The convention on Welsh self-government and fallout from the SNP reforms

[Wednesday]

Yesterday saw a step forward for Welsh self-government:

A chairman has been appointed to lead a convention to prepare the way for a referendum on establishing a full law-making parliament for Wales.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan and his deputy Ieuan Wyn Jones announced that former UK ambassador to the UN Sir Emyr Jones Parry, 60, was taking on the job.

Plans for a referendum within four years were key to the deal to form a Labour-Plaid assembly government.

Mr Morgan said the poll would be “on or before the next (assembly) election”.

The announcement was made to celebrate one hundred days of the One Wales agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru. It’s worth noting that the convention idea came from Welsh Labour, not Plaid, according to John Osmond.

And with “the great divide” making the news because of reforms by the Scottish government under the Barnett Formula, what hope of English self-government?

From the CEP news blog:

In Scotland, especially amongst the SNP and Scottish Tories, there is strong support for scrapping the Barnett Formula and adopting ‘fiscal autonomy’. In principle there’s nothing wrong with that, but the problem lies in the fact that when you make the devolved nations autonomous in matters of finance you by default, in theory, do the same for England, and it would be unconstitutional for a UK Executive and Parliament containing non-English members to decide how England spends its money; there has to be accountability. In short, fiscal federalism demands political federalism. Or, to put it another way, no Barnett Formula means that EVoEM [English Votes on English Matters] is not enough.

At the moment England is governed and financed as if it were the UK, and money is hived off to the devolved administrations as a proportion of what is spent in England by the UK Government: England is Britain in matters political and financial. Ending the Barnett Formula is the first nail in that coffin of that unionist conflation of Britain and England.

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