Should England have a form of devolution?

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MrMacho
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#1
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#1
There seems to be a kicking in momentum for regional devolution in the north east on the back of the Scottish Referendum, but my question is should a more federalised devolutional system be introduced across England, with powers across a variety areas being moved down the chain to allow for a much more focussed government, and a much more accountable one?

My favoured system is to take the historic counties and use them as areas for devolution in England, with the major cities and major agriculture/tourism in the rural areas hopefully able to sustain the area.
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The Dictator
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(Original post by MrMacho)
There seems to be a kicking in momentum for regional devolution in the north east on the back of the Scottish Referendum, but my question is should a more federalised devolutional system be introduced across England, with powers across a variety areas being moved down the chain to allow for a much more focussed government, and a much more accountable one?

My favoured system is to take the historic counties and use them as areas for devolution in England, with the major cities and major agriculture/tourism in the rural areas hopefully able to sustain the area.
More bureaucracy.

The people aren't particularly interested. Could work, but the expense will be massive and if people aren't actively engaged with it it's pointless. Federalism has never caught the public imagination of the people of England. If people can't even turn out for a general election, why would they for local ones?
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MrMacho
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(Original post by The Dictator)
More bureaucracy.

The people aren't particularly interested. Could work, but the expense will be massive and if people aren't actively engaged with it it's pointless. Federalism has never caught the public imagination of the people of England. If people can't even turn out for a general election, why would they for local ones?
One of the main reasons people don't turn for general elections is because they don't think it'll make a difference, a more localised system would allow for much more democratic control and make decisions seem very real. We could make it an extension of the existing council system, to reduce bureaucracy.

Although my intent with this thread is for a discussion of whether in theory England could benefit from devolution, rather than to get washed up in the practicalities of such as system.
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The Dictator
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#4
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(Original post by MrMacho)
One of the main reasons people don't turn for general elections is because they don't think it'll make a difference, a more localised system would allow for much more democratic control and make decisions seem very real. We could make it an extension of the existing council system, to reduce bureaucracy.

Although my intent with this thread is for a discussion of whether in theory England could benefit from devolution, rather than to get washed up in the practicalities of such as system.
People already do not vote in council elections.
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MrMacho
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(Original post by The Dictator)
People already do not vote in council elections.
Because councils are seen as not having a great amount of authority. If a council-level authority was in charge of tax and spend, whether the areas soldiers went on the front-line, what people's welfare allowances were, how long people served in prison and overall in charge of everything that was non-national domain I can imagine there'd be a lot more interested in those elections. Especially if the elections were held under a electoral system that was more representative.
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MindTheGaps
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(Original post by The Dictator)
More bureaucracy.

The people aren't particularly interested. Could work, but the expense will be massive and if people aren't actively engaged with it it's pointless. Federalism has never caught the public imagination of the people of England. If people can't even turn out for a general election, why would they for local ones?
We already have local government. Devolution within England is more about giving it teeth.

Local politics has never really been that exciting in England because the power councils have is quite small, and their ability to effect meaningful change limited. But because local government is, by definition, on a smaller scale than national politics community groups and campaigns are much more able to have an actual effect. The idea is that if local governments were given more power (either within the existing county system or in larger regional blocs) people would feel more engaged because it would be something that really could have an effect on their lives. And something that they would be much more able to influence than a general election. It might not quite be 'power to the people', but it is certainly 'power closer to the people'.

What we are talking about here is taking power from Westminster and dispersing it across the country. I like the idea. If for no other reason then because different areas of the country clearly want different policies. And rather than everyone trying to enforce their politics on the rest of the country there's no reason why the can't have them.
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Rakas21
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#7
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#7
(Original post by MrMacho)
There seems to be a kicking in momentum for regional devolution in the north east on the back of the Scottish Referendum, but my question is should a more federalised devolutional system be introduced across England, with powers across a variety areas being moved down the chain to allow for a much more focussed government, and a much more accountable one?

My favoured system is to take the historic counties and use them as areas for devolution in England, with the major cities and major agriculture/tourism in the rural areas hopefully able to sustain the area.
Well i certainly agree with more local power although i don't really agree with historical boundaries. I think that an assembly should be formed with the powers of the London Assembly but stretching from the connected counties containing the core cities (defined as being of economic importance) of Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds-Sheffield-Nottingham.
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MrMacho
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Rakas21)
Well i certainly agree with more local power although i don't really agree with historical boundaries. I think that an assembly should be formed with the powers of the London Assembly but stretching from the connected counties containing the core cities (defined as being of economic importance) of Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds-Sheffield-Nottingham.
I think historic counties would make more sense, decent population sizes and sound better. The Assembly Council of Northumberland sounds better than the Assembly of Newcastle and The Bit nearby.
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Rakas21
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#9
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(Original post by MrMacho)
I think historic counties would make more sense, decent population sizes and sound better. The Assembly Council of Northumberland sounds better than the Assembly of Newcastle and The Bit nearby.
Just include the whole county.. the Assembly of Tyne and Wear

