20 Oct 2014

On devolution the grey parties just don't get it


With reference to tonight's council motion on devolving more powers to local authorities.

I very much support the principle of devolution and the concept that power should flow upwards from the people rather than downwards from an over-centralised state.

However, if the Scottish referendum taught us anything it is not just that people want more power devolved but that they have been left feeling unrepresented and neglected by government policies and politics in general.

In pleading to the government for more devolution this motion ignores a key factor exposed by the massive Yes vote in Scotland. People do not want the government telling us what powers we can and cannot have. They expect government to start listening. They expect what the Green Party is calling for – a peoples constitutional convention with a broad remit encompassing meaningful electoral reform, votes for 16 year olds, a written constitution and, yes, greater powers for local and regional government. But, devolving power on its own is nowhere near sufficient and must be accompanied by fundamental reforms to local and regional government, something this motion fails to address.

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