Simon Jenkins writes in the Guardian today ‘all hail to the chief’ in a rapturous welcome for Johnson’s (or is that Cummings’) idea to shift the House of Lords maybe to York (see yesterday’s blog). Jenkins is not usually so delusional and he seems to have lost touch with reality on this one. Hence a letter to the editor:
Of course Johnson would love to shift Parliament into the regions - the further away from the seat of power the better. It seems he's already learning similar tricks by diminishing the power of the lobby ('Parliament's lobby system now at the heart of the battle,' 20th Jan.) If Parliament is to hold government to account, then it needs to be sitting on top of Whitehall. Moving the House of Lords to York would just be theatrics, and it's not as if York hasn't got enough visitors already. The obvious alternative, so far as Yorkshire is concerned is to devolve power to a Yorkshire Parliament, but the slogan 'power to the regions' rarely leads to genuine devolution.
I’m not about to jump ship to the Yorkshire Party. Genuine devolution should be available for all English regions. The last time ’devolution’ was offered, to the North East in 2004 it was swiftly kicked into touch by the electorate in a referendum with 78% against. I think they saw through the shallowness of New Labour’s then proposal and weren’t enthused about the thought of having a new tier of politicians elected merely to talk about spatial development strategies. The idea was deservedly sunk, it was quite plainly not worth the paper it was written on. Nor is the current proposal.
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