Paddy Ashdown warns of national civil revolt as gap between Westminster elite and people grows

Nick Clegg used strong language earlier. However, that sounded like sweet nothings compared to Paddy Ashdown’s comments on the Murnaghan programme earlier. You can read the whole transcript here, but here are some of the highlights:

PM and Miliband should play Join the Dots in a darkened room

An interesting turn of phrase here as Paddy tells the two “old party” leaders to take a reality check:

Mr Miliband and Mr Cameron are already running away from the promises they made.  Mr Cameron didn’t seem to realise that when he made that promise he may not be able to carry his MPs with him and is now amending it so that it is somehow tied to English parliaments and English votes – we’ll come on to that in a minute.  Mr Miliband by the way, Labour didn’t even want to have devo max, they didn’t want it, they didn’t want it, they didn’t want it and then at the very end in a panic they accepted it without accepting it’s implications and now they are running away from it too.  Look, I suggest these two old leaders go away into a quiet room, these two leaders of the old parties, go away into a quiet room this afternoon and play a game of join the dots because if they don’t realise that there is something very close to a national citizens revolt against Westminster – it may be that the Scottish revolt, near revolution, may go away but I rather doubt it listening to Mr Salmond earlier on and his, in my view, entirely justifiable anger.  Now join that dot with the other dot, Farage and UKIP running a campaign against Westminster and the Westminster elite and you’ve got to realise that this is a profoundly dangerous moment, a moment by the way that I’ve been warning was coming for ten years now as the gap between government and governed grew.  To renege on a solemn promise like that will destroy Westminster’s legitimacy and reputation in Scotland and will do the same in England too and the consequences of that are very great.

I’m slightly more sceptical of Salmond than Paddy. The First Minister accused Cameron of breaking a promise that hadn’t been made on Friday, stoking the fires of frustration amongst independence supporters. It seems that what Paddy and Nick are trying to do is to insert some backbone into Cameron and Miliband but there is no real sign at the moment that they are not going to deliver on the powers for Scotland. I think Paddy is right to call on them to reiterate that that will happen and that the process is completely separate from the English  issue. He’s just trying to block of any potential escape routes, but I think he needs to be careful not to over-egg the pudding. It’s perfectly fair, though, to eviscerate Cameron for his political ambush of Miliband.

Power close to people

Paddy sets out what he wants to see happen in England – not a dog’s breakfast hastily put together, but a longer, more thoughtful process culminating in a Constitutional Convention:

Now I don’t want power devolved to England alone, I want to see it devolved to the communities of Britain, I want power to close to people, I want them to get involved in politics, not leaving it to the elite in Westminster.  You can only move there though if you take that series of sensible incremental steps but step one, and the thing that Mr Miliband and Mr Cameron don’t seem to understand, is to renege on the solemn promise that they gave to the Scottish people and playing politics within hours of that promise being made, will not only damage the standing of Westminster in Scotland but it will damage it in the whole country as well so I hope they stop and I hope they stop soon and put the interests of the integrity and respect for Westminster and the promises they made first and not petty party politics.

Take it out of the hands of the elite

What is the role of the Liberal Democrats in getting everyone to play nice and deliver decent constitutional change?

It’s really important that we get the British public involved in this and Nick has made a proposal in his article today that a constitutional convention, at the centre of it should be a citizen’s jury.   We have got to start taking this issue out of the hands of the elite in Westminster who have shown for far too long they are incapable of doing, far too much vested interest to hang on to the power structures they’ve got and we’ve got to get the people, the citizens of this country in involved.  Now if the Liberal Democrats can lead that process as well as forcing the other two to act as honest brokers they’ll be doing a really important job. Just remember, we’ve been committed to this policy for 110 years, we’ve thought it through, we’ve got the ideas, we know what needs to be done, we led the process in Scotland – I hope we’ll do the same in England too.

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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61 Comments

  • The Level of Discontent with the Westminster Elite mostly from privileged background, far away out of touch more interested in power than the people wellbeing and even taking pleasure in inflicting pain on the poor to aid the rich get away with raping the country and no elite paying the price for i.e.. bringing country to its knee’s in the financial crash, the mass immigration the union with EU all issues burning Be Warned

  • Rabi Martins 21st Sep '14 - 3:46pm

    Caron,
    Unusually for you I think you assertion that “The First Minister accused Cameron of breaking a promise that hadn’t been made on Friday, stoking the fires of frustration amongst independence supporters ” sounds somewhat biased and unfair
    The three Parties clearly wanted to give undecided Scots the unambigous message that if they voted NO Scotland would get more devolved powers and that this would happen within months rather than than years
    The outcome of the referudum proves that the tactic worked
    But what came once the results were announced were a Noises Off from both the Labour and Conservative camps casting doubts on whether these promised additional powers will ever come to pass. Even Nick Clegg’s article does little to demonstrate that there will not be a paddling back on the promises In the circumstances I think Alex
    Salmon is right to pose the questions he did so as to exert all the pressure he can muster to now make them (The Three Party Leaders) deliver what they promised

    Paddy is of course spot on
    “We have got to start taking this issue out of the hands of the elite in Westminster who have shown for far too long they are incapable of doing, far too much vested interest to hang on to the power structures they’ve got and we’ve got to get the people, the citizens of this country in involved”

    The article leads me to say one more thing.
    I think Paddy’s comment with a slight amendment – as follows
    “We have got to start taking this issue (Policy Making) out of the hands of the small closed group at LDHQ and tge DPM’s Office who have shown for far too long they are incapable of unholding what LIberal Democrats really stand for and we’ve got to get the people, the members of the Party ”
    could easily apply to the Liberal Democrats
    Now if we did that Paddy’s comments would have a real moral authority
    Otherwise it looks like another case of do us we SAY not as we Do

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Sep '14 - 4:07pm

    I just worry that a lot of people are just starting to lob this, ‘Westminster elite,’ term around an awful lot because it plays well, rather than because of any intrinsic substance. Yes – lots of people feel that our democracy is at an impasse. But all this stuff about, ‘more powers,’ (whatever that actually means) doesn’t sound any the more substantial. Is this idea of localism/federalism/devolution really on the nation’s mind? Or is it on the mind of those who write on politics website?

