Devolution continues to fragment UK politics

There was something for all the main parties to be pleased about in Thursday’s election results, to get their spokesmen and women through those painful interviews analysing the outcome.  Labour can point to winning London for the first time in 8 years, and to holding more of its English Councils than expected. UKIP can point to wins in the Welsh Assembly, and to coming a good second in two Labour held by election contests. The Conservatives can be pleased to have overtaken Labour as the official Opposition party in Scotland, and to holding most of their English Council seats. The Lib Dems can point to a few wins after their mauling in 2015. The SNP can rejoice at a third victory in  a row in the Scottish Parliament, though they fell just short of an overall majority of seats this time.


Underneath these predictable statements lies a deep unease in all the parties. The truth is that with the advent of a strong SNP, more nationalist sentiment,  more effective challenges from the Greens and UKIP alongside the Lib Dems, UK politics is a lot more competitive than it was in the days of two party dominance. No overall control in Councils and Parliaments and Assemblies without majorities are now much more likely. This in turn can add to disillusion with politics. As more governing bodies fall under the control of officials and follow the hand me downs of EU requirements and regulations, a greater sense of frustration and powerlessness arises amongst electors. This in turn encourages people to vote for untried or challenger parties more, which in turn creates more elected bodies without proper political control.


Even if the two main parties emerged again who could provide an effective challenge to each other and alternate in power, they would find it difficult to be in charge given the extent of EU interference and control over our laws and policies. Some  majority Council groups struggle to provide good strategic leadership and policy direction, falling back on official guidance or being advised into accepting the conventional wisdom of Brussels and Whitehall even when commonsense tells electors and Councillors that consensus is wrong or unhelpful.

In a democracy people usually prefer it if an elected group is in charge. They either do a good job and respond to public opinion in a helpful way, or they can be dismissed. Too many layers of government , too much confusion over what is an EU requirement, what Whitehall wants and what a Council is entitled to do leads to endless unproductive arguments and to people angry or dismissive of the inability of their local or national government to get obvious things done and problems sorted.

Taking out the whole layer of EU government would transform many things for the better. It remove the excuse or the reality that EU laws and requirements prevent us doing what we want.  It would leave open  the issue of the correct relationship between local and national power, where England still needs a devolution settlement to match Scotland. In Scotland the new Conservative opposition has to learn how to make the Scottish government truly accountable for the many things it does now have the power to do. For a stable constitutional settlement to emerge, Scotland has to spend more time discussing how things are managed and working, and less time discussing who should manage them.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    No wonder the country is in such a mess with all these countless layers of Government and generally dire politicians everywhere. Let us at least hope we get rid of one with the Brexit vote. Though even if Brexit wins the day as I expect it too will it be treated with the same contempt by the politicians as Boaty Mc Boat face, now submarine Mc Submarine Face and the RSS David Attenborough.

    David has a pleasant narrating voice and some brilliant camera technology & camera men but I am always rather put off by his mistaken propagation of climate alarmism and his Malthusian view of the World. Let us hope he too lives long enough to see how wrong he was on CO2.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      I cant watch David Attenborough any more because of his continual rant about ‘man made’ climate change. Along with the BBC and all the luvvies they have steered the energy policy to disaster. Today it has been announced that our energy bills are set to rise due to the fact that we have to pay old power stations to come on board when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun ain’t shining. Hasn’t any minister got the sense to see what they are doing to our constant supply of reliable energy? Getting out of the EU would give us the chance to put right what has gone wrong and they couldn’t blame the EU. They would have to be accountable for once. Why does the average man in the street have more common sense than the establishment?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        But Cameron likes Huhne, Davey & Rudd not Patterson, Lilley and sense. Any decent engineer or economist knows the government’s energy policy is hugely damaging and counterproductive. Just as any decent economist know how damaging Osborne’s wage controls will be to jobs and competition in the World.

        CO2 is greening the planet and not causing anything like runaway global warming. The real danger is politicians, the eco loons, the bio fuels (which are killing thousands) and the “renewable” energy agenda.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Yes, have read this Lifelogic and was interested to see that more people die from the cold than they do in hotter climates. It maybe lovely in England but in Scotland today it is cold. Raining and miserable. Just like most of the year!! We definitely need reliable energy up here.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Indeed biofuels kill thousands and lack of warmth in winter kills thousands more. The green crap agenda is just a form of euthanasia for many – plus an excuse for more ever more tax and ever more government.

      • getahead
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        I reckon that climate change is caused by too many windmills.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          They do indeed change the climate locally, by reducing the local wind speeds.

          They make a noise & save no C02 either in general (after the fully process and backup is taken into account). They also kill lots & lots of birds, insects and bats. What is the point of their intermittent & very expensive electricity exactly?

