January 27, 2012

FULLY AMERICAN AT LAST:

As Scottish clamor for independence, English beginning to say 'me too': Scottish demands for independence are making waves, but south of the border, the English are getting tired of the union as well. (Ian Evans,  January 26, 2012, CS Monitor)

In a survey for the Institute for Public Policy Research released in January, just under half of English respondents reported identifying more deeply as English than British, and said they had grown weary of a devolution of power to Scotland that has made governing Britain more difficult. [...]

Report coauthor Professor Richard Wyn Jones said he was surprised by the politicization of Englishness in the findings. "I've noticed a more English identity among a section of English people in recent years - England football shirts, flags on cars, and body tattoos," he says. "But it was the political dimension which was surprising. More people believe the current political situation is unsustainable and they want better recognition of England within the UK."

Elected mayors are too good a chance to miss: Powerful mayors would offer stronger and more accountable leadership (Independent 27 JANUARY 2012)

At present, councils are run by executives or cabinets which are accountable only to local councillors and who are largely elected through the party system. As a result, the rigidities of the centralised political party structure are brought to bear on local government, where something much more dynamic and responsive is required. Because they are directly accountable to the electorate, and can be voted out after four years if they do not perform, mayors would significantly improve the level of scrutiny at a local level.

Margaret Thatcher began an emasculation of local government that continued under her successors as more powers were pulled to the centre. To reverse the trend, and put Britain's cities back in control, change is needed which will involve both strong leadership locally and a devolution of power by central Government. Directly elected mayors would mean a very real redistribution of authority, potentially as significant as the devolution of powers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Posted by at January 27, 2012 5:37 PM
  

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