    Looking at how PCCs went it is far from clear to me that there is great appetite for locally-elected figures and localised powers. That experience is being totally ignored. Yes, of course centralised government can be out of touch, but surely the same could theoretically be said of just about anyone at any level of government. There is hardly a great groundswell of love for local Councils and places have not queued up to establish elected mayors. Ultimately if some Scottish nationalist wants to go down the neverendum route then I’m inclined to say, ‘let them.’

    It has just all started to feel like a dreadful displacement activity. Everyone agrees that what they want is, ‘change,’ or, ‘something else.’ Just no one seems able to articulate a convincing change or, ‘else,’ still less get the public to buy into it in numbers. Localism and devolution has just become chic. Previously it was AV, the Big Society, Lords Reform, Cleggmania. All got the internet all of a lather and nothing came of it – the turnout for the AV referendum was barely over 40%.

    By all means kick out at the Westminster elite boogeyman. By all means pound the keyboard. By all means be anti. Just ultimately being anti alone is for adolescents. If we are going to localise then it has to mean something and not just be an empty conception of, ‘something else.’ Indeed, a number if Liberal Democrats might do well to dwell on the fact that a considerable number of people see the EU as part of, ‘business as usual.’

    Indeed, here’s one from the pub last night – how would Liberals feel about localities declaring the smoking ban null and void?

    If we (and by we I mean the public at large, not any particular political party) want localism then fine – only let’s have something more than a displacement activity for our own failures to cohere around a political vision that doesn’t create a mass-whinge on the internet.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Sep '14 - 4:29pm

    From Ashdown’s remarks – ‘We have got to start taking this issue out of the hands of the elite in Westminster who have shown for far too long they are incapable of doing, far too much vested interest to hang on to the power structures they’ve got and we’ve got to get the people, the citizens of this country in involved.’

    Involved in what exactly? Why exactly do citizens not have vested interests? Pensioners have a vested interest in structures that give them the triple lock, the boomers have a vested interest in house price hyperinflation and I could go on all day. I have a vested interest in many things.

    If Paddy talked about the CORPORATE elites both in and outside politics, then yes, he might be really thinking about the issues here – just that’s not as internet-friendly I assume.

  • It is completely disingenuous to suggest that Labour are trying to renege on the pledge made by Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling for further devolved powers to the Scots. Every Labour person I know believes that it is the duty of all three Westminster leaders to deliver on the pledge. The pledge was never conditional on a revised constitution for the English but David Cameron and the Tories have now made it so. If Cameron and the Tories are allowed to get away with this ploy and the Tories rat on their solemn pledge to the Scots with the justification that agreement was impossible because of the West Lothian question politics in this country will have sunk to an unprecedented low. Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are absolutely blameless here. It is the Coalition who have to get things moving: they are the ones in power. If the liberal democrats want to engage in a properly considered response to the needs for a revised English constitution they should tell Cameron to get lost and cross the floor and join Labour who are actually talking about devolved powers to the regions. Do the Liberal Democrats wish to be remembered as the party that reneged on Tuition fees AND the promise of further devolved powers to the Scots in exchange for them remaining in the Union?

  • Igor Sagdejev 21st Sep '14 - 5:09pm

    @ mack:

    I don’t like Labour any more than I like the Tories (I’d even say less, as the Tories serve my own vested interests better), but you are right here: it’s DC who is trying to link delivering on his pledge with a peculiar pseudo-devolution for England. We an understand why, and can have empathy for him:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2763698/You-say-YES-English-votes-English-laws-MoS-poll-shows-fury-handouts-Scots.html

    and more of the same in the press, and Mr Farage gaining at the expense of the Tories.

    However, it is not our business to prop him and his party. If EVEM is necessary to save the coalition for a few months – we don’t need the coalition any more.

  • Paddy understands the shift that has just occurred.
    The English always knew that the Barnett formula was not to their advantage, and the West Lothian question always was illogical and rankled somewhat, but there’s an old phrase that fits the situation up until last week :
    “It’s the hinge that squeaks that gets the grease”
    Scotland *was* that squeaky hinge up until last Thursday. But what the Scottish referendum has highlighted [to the English], is just how much the English have lost out, treated as second class, and have been left behind time and again in this ‘pacifying’ application of grease to quieten the Scottish squeak?
    But Paddy understands that the Genie is out of the bottle. Milliband’s cynical attempts to kick the English issue into the long grass, are deeply misplaced and he will pay a crushing price. (As will anyone else, that tries that ruse?) Paddy is correct. Patience has run out, and the English will NOT allow themselves to be treated as second class citizens anymore. Any attempt to quash English discontent in a previous cynical era of a stitched up political establishment, would certainly have resulted in civic upheaval. Fortunately, we can now make radical social changes quietly, civilly and politically via the ballot box. Why ? Because we are fortunate enough to have Ukip as an alternative to the usual Westminster crony cynicism.
    Paddy knows that there is NO putting this back in the bottle, and no amount of ‘kicking into long grass’ that is going to stall from addressing the English issue?

  • Bill Le Breton 21st Sep '14 - 5:37pm

    The Cameron decision to give the chair of this initiative to Hague gives us room for talking to Labour as well as attending the cabinet committee. A labour, LD , SNP, Irish and welsh nats Bill could get voted through on second reading. Leaving the Tory ‘no devo without English votes for English issues ‘ without a majority.

    With Labour still on a 4 point lead over the Tories, we,d have sufficient bargaining power to force Cameron to support this ,all party solution, leaving Redwood and his like alone on planet Vulcan, or if Cameron sides with his right wing, it is he and he alone who breaks the pledge.

    For this to happen it is important we don,t play the man (Ed M) but the ball (keeping a promise on reform).

    There is a lot of power left to help the public to use in this Parliament.

    Who knows. We could even see another prime minister before May 7th 2015. hey, this Parliament Act provides plenty of opportunities for action.

  • John Roffey 21st Sep '14 - 6:05pm

    Although it should make no difference at all – YouGov poll for the Sunday Times shows CON 31%, LAB 36%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16%, GRN 5%.

    Perhaps it is now time for NC to abandon his primary aim for the Party – that of him continuing as DPM. Time for someone to start acting like a statesman – which PA seems to be encouraging.

    Although I think a statesman would firstly want the issue of fraud in the counting, raised by Dr Hill, to be resolved by demanding a recount – since this would only take a day.

