Learning from the Scottish Referendum

One of the many refreshing insights to be gained from the Scottish referendum is that people became animated by a political choice when it is directly related to the sort of economy in which they wish to live. They want constitutional arrangements that can separate their forms of government from the interests of financial speculators in the City of London. They want to reverse the escalating inequalities of the past three decades and have forms of government and politics that can give them control over what matters in their lives, reversing the privatisation and marketisation of health, education, public transport and public utilities, creating vibrant regional economies and giving local people the power to shape local communities. The Scottish referendum debate was not about the fetishes of nationalism or the intricacies of constitutional detail; it was about giving ordinary people the ambition to change how they can work together to control their own destinies, how they can change the relationship between labour and capital.

If the Westminster elite, or indeed the Welsh crachach, can now be engaged in how to develop forms of government and politics that meet popular demand they would be seriously considering

– creating a form of UK Government which is separated from the public administration of England and is clearly charged with reshaping and regulating private finance whilst using public finance to redistribute income and wealth between classes and regions;
– creating a form of European government which is charged with controlling, taxing and regulating international corporations – instead of devolving powers of corporate taxation we should be centralising them into a pan European framework;
– not only developing the national governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland but also fostering regional governments in England;
– re-invigorating community government throughout the United Kingdom so that local communities have direct responsibility for their local services, local economy and local environment;
– developing globally competitive city regions through active partnerships between local councils and regional or national administrations.

It is ironic that at the moment, however short lived, that the UK is alive with the complex challenge of how to make the multiple tiers of government relevant to a popular demand for shared control and influence; in Wales we are distracted by the dull and deadening demands of the Williams Commission: how to have less government ever more detached from popular influence.


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