Lib Dems on devolution

The Lib Dems have very sensibly acknowledged Westminster’s different roles in England and Scotland by having separate manifestos. (the Welsh version will be launched tomorrow.)

Having said that, their statement on devolution is very similar to Labour’s.

Better government in the nations of the UK

Liberal Democrats have led the way in arguing for devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We believe that people in those parts of the UK, rather than the government in London, should take the decisions on issues that affect them directly. We will therefore strengthen the powers of the Northern Ireland Assembly and extend primary legislative powers to the National Assembly for Wales. In consultation with the Scottish Parliament, we will consider how to extend its role.

No mention of devolution for England, but English nationalists will at least be pleased that they haven’t mentioned the ‘nations and regions’ of the UK, and that they have pledged to create an English Tourist Board.

From an Irish point of view, I think more powers for the Northern Ireland Assembly are a very good idea, although obviously that requires the thing to be got up and running in the first place.

Incidentally, the Lib Dems want to adopt the Irish STV electoral system, which I think makes sense, as it would strengthen the individual voter and candidate relationship at the expense of the party machine. (exactly the opposite of what rival versions of proportional representation like the party list system would do.)






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