  • David Cameron is trying to welch on a deal to placate his back benchers and that’s all there is to this. The Lib Dems do not need to damage their credibility or be tarred as untrustworthy by putting an ineffectual PM, his tiresome backbenches and the threat UKIP poses to his party above the best interests of the Union and those of the Lib Dems. There were no conditions attached to further devolved powers for Scotland . This is a thing thrown out at the last minute for purely party political reasons solely by the Conservative Party and should be nipped in the bud.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Sep '14 - 6:10pm

    Bill le Breton – I don’t disagree with you, but this is somewhat blasé to my mind. ‘Leaving the Tory ‘no devo without English votes for English issues ‘ without a majority.’ It might not have a majority, but it’s still a valid point. It certainly is rather more than theoretical.

    At the very least I would expect LDP candidates at the election to be asked about their thinking on England.

  • paul barker 21st Sep '14 - 6:28pm

    It is vital that the Leaders Pledge to Scotland be kept but the problem is that it was a pledge made by Cameron, not his Party. If Cameron is sacked what is to stop the New Leader saying ” I made no pledge, I wasnt consulted, my Party wasnt asked.” ? Parliament may, just, have a theoretical majority for any proposed changes but in practise, we wont get anything done in 7 Months without at least most of The Consevative Party on board. Its a tight timetable even with Consensus.
    Cameron has to do enough to keep his job & his Party from splitting in order to keep his promise & restain the growth of Nationalism in Scotland & England. His proposal sounds fairly minimal to me, can someone explain to me precisely whats so bad about it.

  • mack (Not a Lib dem) 21st Sep '14 - 6:35pm

    @ Bill Le Breton
    “A labour, LD , SNP, Irish and welsh nats Bill could get voted through on second reading. Leaving the Tory ‘no devo without English votes for English issues ‘ without a majority. ”

    Yes indeed. I would also suggest that the situation is so serious that unless Cameron agrees to unconditional, discrete legislation fulfilling the pledge made by the three leaders to the people of Scotland then under the Parliament Act Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband would be justified in a vote of no confidence motion to preserve the honour and integrity of the House of Commons. The people of Scotland would expect nothing less.

  • There are two very serious obstacles to delivering on the promise made by the three party leaders to the Scottish people.

    (1) The three party leaders neglected to get the permission of their parties to do what they did.

    (2) Cameron insists that the quid pro quo for greater powers for the Scottish Parliament is the removal of voting rights for Scottish MPs on English issues, a blatant power grab by the Tories.

    Cameron has Miliband’s head in a vice. If Miliband refuses to give Cameron what he is demanding, Cameron is threatening to renege on his promise. Either way, Miliband stands to lose substantially. What should Mr Clegg do? He should tell David Cameron that the promise has to be honoured, and that Liberal Democrat MPs will follow Labour through the lobbies to (a) honour the promise and (b) ensure that Scottish MPs continue to be able to vote on English issues at Westminster.

  • Linda Forbes 21st Sep '14 - 7:32pm

    Autumn Conference in Glasgow – Yes City – will be interesting if pledge has been kicked in the long grass by then.

  • Igor Sagdejev 21st Sep '14 - 7:45pm

    @Sesenco:

    (3) Labour will probably not really want an English devolution in such a way that they can’t pass their social legislation there.

    So prepare to fight on two fronts.
    As insignificant as we will be after the upcoming election, we have to stand our ground and maybe regain people’s trust some day.

  • David Allen 21st Sep '14 - 7:45pm

    Sesenco,

    Your conclusion is logical and honourable – We should vote down the Tory proposals which, as you say, are a power grab.

    The problem is that the Tories will then barnstorm to victory in 2015 on a cry of “English votes for English laws”, which will probably morph into a campaign for an English Parliament. The English Parliament is designed to supplant Westminster (which will gradually wither on the vine) and provide a permanent majority for London-centric Tory politics.

    It is a mistake to think that Cameron is reluctant to concede devo-max to Scotland. He is in fact delighted to make excessive concessions to Scotland. It was a trick of genius proportions to persuade Miliband and Clegg to sign the vow and to get Brown to front it up for him. Because it was in fact a partisan Tory masterstroke.

    Devo-max for Scotland is a huge lever for Cameron to use to get Devo-max for England. That sadly means a central English Parliament, not regional or city-based devolution, as regional assemblies would never have powers that would match those of Scotland.

    We can argue that regional devolution is a better solution, but Cameron’s populism is what is likely to convince the voters.

    The only way out would be to renounce the disastrous pledge that has been made to Scotland – but the Scots will erupt if we try that.

    So my bet is that we’re stuck with a Tory-led English Parliament. Game set and match to Cameron. He’s shafted us. End of story.

  • Are we to assume that the PM didn’t consult or even warn the Deputy PM of what he was going to do on Friday.? I certainly hope we weren’t party to it. However, clearly we are now in office but no longer in power.

    We should work cross party to isolate the Tories, and ensure the vow to Scotland is delivered without a botched top down fix in England. By the way the Economist is supporting proportional representation for England. So should we. If Scotland and Wales have it, so should England.

  • Still talking to yourselves!!

    Has nobody seen the poll indicating 60% of the English are hacked off with the status quo.

    Has nobody seen the Survation poll today where UKIP are now on 23% only 7% behind the Conservatives and 11% behind Labour, whilst your party is down amongst the dead men.

    The English are not listening to you anymore, they do not trust the Lib/ Lab/Con to act in their interests, and yet still you spend your time blustering and threatening all manner of things with your feather duster.

    I would have thought if you value the survival of your party, then you would be advised not to stand in the way of Camerons proposal, whatever duplicity he has used, you are not squeaky clean in the duplicity rankings yourselves.

    In the current mood in England those in the political establishment who act to deny England its parliament, and its right to a fair and equitable arrangement within the UK, if you are not with us, then you are against us. It is time to choose your side on correcting this democratic travesty, or take the consequences.

    As for the suicidal comment by Bill Le Breton:
    ” A labour, LD , SNP, Irish and welsh nats Bill could get voted through on second reading. Leaving the Tory ‘no devo without English votes for English issues ‘ without a majority. ”
    Go on try it if you are tough enough!!!

  • This is hilarious, Scotland has been the focus of attention in the Union fir the last 3 weeks – and now England feels left behind and alienated. Scotland has weighted 306 years for this level of attention.
    And Caron, you need to get over your dislike of the SNP unless you’d like to fight the next GE up there having broken a pledge AND a vow.