    • Hope
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      JR, this is a gloss over what your party has been doing in every campaign to scare the public to vote for them. This is Cameron’s tactic. Cameron got Crosby knighted for this tactic furthering gutter politics. I ask again, should we be scared that Khan is mayor because he is a Muslim and the allegation your party made to his extremist Muslim links? Should we be scared that SNP is still in charge over Scotland, Cameron scared us twice (referendum and general election), prevented the English from voting in the referendum for independence and then gave the Scotts huge amounts of English taxes! Labour gains, should we be scared of the anti-Semitic allegations particularly Jews? Should ethnic and religious groups leave these areas dominated by the people Cameron scared us about for their safety? Is Cameron creating or increasing the speed of the Balkanisation of our country by his scare tactics and his fanataism to segment our country for EU devolution?

      Reply No we should not be scared and I dislike the politics of fear.

      • Iain gill
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Then why do we have state sponsored religious segregation in our schools imposed on parents who go along with it as the only little choice they have

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Indeed segregational school are hugely dangerous. They get indoctrinated with the green crap religion enough at school as it is.

          • Hope
            Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            JR, you say we should not be scared but that w clearly Cameron’s intention as he has now played the scared card several times and is using it to all he can to make people vote to remain in. He is creating a decisive society based on fear, he is creating community tension; it is very close to spreading racial hatred. He casts smears, spreads lies and uses deceit, changes the union bill and manifesto for cash from unions why is your party not getting rid of him? Moreover Mr Gove still states in his article today he wants Cameron as PM! Mr Gove appears to write cogent evidence based arguments to leave the EU and then ruins his credibility by stating Cameron should remain!
            Look at your blog, junior doctors do work seven days a week for a lot less than part-time MPs who can work whatever they want. Hunt claims the changes have the public mandate from your manifesto! What credibility is there in what he says? If the junior doctors support remain would they get a bigger pay rise or would Hunt drop his changes in line with Cameron’s leadership? You all received a thoroughly undeserving pay rise and there are far too many MPs and far too many Lords. Swap on a one for one basis. 1000 extra doctors at discount price.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        With a decent candidate (and not a rich boy eco nut) the Tories could have won as Boris showed clearly twice. Sadiq Khan was certainly not a strong candidate either and Labour under Corbyn is clearly bonkers. Khan’s main claim to fame seemed to be that his dad drove a bus!

        • Hope
          Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          I think Goldsmith was foolish not to run his own campaign on his own credentials rather than follow the Tory scare tactics. That fact he is rich is irrelevant. He did not appear authentic to who he was or his values. Boris is rich and posh, but authentic. No one any longer believes the Tories. He has Cameron to thank for that. His final nail in his coffin was getting Cameron to stand alongside him and speak. Cameron comes across as rich, arrogant and nasty. Telling his MPs to ignore their voters and associations and then ask them to vote for them! This is sticking to the Tories.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Cameron comes across as rich, arrogant and nasty.

            Plus endlessly dishonest from tip to toe.

        • Bob
          Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          All the hype about Sadiq’s working class credentials reminded me of the “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch.

        • getahead
          Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          I think Hope meant divisive.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      How could Cameron and the Tories make such a huge mistake as to put up Zac Goldsmith? It was blindingly obvious he was totally the wrong man from the ourset. Cameron, even damaging the economy hugely, by delaying Heathrow for him. Personally I would not even have eco nuts such as Zak as an MP. This as such people have no understanding of science, engineering, the economy or how the World goes round.

      • Hope
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        What would you feel if you were a Muslim with Cameron and chums making slurs against them? He vaporized two alleged Muslim suspects with drones without arrest or trial and then wants to bang on about human rights and other country’s records! Look at the Tory record for criminal justice in the UK or under instruction from ECHR. In consistent, untrustworthy and cannot believe a word he says.

      • CdB
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Out of all the candidates, he was the one chosen by the local Tories. Maybe a misjudgement by the party as a whole? Hopefully not to be repeated at a national level in a few years

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Zak was hammered in London despite his unpleasant campaigning and by a rather poor Labour candidate. Cameron’s is dreadful at choosing the right people. A rich boy Eco nut Cameron A lister, who has never has a proper job was hardly the right person for the job.

    There was very little for Cameron in these results other than a tiny recovery in Scotland (which was to be expected after the extreme of the last election) the results were dire for them all over.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Zac Goldsmith was a very poor choice of candidate, he did not seem to want the job and I suspect is relieved at the result. Petulant green foppery is not – or should not be – Conservative. It ought to be possible to get a dynamic pro-business candidate elected in London ignoring issues of ethnic identity.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      The main thing in these reults for Cameron was the continuation of Corbyn as leader of the Labour party. He probably can’t believe his luck.

    • Hope
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Cameron cannot make up his mind what he stands for! Last week he sold his manifesto pledge and the union bill to change union laws in exchange for £1.6 million from the unions to prevent any change in law to keep the UK in the EU. He has no political integrity. He cannot keep making false cast iron no ifs or buts statements that he has no intention of enacting. His record shows him to be a shyster who casts many allegations at others UKIP, Labour Lib Dems and then copies them, asks for their help or does exactly what he accuses them of.

