationalist party and not an integrationist one and never really was. Watchman’s critique is pretty sharp.
Alan Trench extrs
The key agreed demands are:
1. Fair funding for Wales and Scotland
2. Protecting local services and the most vulnerable
3. Action to help the green economy
4. Support for business growth
But theres a distinct air of unreality about them .
fair funding is hugely difficult. It really means no cuts; but the effect of that is very different in each nation. Wales is, so far as we can tell, slightly under-funded compared with England; Scotland, significantly over-funded
But this is not fair funding, if what you mean is fair to all people in the UK, regardless of where they live. In the likely climate for public spending, calling for no cuts is not very realistic either. Earlier SNP statements, such as Alex Salmonds speech to the SNP party conference last October, that they would use their position in a hung Parliament to secure financial advantages for Scotland, were actually quite reasonable what they were seeking were things that Scotland should have received had the finance system in fact worked properly. These demands arent like that.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London