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Sep '14 - 8:24pm

    People need to think hard about why this is happening and not jump to conclusions that are convenient and fit their world view.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Sep '14 - 8:28pm

    David Allen – I think you are spot on. Cameron has played a blinder here. The pledge to Scotland is generous if not massively so. In fact my reading is that some of it is already in place. But the effect of it is to open up (entirely valid) questions about English votes on English laws and on that the Conservatives can’t lose and which may well hit Labour and LDP very hard. And all on an issue that probably no voter puts anywhere near the top of their list of priorities. It will be a grisly choice of advocating another, likely deeply unpopular layer of government or being, not unreasonably, seen as showering rose-petals on Scotland and not caring about England. And, just for good measure, no Tory will challenge him on this because it’s a Labour-fronted deal.

    I really can’t see the alternatives. Regional devolution is full of difficulties (and it’s not clear to me that anyone wants it). City devolution doesn’t look promising given the way elected mayor votes have gone. More powers for local government will probably be the freedom to make unpopular decisions.

    And just for good measure we’ve got to go through all this again with the EU renegotiation.

    To paraphrase the headline to a certain editorial – the conservative moment has arrived.

  • David Allen wrote:

    “The problem is that the Tories will then barnstorm to victory in 2015 on a cry of “English votes for English laws”,”

    Will they? I wonder. Ted Heath thought he would barnstorm to victory in February 1974 on a cry of “Who runs the country, the government or the unions?” Similarly, William Hague’s “X number of days to save the pound”. Mr Cameron could well find, to his irritation, that people on the doorstep want to talk about jobs and living standards, schools and hospitals. People might not be that exercised by English votes for English laws. I recall that at the 1992 general election, Nicol Stephen lost Kincardine & Deeside to the Tories, having won it from the Tories at a byelection a couple of years earlier. Why? My understanding from the party’s campaigning cognoscenti is that the campaign was fought on constitutional rather than bread-and-butter issues. Is it not possible that the Tory right is leading Cameron up the garden path?

    “The English Parliament is designed to supplant Westminster (which will gradually wither on the vine)”

    That cannot happen. That is because the Westminster Parliament has plenary jurisdiction, whereas a putative English Parliament, like the Scottish Parliament and, indeed, Kent County Council, would have derived jurisdiction which Westminster could recover at any time it so chose.

    BTW, I consider that the one legitimate grievance that the objectors have is the Barnett formula, which is blatantly unfair. That could be rejigged as a compromise.

  • mack (Not a Lib dem) 21st Sep '14 - 8:42pm

    Pace Raddiy, if UKIP win the Clacton by-election expect the clamour for the simplistic destruction of the House of Commons and its replacement by an English Parliament to reach a crescendo, even when no-one knows whether the devolved powers to Scotland would really justify it.

  • mack (Not a Lib dem) 21st Sep '14 - 8:57pm

    A Labour, Lib-Dem strategy might of course be to insist that the devolved powers to Scotland be treated as an unconditional, discrete piece of legislation, which of course it should be. Going forward we could then press for any “English Parliament” to be elected on the basis of a pure and unadulterated form of P.R. That would provide the basis for all kinds of coalitions to defeat the Tory hegemony.

  • Little Jackie Paper 21st Sep '14 - 9:02pm

    Sesenco – Ordinarily I’d agree with you in the sense that bread-and-butter issues should be above what is basically local government reform. However there are three thing that make me think that this time it will be different. 1) UKIP WILL target this. This will be something their people make an issue. 2) The SNP will almost certainly be demanding more and banging the nationalist drum. 3) We already know that bread-and butter will be cuts. That’s already decided and nothing will change there between now and likely 2018. And there is also the EU referendum that will affect questions of constitutional settlement.

    LDP candidates WILL be asked about this in 2015.

  • Igor Sagdejev 21st Sep '14 - 9:08pm

    PR? Ah this is so unEnglish!

  • David Allen.
    I’ve heard variation on the Tories will barnstorm into power if we do this or don’t that for years. The fact is they can’t break out of their heartlands The Tories are on life support in the north, stone cold dead in most urban areas, down to the last man standing in Scotland and gravely ill in Wales. They couldn’t storm a paper bag and English nationalism is not unifying in the way Scottish Nationalism is because great chunks of the Country feel as resentful of our Westminster elites, especially old Etonian Tories, as Scottish Nationalist do. You cannot fight as an anti establishment party if you basically are the establishment.

  • “(1) The three party leaders neglected to get the permission of their parties to do what they did.” [Sesenco 21st Sep ’14 – 7:18pm]

    They didn’t need to get the permission of their parties – the leaders were elected by the electorate to govern and hence can reach any agreement they wish without consulting their repective parties. However, they do have to present the deal to MP’s, who will need to approve it if it is to fly. I suspect David Cameron is playing rather high stakes, either MP’s back him or effectively deliver a vote of no confidence, in which case he can resign having attempted to deliver on his promise to voters, leaving Westminster to sort out the mess it will have created for itself.

  • Seems a bit rich for a senior Lib Dem to be blaming the ‘old parties’ for broken promises and a disconnect from Westminster. Paddy may well have a pertinent point over Scotland but don’t suggest the party is above the fray after the promise of a ‘new style’ of politics was followed by a u-turn on austerity and the tuition fees debacle.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 21st Sep '14 - 11:52pm

    @simon Hunt

    I absolutely agree but this issue transcends everything. Cameron’ s duplicity over our pledge to the Scottish People has made me ashamed to be English.

  • Bill Le Breton 22nd Sep '14 - 7:42am

    Fast tracking English Votes for English Laws can be portrayed as protecting the privileges of the Westminster elite, but obviously holding a policy of a Constitutional Convention with Citizens Jury could include terms of reference which provide both more power and more resources for fully devolved Parliaments for Scotland, Wales, Northern Island and England. it would be this that unites the Rest against the Tories and their delight in the comfortable clubby life of Westminster. The terms may also include the geographical separation of the devolved Parliament in England from the Uk Parliament. And the requirement that modern technology is exploit to allow representatives to work from their constituencies.

    Secondly I agree with those that say that we should and the people want their politicians to work on the bread and butter issues. Of jobs, homes, skills, health, welfare, environmental projects and the creation of and redistribution of opportunities.

