The sounds of Tory MPs attempting to overturn or diminish David Camerons promises, no doubt matched by many on the Left and Right are already ringing out this morning in a manner that was all too predictable. However the welcome result in Scotland, whilst clear was not the decisive outcome that both sides would have wished to see if they were to argue that the Scottish nation had united behind one view or another. In wanting to understand the outcome, one cannot pretend that the late lobbying by the Prime Minister and other senior Politicians did not act as a factor. There is a risk that we might be forced to watch him or his colleagues argue that they can repent at leisure over his intemperate promises and those of his predecessor, this would simply show all of us how dishonest these men and women actually are.
What we need are for all political sides to make good the promises they made together and also the need for English devolution. The whining from many in David Camerons party regarding perceived control by Brussels over the UK, rarely translates into a commitment by some of the same people to allow local Government to make decisions as they see fit. Even this week we had yet another series of interventions by Eric Pickles. Having previously overturned decisions to agree to windfarms, because of the impact on local residents, he this week overturned the decision to block plans for a local School that had been rejected locally because of the impact of noise and traffic on local residents. He has also been reinforcing his view that bins should be collected weekly, even where local Government had decided to collect our rubbish every two weeks. Yet Mr Pickles is supposed to be the Minister for communities and local Government!
We need an English devolution that reflects the needs of local people. It must have a regional dimension (the Tories hate that idea because their chance to dominate political decisions into the future will be lost) and it has to be based on regions that are recognisable to local people. We already have regional decisions about policing, health and economics. There has been work done around some of the Metropolitan Cities. Devolution may be harder in places such as the South East or South West which have a distinct identity from London, but lack the critical mass in any one place to match locations such as the Northern Cities. It also needs to include the need for local politics to be reformed, avoiding the 3 tier confusion in many places, but not overruling the important role of Town and Parish Councils. This like good wine, with the cheese and crackers takes time to consume, if it is to be worthwhile. The proposal that we have legislation on such matters by the end of January is as ridiculous, as it would be dishonest for Parliament to fail to make good on its promises.