Political

Lib Dems to launch Cornwall Assembly campaign

Liberal Democrats in Cornwall are about to launch a campaign for a Cornish Assembly:

Lib Dems will gather in Bodmin next week to plan their campaign for new powers for Cornwall after the outcome of the Scotland independence vote.

The party has already voted for Cornwall to benefit from a devolved assembly, with powers similar to those enjoyed in Wales, at their most recent national conference in York…

Chair of the Lib Dem “Team for Cornwall”, Julia Goldsworthy, who lost her Camborne seat to the Tories at the last general election, said:…

“Ours is the only UK party committed at the highest level to a Cornish Assembly, and we have the capacity to deliver it. The Conservatives continue to believe that Cornwall should be ruled from London.

“Real devolution from London will mean we can devolve even more power from the new Assembly to towns and parishes all around Cornwall.” [Cornish Guardian]

This campaign highlights two other key points about devolution which apply across the UK. First, there is a huge variation in the degree of regional self-identity, and the degree to which those self-identified areas make for practical free-standing regional authorities, which makes trying to impose a uniform structure of devolution across the country very hard.

Devolving significant power to London at the start of this century without introducing similar structures for the rest of England didn’t wreck London’s devolution nor did it make things worse in those areas that missed out. Saying ‘well it worked for London but we can’t do it for anywhere else in England now’ is very questionable, to put it mildly.

In other words, devolving at different speeds in different areas in reaction to different local circumstances can and does work – and indeed given devolution should be all about sensitivity to local circumstances, it’s the sensible way to do devolution.

Second, extending that last point, devolution isn’t about shifting what Parliamentary votes which MPs get to vote on. Devolution is about taking power away from MPs, as I expanded on in English devolution: it’s not about which MPs get to vote on what.

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