    It is clear that the LD economic proposals for the next Parliament are close to Labour’s and both presently allow investment expenditure to be outside the definition of a balanced budget. That probably sets up a £30 billion fund for the above projects. Pushing back by 2 years the requirement to reach a balanced cyclical budget would probably make available a further £30 billion. the chance to rebuild the nations’ infrastructure and economy. A project that united the Greens, Scots Nats, welsh Nats, Labour, ourselves and a Majority of the public against UKIP and the Tories.

    And what have we to lose by such a campaign, standing as we do in the ruins of too close association with the Tories.

    We could fight such a an election on truly Liberal terms of a state that creates opportunities and positive Liberties, rather than pressing forward with our hopeless experiment under Laws Alexander and Clegg that is about to end in the extinction of the Party as a fighting force for two generations.

  • John Roffey Your proposal for a “only take one day” recount of Referendum votes does have one big flaw – it actually requires an Election Petition to reopen recount and revise results arising from errors in the count, AFTER a result has been declared. Now I am not absolutely sure this is exactly the case with the referendum result, but can’t see there is likely to be any difference made with the normal counting protocols used in any other poll. This would mean a full court process, and somebody or people able and willing to pay for it. Many accusations of this type have fallen at the first hurdle because of this barrier.

    It maybe that there needs to be an amendment to that law / convention, but that is the current position.

  • Glenn said (and others echoed):

    “I’ve heard variation on the Tories will barnstorm into power if we do this or don’t that for years. The fact is they can’t break out of their heartlands The Tories are on life support in the north … They couldn’t storm a paper bag and English nationalism is not unifying in the way Scottish Nationalism is because great chunks of the Country feel as resentful of our Westminster elites, especially old Etonian Tories, as Scottish Nationalist do.”

    Tell that to Lynton Crosby. Wishful thinking is the worst way to plan action. The Tories have frequently barnstormed into power on the basis of short term sentiment (Falklands, Winter of Discontent, etc) and they can do it again. The plain fact is that Devo-Max is a huge shift of power towards Scotland. There is great scope for the unprincipled to exploit an English backlash. Cameron and Farage will compete to do so. If you think the country will divide on a north-south basis, just look at the national distribution of UKIP’s vote. A party led by a wealthy southern stockbroker, swilling his pint in a comfortable Home Counties pub, actually gets more support from the North than from London!

  • Bill le Breton said:

    “Fast tracking English Votes for English Laws can be portrayed as protecting the privileges of the Westminster elite, but obviously holding a policy of a Constitutional Convention …. (could) unite the Rest against the Tories and their delight in the comfortable clubby life of Westminster.”

    I just wish I could believe that this will work, that’s all. It is objectively right to say that genuine devolution would be fairer than a London-centric English Parliament, and that it is bread and butter issues that matter. However, the Crosbies and the Karl Roves don’t care about any of that. They know that to win an election for the Right, you have to find a good scam. Creating a resentment, and then exploiting it, is a brilliant scam. Cameron has created the resentment by ceding too much to Scotland, and brilliantly tying Miliband, Clegg and Brown into his scam. Now he will exploit the resentment by demanding compensation for England. Sorry, it’s a winner.

  • I said “The English Parliament is designed to supplant Westminster (which will gradually wither on the vine)”, and Sesenco replied:

    “That cannot happen. That is because the Westminster Parliament has plenary jurisdiction, whereas a putative English Parliament, like the Scottish Parliament and, indeed, Kent County Council, would have derived jurisdiction which Westminster could recover at any time it so chose.”

    In theory Sesenco has a point. However, even with its present limited powers, Holyrood has been a magnet for leading Scottish politicians who have often left Westminster to migrate there. An English Parliament will be a standing invitation for English nationalists like Farage to campaign for a transfer of power from Westminster. Like Salmond, they may not achieve their stated aims, but they may well win a lot of elections in the course of trying.

  • I don’t understand why people are afraid of an English Parliament (minus Greater London, which is separately devolved on its own of course) in the first place. It certainly beats the English Grand Committee idea by a long way.

    Permanent Tory rule? Come on, I thought we put that myth out during the referendum campaign – 1974 and 2010 are the only two elections in recent history that English votes were overruled in forming the resulting government.

    And if we do build an English parliament, how will it be constituted? The Welsh Assembly uses the d’Hondt system of proportional representation. The London Assembly uses the d’Hondt system. The Scottish Parliament, d’Hondt. I suspect an English Parliament will likewise operate that way, and I suspect that the Westminster MPs creating it will be only too happy to make sure that the English Parliament finds it harder to form majority single party governments. They’ll hope that it will mean they still get to have a leadership role in the union.

    In the long run allowing the countries of the UK to fly in looser formation may make them less inclined to break apart from eachother. It may conversely lead to them drifting further apart until independence from the UK becomes a mere formality for each. If Westminster manages to find itself a role, sandwiched in between countries that people increasingly identify with and a Europe that grows increasingly important as the world stage element of our government, fine. But if not, we’ll have independence for those as want it, and a proper democracy for England.

  • Malcolm Todd 22nd Sep '14 - 2:21pm

    David Allen
    “even with its present limited powers, Holyrood has been a magnet for leading Scottish politicians who have often left Westminster to migrate there.”

    Really? Who? Donald Dewar, yes. Alex Salmond obviously, but then that’s precisely because he’s a Scottish nationalist politician, so obviously a completely different case and not relevant to this argument. Who else? Not Brown, Darling, Alexander, Kennedy … not even Malcolm Rifkind (who could easily have got a Regional seat in the Scottish parliament but tried to get his old Westminster seat back and when that failed, fled to London instead) or Robin Cook. I just don’t think the evidence supports your argument here.

  • Malcolm Todd 22nd Sep '14 - 2:35pm

    T-J
    Thank god — I was beginning to think I was the only one left who didn’t believe this nonsense about the permanent Tory majority in England!

  • The comments in this thread by Little Jackie Paper should not be ignored. Up to now there has been little evidence of enthusiasm for regional devolution in England – one of the difficulties being the lack of identification of most people with “regions” they do not warm to as distinct from local cities, towns, villages or sometimes counties. The question of how to devolve power from Westminster – desirable as a broad concept – needs very careful thought.

