LETTER: Blair's constitutional reform: devolution, mayors, people power

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The Independent Online
From Mr Roy Chapman

Sir: So, Tony Blair wishes to modernise the British constitution and make it more democratic ("Blair plans to unseat hereditary peers", 8 February). But under his proposals, Scotland will continue to be over-represented in Westminster. Scottish Westminster MPs will no longer be allowed to vote on Scottish domestic legislation, but they will be allowed to vote on English legislation going through Westminster.

The present funding arrangements, in which for every pounds 1 the Government spends on an English citizen it spends pounds 1.30 on a Scot, are to remain, and the formula that produces this anomaly is not open for discussion, despite the fact that the circumstances which led to this funding arrangement in the 1970s no longer apply.

In England, the media and all political parties, including Labour, should wake up to the consequences of the devolution proposals on England, and the damage that will be inflicted on the Union. A British constitution based upon Scotland being governed by a Scottish Assembly and England being governed by a British Parliament is politically unstable.

Tony Blair is not prepared to take on the devolution juggernaut, and he has decided to mask his ineffectiveness by starting a phoney debate on reforming the House of Lords. The House of Lords has had no meaningful political power since the disagreements over Lloyd George's budget of 1912; consequently, it doesn't matter who sits in the Lords. Whether there is a union between England and Scotland does, however, affect us all.

Yours sincerely,

Roy Chapman

Paisley, Renfrewshire

8 February

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