Interview about how devolution is developing in the UK
For all those who are interested in the future of the UK there was an important interview on BBC Sunday Politics for Wales on 17th September 2017 with the RT Hon David Jones MP. Mr Jones is the Conservative MP for Clwyd West and is a former Secretary of State for Wales and a former Brexit Minister. The interview was interviewing about the way devolution is developing in the UK:-
I think it would be a good exercise for anyone interested in UK politics to listen to this and to say who in the British Government or in the devolved Governments is standing up for England?
Here is a video of that interview:- https://youtu.be/fgO8dpPNHGM
And here is a full transcript of the interview:-
“During his role as Brexit Minister (David Jones) worked with the Welsh Government. Now Carwyn Jones is unhappy that when powers over devolved areas like agriculture return from Brussels they will initially stay in Westminster rather than pass straight to Cardiff Bay.”
“Devolution was established after Britain became a member of the European Community and then the European Union, so all the powers that were devolved to the Welsh Assembly and the Welsh Assembly Government were in the context of that European membership. Now we have to replace, for example, the common agriculture policy which is currently exercised at an EU level with something else which I would suggest in the interest of Wales as much as every other part of the UK should be under a UK-wide framework and that is not simply me saying that, that is what in fact the Farming Unions themselves are saying. They acknowledge that we do need a UK-wide framework for devolution.”
“But isn’t there a problem there that there was a referendum in 2011. You were in the Wales office at the time which asked the Welsh people who should be responsible for those laws in the devolved areas quite explicitly saying without needing the UK Parliament’s permission and the Welsh people said yes it should be the Assembly. You could argue that you are going against that now.”
“Well you could argue that but I think it would be wrong because of course that pre-dates the EU Referendum which of course changed the rules of the game completely I think.”
“But it is still a devolved field isn’t it? Agriculture for example is still a devolved area?”
“It is a devolved area and in fact none of the powers that are currently being exercised at the Welsh level will be taken away and indeed the Government has said that probably more powers will pass down and I think that rather again being a dog in the manger it would be really useful if Carwyn Jones would sit down and try to agree with the UK Government where those powers should be divided and where the competencies should lie. That is grown up politics and he actually knows that at the end of the day that is what going to happen anyway.”
“You were saying for example on an agricultural framework for the UK that that should be decided at a UK level because otherwise there could be a race to the bottom. You were saying. Why would that happen?”
“Well because for example in Scotland you might have a different framework developing that would be in Welsh terms unfairly favourable towards Scottish farmers. You have got to remember that the United Kingdom although it is a large economy it is a fairly small geographical area and distortions in the various parts of the UK can have a disproportionate effect upon other parts of the UK. Thankfully we are not proposing anything that doesn’t reflect the current status quo. In other words certain competencies are exercised as a UK level or as a EU level and others are exercised at a local level and the Government has said once the holding pattern has finished it is very probable that the Welsh Government will have more competence but we have got to work out where the correct division of powers lie.”
“But no sensible government within the UK, none of the sensible Governments of the UK would want any sort of trade war within the United Kingdom because that is a nobodies interest”
“I think we have to recognise that the various Governments within the UK are all of a completely different political complexity!”
But they want what’s best for each individual country.
That is exactly the point. For each individual country but not necessarily what is best for the UK as a whole.
So what do you make of that? Who in the British Political Establishment is standing up for English interests?