    Also I think the temptation in the light of the referendum result to devolve too much power to Scotland should be resisted. There is no point in establishing through this lengthy and fraught process that a distinct majority of Scots do not wish to break up the UK and then go way down the road towards virtually breaking it up anyway. As I understand it devo max means Westminster dealing with foreign affairs and defence of the realm and Holyrood dealing with everything else. To my mind this would definitely be a bridge too far and I am glad that no-one in the run up to the referendum has offered this, A crucial issue therefore is how much increase in powers will be on the table? It is absolutely vital that the Westminster parties fulfil the pre-referendum “vow” but they should not feel impelled to let l SNP call the shots on the extent of powers devolved. Bear in mind that Alex Salmond has fired his only real weapon and there was only one shell in the breach. Surely no-one seriously believes that any combination of Westminster parties will allow Scottish separatists to have another independence referendum in any of our lifetimes?

    The more restraint in devolving powers to Scotland the more the West Lothian question will avoid being the unanswerable dilemma it now is.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep '14 - 3:18pm

    Little Jackie Paper

    I really can’t see the alternatives. Regional devolution is full of difficulties (and it’s not clear to me that anyone wants it). City devolution doesn’t look promising given the way elected mayor votes have gone. More powers for local government will probably be the freedom to make unpopular decisions.

    Why are directly elected mayors linked to devolution? If Alex Salmond had proposed that an Independent Scotland would mean he personally would have all power over Scotland rather than it being in the hands of a Scottish Parliament, how would that have gone down? So how come we are told that centralising local government in a city the hands of one person rather than have it held by a shared assembly is “devolution”?

    Much of this call for “devolution” seems in fact to be divide-and-rule. The power of the state has been diminished, much of what it used to have has been passed to the big corporations. Devolution won’t solve that. Instead, it seems to be about setting region against region, country against country, each given the power to beg and plead a bit more to the fat cats. Underneath, wasn’t this what Alex Salmond was proposing? An independent Scotland would reduce corporation tax so encouraging the fat cats to move there, just as independent Ireland did the same and became a “Celtic Tiger”.

    Devolution of power doesn’t create more money. A lot of people seem to be supporting it supposing it does. People are angry about “the cuts” so they suppose there will be no such cuts if power is devolved. Er, how is that to be done? Local government now is a mug’s game, it’s about deciding where the next big cuts will come and taking the blame for them. If you tell people they must raise their own taxes locally to pay for what they want, it’s even more of a mug’s game.

  • David Allen 22nd Sep '14 - 3:32pm

    “Permanent Tory rule? Come on, I thought we put that myth out during the referendum campaign – 1974 and 2010 are the only two elections in recent history that English votes were overruled in forming the resulting government.”

    OK, “permanent Tory rule” is an exaggeration. Since 1970 we have had 11 general elections, of which six produced a Tory-led government and five produced a Labour-led government. Leaving aside the complication of hung parliaments, the broad implication is that in future, we might expect to see a 50 / 50 split between Tory and Labour rule replaced by something more like a 70/30 split. I don’t think Labour would feel that was a trivial change, and nor would I.

  • David Allen.
    Frequently barnstormed to power?. 32 and 35 years ago respectively with favourable boundaries with a membership that was middle aged rather than pensionable in a country with a vastly different demographic make up, plus an opposition that was mired in internal conflict and that eventually split to form the SDP. There is zero sign of a Tory revival capable strong enough to even form a majority government let alone barnstorming one.Their attempt to rush through English votes for English MPs is actually an acknowledgement of this.
    Wishful thinking has nothing to with it. The Tories biggest electoral success recently was to not get beaten in one of their safest seats by UKIP. Third in the EU elections, Second in the Local elections, dead in unban areas, the North, Scotland and Wales. Show me evidence of a tory revival that isn’t from the last century !

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep '14 - 3:44pm

    Denis

    As I understand it devo max means Westminster dealing with foreign affairs and defence of the realm and Holyrood dealing with everything else.

    It would also mean an arrangement that resolves the currency issue. I think this could be done by a smallish assembly drawn from the Parliaments of the nations of the UK, with “Westminster” then becoming the English Parliament. Separate elections to this assembly would be too abstract. Membership should be somewhere between proportional on size of population and equal for each nation.

  • David Allen 22nd Sep '14 - 4:46pm

    Glenn,

    OK, so you think that the party who are now in charge, who have dominated government for a century, who are bankrolled by the richest, and whose leader is overwhelmingly more popular than his opponents, are a complete busted flush. No doubt you think the Lib Dems will roll all over them in 2015. But you’re not someone who goes in for wishful thinking. Oh no!

  • Matthew Huntbach

    Where has the United Kingdom gone if all we have at the centre is “a smallish committee drawn from the Parliaments of the nations of the UK”? As you have yourself said a couple of posts back – “devolution [I take it you mean over-strong devolution] seems to be about setting region against region, country against country, each given the power to beg and plead a bit more to the fat cats……….If you tell people they must raise their own taxes locally to pay for what they want, it’s even more of a mug’s game.”

    Quite!

  • David Allen.
    Busted flush is a little too strong, but yes I think that a Tory party that accepted coalition because it couldn’t form a majority government in 2010 and has lost ground since then despite having a tame press, a successful Olympics, a royal wedding, jubilee and a recovering economy has fundamental problems when it comes to widening its electoral appeal. I simply can’t see where those extra votes are going to come from. The Tories were very reliant on boundary changes and the Labour Party dissolving into internal struggles. Neither of which happened, Do I think the Tories might still be the biggest party in May 2015 it’s definitely possible, but win outright? I can’t see it.

  • Little Jackie Paper 22nd Sep '14 - 7:04pm

    Huntbach – I agree. Devolution can very easily become the ideal model for corporate interests. Politics of course is the study of the allocation of power. Plainly power flows to and is wielded by the monied elites (government or corporate), however devolved the state might or might not be.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep '14 - 10:57pm

    Denis

    Where has the United Kingdom gone if all we have at the centre is “a smallish committee drawn from the Parliaments of the nations of the UK”?

    Well, mostly it has gone to England, seeing as how 85% of the UK population is in England.

    I wrote “smallish assembly”, not “committee”, I think the word “assembly” implies something larger than a committee. I have in mind something like the Benelux Parliament. This would manage those aspects of economic policy necessary to maintain a common currency, plus as suggested foreign relations and defence.

