Hwerow Hweg – Bitter Sweet

Posted: May 9, 2011 in democracy, devolution, electoral reform, english question, scotland
Lets get the bitter out of the way first. Plaid Cymru loosing AM’s to British nationalist Labour is regrettable but this has to be seen in the perspective of the self same nation voting for greater devolved powers on the 3rd of March. Wales is awake and on the move even if the party responsible for this, Plaid Cymru, has been snubbed by a section of the electorate.

In the English local elections even it was gratifying to see the Lib Dems get righteously stuffed – just deserts for their two-faced behaviour some might say – this was largely to the benefit of Labour and the Tories. It’s a shame fourth parties couldn’t have made more of this opportunity. Congratulations must got to the Greens in Brighton for coming in as the biggest group on the council but we need this repeated on mass across England. Equally why are there so many minor left-wing parties and groups who seem more interested in fighting amongst themselves over ideological issues than coming together to form a relevant force on the left of Labour?
Cornwall failed to take advantage of the AV referendum and make a bold statement against Devonwall via the mass spoiling of ballot papers. I can’t say I’m that surprised. Only one blogger was actively promoting this option. For such a campaign to have been successful it would have need the combined efforts of a united Cornish movement (oh for the day) and at least the support of one of the big three.
With its clear rejection of even the most pitiful of electoral reform and the increase in Tory councillors England seems to be slumping into a reactionary paralysis where any reform of its creaking political system will have to be imposed from outside. Such a sad contrast with the Arab Spring. This brings me to the sweet.
The Scottish National Parties massive victory over the UK’s sclerotic unionist parties will have a far greater effect on democracy in the UK than AV could ever have. Whilst the electoral system does need urgent reform – ie some form of proportional representation – the real issue is Westminster. With its monopoly on power, hyper-centralisation and mandarin classes shy of loosing any ounce of their influence, the seat of power in London is the real nut that needs to be cracked open so that its sweet contents can be re-distributed across the UK. The SNP  could well be on the verge of smashing the first cracks in the shell. 
Whether the Scots vote for independence or not the UK will still have to change. A continued re-distribution of power from the centre is inevitable. Some form of federalism appears the only option and already voices can be heard calling for an English parliament as the next logical direction for reformers to take. Surprisingly even from within the ranks of the arch-conservatives UKIP can be heard calls for a federal UK including parliaments for Scotland, Wales, England, the Six Counties and even Cornwall [1][2][3].
A decade of radical change lies ahead and now more than ever Cornwall needs to decide where it wants to go. Whether to strike out on a bold and empowering path or acquiesce as the toe-end of an uncaring centralised England. Equally all who are serious about Cornish self-determination – by whatever path – need to think long and hard about their current political allegiances, what they have obtained so far and what now needs to be done. 
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