Thursday, December 02, 2010

Prepare to exercise power, ye common man.

We have not had a Prime Minister as radical as David Cameron in my memory - and I go back to Macmillan. At least on constitutional issues. He's committed to giving away power. He said he would before he was elected - and he's delivering big-time. Lets look at what's simmering away in the political 'bubble' this week.

First up is 'fixed term parliaments'. For ever, Britain's Prime Minister has had at his disposal the ability to call a General Election when it best suited his or her party. No more. There will be a General Election every 5 years, and the next one will be in May 2015. Personally, I reckon there's a fair case for a four year fixed term, but I'm happy to support five.

And then, there's the Calman proposals for Scotland. By the end of this current Parliament, the 'block grant' handed to Scotland every year will be cut by 35%, as will Income Tax in Scotland by 10p in the pound. Actually these figures may vary a bit, but its the principle that counts. The Scottish Government will then decide how much of the 10p to impose North of Hadrian's Wall - or more than 10p perhaps. The annual budget debate in the Scottish Parliament will be transformed into a genuine debate about a budget rather than just about a spending plan. And I fully expect the same principle to be extended to the Government of Wales - a la Gerry Holtham. Expect the standard of debate to rocket - because budget debates will make a real difference.

And today, the Home Secretary has announced her plans to give all of us a vote to decide who should be elected as chief of our Police Authorities. We are expecting the elections to be held in 2012. This is not exactly finding full favour with every police representative, or with the doomed Police Authorities. This is radical stuff. And I've not going in to what is happening in the NHS in England, because my constituency is in Wales. An interesting question is whether we are ready for all this democracy, and all these votes we are going to be casting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Saw you supporting Mrs Gillian today Glyn