One suggestion made over the West Lothian Question and associated problems is that the Scots and Welsh should be persuaded to give up their Parliaments and their executives and return to Westminster where there will be Grand Committees for each whose deliberations may not be gainsaid by the others.

I would have no problem with separate but beefed up grand committees for each part of the UK, with a constitutional convention that no one over rides the vote of that committee.

But I suspect it is too late for that. The Genies are long out of the bottle as the Scots and the Welsh assemblies would now have to make a serious mess of it to earn sufficient enmity, nay the deep hatred of their electorates that their abolition is demanded.

The problem of many of these ‘English’ parliament fanatics is that they plan to lumber us with yet another layer of legislation and bureaucracy (with all the horrendous costs that would entail) but realise that people actually are repelled by the thought of it and so all sorts of ever-more convoluted means of deciding who gets to sit in it, where it sits and when (Mondays and every third Thursday of the month etc.) are proposed that the whole thing lacks any credibility.

An English Grand Committee is simple, cheap and evolutionary, which is how our Parliament has been arrived at in the first place, and involves no radical constitutional laboratory experiments on live animals, the consequences of which may well be unforeseen and perhaps fatal.

Given that this issue generates a certain degree of heat, though more smoke than light, the Conservative party must, if we can lure Ken Clarke away from his penchant for deep French Osculation of the EU for long enough, address it in detail in the next manifesto before it becomes a running sore.

The other problem is the Lords: how they are made to fit into this jumble would be even more complex than sorting out its reformed composition.

Almost all of the Constitutional tinkering has had serious consequences, some unforeseen but most flagged up well in advance. We really do not need any more of the same just now but rather a concentration on the issues which ennervate the ones who matter: the voters.

I believe my proposal has, moreover, the merit of simplicity, swiftness of execution and being consonant with the nature of the Parliament and the Constitution that has taken us nigh on a thousand years to evolve.

Part of the problem is that the EU now passes the majority of our law for us so that our MPs have insufficient to do: just listen to some of the debates to appreciate the trivia that is now felt to be worthy of parliamentary time. Recovery of our sovereignty will restore the role of the UK Parliament in a trice.

I would ally that with a radical stripping away of central government’s remit (and concomitantly a drastic reduction in its size)and its devolution much further down the line, to small local authorities, which, having far greater power would re-engage the ordinary citizen in localism and bring many more talented people into local administration and politics.

Sadly, we do not seem to do ‘radical’ these days.

Advertisements