We probably differ in our motives. I don't care about people wanting something different, i care about the benefits to the economy that these places controlling tax and spend would have. It would essentially be a competitor to London in population. In addition, West Yorkshire (a very urban area) has radically different needs to North Yorkshire (a quarter of the population but about twice the size and no city to speak of since you can add York to West Yorkshire.
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MrMacho
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#10
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Just include the whole county.. the Assembly of Tyne and Wear

We probably differ in our motives. I don't care about people wanting something different, i care about the benefits to the economy that these places controlling tax and spend would have. It would essentially be a competitor to London in population. In addition, West Yorkshire (a very urban area) has radically different needs to North Yorkshire (a quarter of the population but about twice the size and no city to speak of since you can add York to West Yorkshire.
Northumberland is a separate county to Tyne and Wear - by your rule of economic sustainability Newcastle would need to be included in Northumberland as there's no major city (bar Berwick at a push, and I mean a push) - that's where issues will arise.
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Rakas21
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#11
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(Original post by MrMacho)
Northumberland is a separate county to Tyne and Wear - by your rule of economic sustainability Newcastle would need to be included in Northumberland as there's no major city (bar Berwick at a push, and I mean a push) - that's where issues will arise.
While Newcastle is a core city the fact that its alone bar Sunderland means i probably wouldn't be inclined to give Tyne and Wear an assembly. Northumberland and everything in it is irrelevant here.

I think we've misunderstood. My only referral to the economy was core cities which are already defined by the government, if we were to devolve power to county assemblies containing them then surrounding counties of no importance are irrelevant.

My push here is for the Assembly from Liverpool to Nottingham.
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Skunk
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The solution is simple. Have English-only voting days at Westminster. No need for regional assemblies that no one wants.
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Pee jay
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#13
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Yes, we need more devolution in England. Competition between devolved entities will lead to lower taxes and better services.
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gladders
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#14
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#14
I used to be unenthusiastic about English regional devolution, but now I think it's probably the only thing that can save the Union.

English-only days at Westminster are a bad and dangerous idea which would cause Scotland to depart the Union even sooner than it already threatens to do.
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Snagprophet
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The thing is if they change anything how would that go with other regions with English law? What extent can English assemblies change things? Will it be a glorified council?
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MagicNMedicine
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A federal system is fine by me - look at USA or Germany.
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gladders
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
A federal system is fine by me - look at USA or Germany.
In principal yes, but I would caution over a single English federal state; it's simply too big for such an arrangement to be stable. I'd rather England be made of a number of individual, regional states.

The historian inside me aches for them to be named after kingdoms of the ancient Heptarchy
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by gladders)
In principal yes, but I would caution over a single English federal state; it's simply too big for such an arrangement to be stable. I'd rather England be made of a number of individual, regional states.
Yes I don't think it would make sense to have governance at England level. If we go down the federal route then you could have a Wales level state and broad regions in England like Yorkshire & Humber, North East, North West, East Anglia, West Midlands that type of thing.
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DErasmus
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#19
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#19
Not really a fan of councils so giving them more power strikes me as daft. I'd like to see an assembly in main cities for regionally set welfare policies etc it's only common sense that different regions need to be handled differently...
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MrMacho
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#20
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#20
(Original post by DErasmus)
Not really a fan of councils so giving them more power strikes me as daft. I'd like to see an assembly in main cities for regionally set welfare policies etc it's only common sense that different regions need to be handled differently...
Some form of assembly system seems the best route to go down. That way we can provide decent sized regional areas with a large amount of power and take away from the Londoncentric catastrophe.

(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
Yes I don't think it would make sense to have governance at England level. If we go down the federal route then you could have a Wales level state and broad regions in England like Yorkshire & Humber, North East, North West, East Anglia, West Midlands that type of thing.
That seems a decent enough idea until you look into the size of some of those British regions, there bigger than Scotland population - which to me is the largest you should go in terms of devolutionary areas.

(Original post by gladders)
In principal yes, but I would caution over a single English federal state; it's simply too big for such an arrangement to be stable. I'd rather England be made of a number of individual, regional states.

The historian inside me aches for them to be named after kingdoms of the ancient Heptarchy
The historian in you can get stuffed, the Heptarchy kingdoms are too big.

(Original post by Snagprophet)
The thing is if they change anything how would that go with other regions with English law? What extent can English assemblies change things? Will it be a glorified council?
In the kind of system I envisage it most certainly wouldn't be a glorified council, something a lot closer to a mini-state in the UK like Scotland. A way to address the true democratic deficit in the UK - the one English people suffer against the rest of Britain.

(Original post by Skunk)
The solution is simple. Have English-only voting days at Westminster. No need for regional assemblies that no one wants.
No point, that still makes the north of England, greatly populated urban areas etc under-represented.

In terms of the structural make up this is what I'd look at personally:

Image

In terms of actual powers I'd back a system where by each area had authority others its own tax and spending and all powers associated with that whilst paying a fee for services that can only be administered on a national level such as foreign policy, defence, cross-county transport (motorways, railways etc) etc with all other powers being left to them.
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