Letter: Devolution is best for Scotland and Westminster

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The Independent Online
Letter: Devolution is best for Scotland and WestminsterSir: The three letters printed today (20 August) demonstrate a lack of understanding of devolution. First, it does not duplicate effort. Over two centuries the demands upon our system of government have increased enormously, with the addition of myriad responsibilities. The UK Parliament does not have time to debate important issues in sufficient detail. As many big businesses have done, it makes sense to do things efficiently by devolving responsibility to the component parts, allowing them to consider their needs in detail and at the same time freeing up Westminster to focus on UK issues in sufficient detail.

Secondly, proportional representation will help prevent corruption, unlike the first past the post system that has encouraged corruption at both local and national level. It is highly unlikely that any party, let alone clique, will gain a majority in the Scottish Parliament, as they would need to gain more than 50 per cent of the vote to do so. Instead parties will have to co-operate with each other, agreeing on policies which are thus likely to be in tune with the wishes of the majority of the electorate.

Thirdly, there are few areas where disputes between the UK and Scottish Parliaments can develop, as their respective areas of responsibility will be clearly delineated. In the event that there are disagreements, comprehensive mechanisms are proposed in the White Paper for addressing these in talks between the Cabinet and the Scottish Executive. Ultimately, any dispute can be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

In any case, it is better that there are occasional disputes between two elected Parliaments than the feelings of deep resentment that developed in Scotland while subjected to 18 years of Conservative rule. For a nation that consistently elected a majority of non-Tory MPs it was galling to be subjected to Thatcherite experiments like the poll tax. The depth of that resentment was demonstrated on the 1 May when no Tories were elected in Scotland at all.


Press Officer

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