    To me, the Scottish referendum was not an outright rejection of independence, but it was a rejection of what was proposed – rushing into it without an answer to some critical questions on issues like the currency one and EU membership. Had these things been dealt with by some sort of co-ordinating organisation, which could retain the national label for the sake of EU membership, and would safeguard the currency and so prevent the flight of big business from Scotland that independence without that guarantee looked like it might lead to, I suspect “yes” would have won.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Sep '14 - 11:11pm

    David Allen

    OK, so you think that the party who are now in charge, who have dominated government for a century, who are bankrolled by the richest, and whose leader is overwhelmingly more popular than his opponents, are a complete busted flush.

    Indeed. The consequences of the “nah nah nah nah nah, I’m never voting Liberal Democrat again, dirty rotten LibDems, rolled over and propped up the Tories” way of thinking HAS put the Tories back in power in large parts of local government in the south. It may have resulted in a small revival of Labour in those parts of the south where they had almost completely disappeared, but not much in the way of Labour winning more control.

    In the 2010 general election, the LibDems were breathing down Labour’s neck in the Lewisham East and Lewisham West constituencies, where I had helped build up the party in a place which was once classic Labour-Tory marginal territory. Now those constituencies are safe Labour. But in that whole host of Sussex constituencies where the Liberals had had local government success, and could reasonably expect to push that on to winning at Parliamentary level – as they DID in Eastbourne and Lewes – the Conservatives are now safe again.

    So, the “nah nah nah nah nahs” have achieved what Labour wanted. A return to the two-party system. A return to this country being run by the Tories most of the time, with the occasional Labour government. The only third party that had a chance of breaking through and was able to challenge the Tories effectively in their heartland has been destroyed. I don’t see any other significant third party building up a real challenge.

    So, there you are, “nah nah nah nah nahs’, long term it’s YOU who’ve propped up the Tories.

  • “Labour wanted. … A return to this country being run by the Tories most of the time”

    You what?

    “So, there you are, “nah nah nah nah nahs’, long term it’s YOU who’ve propped up the Tories.”

    It’s amazing what people can convince themselves of, when they sincerely need to believe it. Matthew, in the short term and the medium term and beyond, I’m afraid it’s you who have propped up the Tories, as you know very well. I’m sorry to say that, because I know you didn’t want to do that, and I know your motives were good ones. But if you’re going to lash out at me with a great burst of off-topic non-logic, you must expect an answer back, mustn’t you?

  • Matthew.
    The real problem with your view is the idea of tory rule with “occasional” breaks for Labour. Labour were in power from 97 to 2010. 13 years and three straight elections. There is nothing occasional about post war voting patterns, In fact it was often said that Labour were the natural party of government. As many people used to point out even in the Thatcher era there is actually a “progressive” majority. Hence a tendency to become more socially liberal rather than more conservative. Let me suggest to you that real problem is party politics and a tendency on what is loosely called the Left to see bigger enemies among their own ranks than to focus on what we believe in. So we end up clobbering trade unions, blaming labour, lashing out at the Greens, attacking the SNP and just generally turning on each other rather than getting organised. Personally, I want a nicer fairer and think it is achievable if we stop being suckered into party politics and moral relativism. Sure, I vote Lib Dem but it’s more down to the nuisances of liberal attitudes towards personal freedom than anything else. The point is that before 2010 there were loose electoral pacts between Lib Dem and Labour to avoid splitting the Vote and it was this that broke down when Nick Clegg decided to take the Lib Dems in to the Coalition instead of letting the Tories rule as a minority and basically unpopular government. This is in fact supported by the performance of the Tories since 2010. Their vote simply is not there. They are losing ground to UKIP because there are people who would vote for anyone except the Tories. Clegg’s problem was ambition and cognitive dissidence. He saw an opportunity but refused to see the pitfalls of forcing a broadly left leaning vote into support of a right leaning government. In short if you have the progressive left , high numbers of disabled, low income families and students on your side you do not join with the ancient regime to attack welfare and students. It is just crazy.

  • Matthew Huntbach 23rd Sep '14 - 1:08pm

    David Allen

    But if you’re going to lash out at me with a great burst of off-topic non-logic, you must expect an answer back, mustn’t you?

    Sorry, this is an English language issue, a problem that comes with our dropping the first person plural. I apologise if you thought that when I wrote “there you are, “nah nah nah nah nahs’, long term it’s YOU who’ve propped up the Tories” the word “YOU” was intended to mean “David Allen”. It wasn’t, I certainly don’t categorise you as a “nah nah nah nah nah”.

    Could you confirm however whether when you wrote “you” in your message of 12:38 you intended that “you” to mean Matthew Huntbach? If we had a proper first person singular, and that was what you intended to say, you would have written it as “I’m sorry to say that, because I know thou didst not want to do that, and I know thy motives were good ones”, then I would have known that for sure, because there is no ambiguity in “thou”, it means one person. However, it is possible that when you wrote “you” here, what you actually meant was a group of people of whom you include me as a member.

    Perhaps you could elaborate, since I am not sure how I can be counted as “propping up the Tories”, and you know I’m so dissatisfied with the Liberal Democrat leadership that I’m “on strike” as a party member, so it hardly seems fair to attack me using “you” to mean the Liberal Democrats as a whole as if I’m a loyal member who agrees with the leadership’s strategy.

  • Matthew Huntbach 23rd Sep '14 - 1:36pm

    Glenn

    Let me suggest to you that real problem is party politics and a tendency on what is loosely called the Left to see bigger enemies among their own ranks than to focus on what we believe in. So we end up clobbering trade unions, blaming labour, lashing out at the Greens, attacking the SNP and just generally turning on each other rather than getting organised.

    Thanks Glenn, I think that actually gets at the heart of what I was saying, that David Allen has so misinterpreted.

    We can agree to disagree on whether entering the Coalition was the best strategy. As I’ve said many times, my own feeling is that the route you suggest, of allowing a minority Conservative government to be formed, would have resulted in another general election held at most a year later, with Labour and the Conservatives getting together to fight it under the message “Get rid of the Liberal Democrats, so we can have stable government back again”. In the run-up to that general election the Tories would have avoided economic austerity measures in order not to lose popularity, and any adverse effects that would have had on the financial markets would have been written up as “Don’t blame us, blame the Liberal Democrats for existing, and so denying us the ability to govern properly”. You can hardly dismiss this as far-fetched when a year later in the AV referendum the Tories and those members of Labour who said anything DID join together in the “No” campaign to say “Vote No to get rid of the Liberal Democrats and return to a stable two-party system”.

    By “nah nah nah nah nah”s I mean those who have used the opportunity of the Coalition to try and destroy the Liberal Democrats by painting what happened in the worst possible way and refusing to acknowledge the real dilemma the Liberal Democrats faced given the Parliamentary balance in May 2010, and refusing to acknowledge even the existence of those of us in the party who are to its left and who aren’t as enthusiastic about what the coalition is doing as Clegg and the Cleggies make out with the rubbish they are spewing out from the top of the party. In particular I mean the way the Labour Party has done almost nothing to build up a coherent set of left alternative policies, and almost nothing to tackle the anti-politics feeling that has advantaged the political right because they don’t need mass membership as the left does. No, the Labour Party has just relied on “nah nah nah nah nah, nasty rotten Liberal Democrats, rolled over and propped up the Tories” to win back government in 2015, and from then on back to the good old two-party system, Labour, Tory, Labour, Tory, Labour, Tory for ever and ever.

    I accept the formation of the coalition as the least worst way forward in May 2010, but that does not mean I accept the promotion of it in the Rose Garden way as super-duper wonderful, what we Liberal Democrats have always wanted. Instead, I think we (the Liberal Democrats) should have made it quite clear from the start that it was a sad acceptance of what the electorate and the electoral system gave us, a “miserable little compromise” which we accept because we are democrats. If we had done that, the attacks you made would not have worked, at least not as well. I also think we should have built in an escape route, and that escape route should have been used when the Tories wanted to push the big re-organisation of the NHS in direct contradiction to the coalition agreement.

  • David Allen 23rd Sep '14 - 1:38pm

    Matthew,

    I did mean you personally. I wrongly took your previous comment to be a personal attack on me, as it responded to something I had said. I now see that this was a misunderstanding.

    As for “propping up the Tories” – well, neither of us want to do that. But there is something of a case for arguing (as I wrongly thought you were doing) that my anti-coalition anti-Clegg stance acts to diminish the Lib Dems and hence unintentionally weaken opposition to the Tories. There is also something of a case for arguing (as my wrongly annoyed response did) that your reluctantly-pro-coalition anti-Clegg stance means unintentionally weakening opposition to the Tories.

    These things are never black and white. It reminds me of when the Gang of Four left Labour to found the SDP, and were accused by Labour of propping up the Tories. They in turn argued that it was Labour’s failure to make themselves electable which was propping up the Tories, and that the SDP / Liberals would rescue things by creating an electable alternative to the Tories. Neither side was wholly right on that question. In truth – as Glenn argues above – it was disunity on the centre and left which propped up the Tories in the 1970s, and I don’t think anyone (Labour, SDP or Liberal) emerges with totally clean hands in that respect.

    However I don’t think it’s quite the same now. Clegg isn’t part of “disunity on the centre and left”. Clegg is a right-wing stealth usurper who, like Owen before him, has captured a centre-left party and turned it against its historic principles and supporters.

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Sep '14 - 10:32am

    Me

    Sorry, this is an English language issue, a problem that comes with our dropping the first person plural.

    I meant “second person” here, and again later in what I wrote at 1.08pm yesterday. My fault, was writing too quickly as usual, should have checked it over before submitting.

  • Matthew Huntbach 24th Sep '14 - 10:59am

    David Allen

    In truth – as Glenn argues above – it was disunity on the centre and left which propped up the Tories in the 1970s, and I don’t think anyone (Labour, SDP or Liberal) emerges with totally clean hands in that respect.

    No, I disagree.

    What I saw in the 1970s, which attracted me to the Liberal Party then, was that it was able to win in places in the south, where I was brought up, that were never going to go Labour. We have that legacy today in Liberal Democrat MPs for Lewes and Eastbourne.

    In the 1990s and early 2000s, I saw it and worked on it in another way – we were able to provide an alternative to Labour in areas that were strong Labour, and so stop people there going over to the Tories at times when they got really fed up with Labour.

    So I don’t agree with this idea that there should be one unified party of the left, or even what Glenn seems to be suggesting a permanent alliance between the Liberal Democrats and Labour so that the Liberal Democrats are in effect the rural wing of Labour. The result is the two-party system, in which the Tories win much of the time.

    I believe an alternative left which is able to challenge Labour when it becomes complacent, and offer an alternative is much the better way forward, and will result in a stronger left overall in this country and will push the Tories into the right-wing rump position where they ought to be. But Labour won’t have that. Labour don’t like pluralism and don’t like anything that stands in the way of them having the occasional bout of power, and plenty of safe seats and councils where they don’t need to do any work with the electorate. Labour would far rather be the sole opposition in a predominantly Tory country than share power with other parties and not have one-party dominance when they do win in a country which is more to the left. That’s why I denounce them as “nah nah nah nah nah”s, because they want to destroy all real competition with themselves, and they want a comfy life where they can win the occasional bout of power by going “nah nah nah nah nah” rather than actually make serious policy plans and make a serious effort to go out and win people’s hearts and minds.

    Because I was brought up in the south where Labour is weak anyway, I can see how their complacency benefits the Tories and damaged the left. They didn’t need to win over southern voters, so they left those southern voters at the mercy of the right-wing propaganda machine that is THE Sun. But also because they didn’t need to win over northern and urban voters in their safe sats either, they didn’t need to ensure they kept in touch with the voters, so they let left-wing feeling among ordinary voters to rot. The result is this huge anti-politics feeling, that the political right is able to exploit. It is absurd that we have people who go on about how unhappy they feel about the inequalities of wealth and influence in this country – and from that say they are voting for UKIP – a party to the right of the Tories in all aspects.

    Labour should have backed AV strongly, and moved to a position where left voters could back an alternative left without fear of “splitting the vote”. By backing an electoral system which advantages the Tories and makes it difficult for any alternative to break through, no matter how much the Tories move to the right, they ARE the biggest proppers up of the Tories,

  • Any convention will be dominated by people who can afford the time to attend. Changes must be made so that people can meet politicians
    1. All MPs and councilors should have meetings on Saturday morning so people can visit them them while shopping.
    2. Council meetings need to be not more than 45 mins away from peoples homes. Meetings should be held to so it is easy for working people to attend. It is very difficult to become involved if one works nights , away from home or have children who have to be looked after.
    3. Several meetings may have to be held in different locations so people within a LA or county council can attend without needing to travel for more than 45 mins at the most and ideally not more than 30 mins.

    Politics has become an occupation for people who do not have responsible jobs and do not undertake other activities.

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