      • getahead
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Cameron stands for what his corporate sponsors tell him to stand for. This may change from time to time.

    • sm
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Speaking as someone with practical experience of selecting London Mayoral candidates, in theory candidates put themselves forward, they are interviewed by a selection committee comprised of senior Party officers (such as myself), and the final selection is made by the votes of the Greater London membership.

      So, in theory, the Party Leader should not have a say; what happens in practice is another matter.

      Much of the blame however must rest on the members for selecting Goldsmith, someone with absolutely no credentials, personality or managerial experience of any kind.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    The BBC bias continues a pace. On the election results I saw that while Libdems had their own numbers at the bottom of the screen, UKIP (with far more wins) were just lumped in with “others” why?

    Also on “More of Less” Radio 4, they had an “expert” explaining that countries would never negotiate trade with the UK when there was the bigger market of the EU to sort first. The “back of the queue” argument in the daft Obama threatening mode. Do these people really think that counties like the USA only have one negotiator available? If it is in the interests of both countries, as it nearly always is, they will clearly do a deal.

    I assume these economic “experts” think that a companies sales force only deal with potential profitable customers one at a time too. Starting with the largest, in a long slow queue. They actually chase every profitable lead that they can if they have any sense? Countries would do the same unless they want to self harm in the “Obama” way. Still he will be gone soon and what a disaster he has been.

    Famous for being the first blackish president, but alas making a complete fist of the job.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      “More or Less” I meant.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      UKIP were “lumped in with the others” as a form of dismissing them. If they keep doing this some people will believe they are not even worth a vote, so won’t. Same as the “keep saying something long enough – and eventually it becomes “true”. Cameron knows what is happening to his popularity. He knows that everywhere there are people complaining about us being flooded with foreigners who will never contribute a penny to the economy. He continues to make cuts to the people who were born here and lived here all their lives, while dishing out an ever increasing pile to anyone who has walked in. This shows who he prefers to be here. Dave CANNOT defend this in anyway so he does the only thing he does do – – lie lie lie and lie. He is getting more like a rabbit in headlights. He is managing to turn nearly every level of society against himself and his super elite buddies.
      If he and his super rich bosses want a workforce of (overseas workers ed) – why don’t they move the factories to Afghanistan Pakistan Iraq Iran Somalia Eritrea etc where the people already are? No min wage, No H&S and much less red tape and EU intervention. We wouldn’t have to destroy our countryside providing free ( to them) houses, schools, roads ( for yet more congestion ), sewers, electricity supply ( if its a windy day) and gas to those houses
      With immigration at the rate it is we won’t have to worry about devolution or anything else – we are going to be deliberately overrun, by those our so-called “leader” is rewarding for coming here. I sincerely hope CMD gets what he deserves for his treachery. etc ed

      • old salt
        Posted May 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Much manufacturing industry has moved out or closed here in the south west over the years only to be replaced by tens of thousands of houses already and more under construction.
        So where will the new occupiers work apart from building more houses and then what?

        • old salt
          Posted May 9, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

          from my comment 10.48 pm of yesterday. More shops and more consumption. Just where is the production balance to pay for it all. I do not see it anywhere here. Is it, as has been said, the pastoralisation of British industry by others? I remember well the Transit van factory going to, was it, Turkey.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      The fact that we trade so much with the USA already without a trade deal is also ignored.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Of course,TTIP is not about trade;it’s about control.For the USA,the benefits of empire without the cost and hassle of actual occupation.

        • bluedog
          Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Really? Isn’t the EU plan to bring the US under the control of Brussels?

          • Mitchel
            Posted May 9, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            It may or may not be the EU’s plan but it will not be the outcome.Merkel seems to have accepted US hegemony and the notion of the EU as being a counterweight has slipped away,not least because of the EU’s own internal problems.

          • old salt
            Posted May 9, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Makes one wonder which is the bigger threat, the EU or the US.

    • Hope
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I suspect the UK has a few bargaining chips against the US if we only had a PM with a back bone to stand up for our country.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        He will surely go after June 23rd. It will be hugely depressing if Cameron, the state and the BBC’s propaganda actually fools people.

      • old salt
        Posted May 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        If only.

    • getahead
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      “UKIP (with far more wins) were just lumped in with “others” why?”
      Because UKIP is a challenge to the BBC’s liberal persuasion?

  4. stred
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    The Scottish and Irish aristocrats of Downing Street have followed EU directives and given devolution to their Northern Power House, installing an unelected Labour mayor in Manchester, despite a consultation in which the citizens said they did not want another layer of government. So much for democracy.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    You say that (no overall control) can add to the general disillusion with politics. As more governing bodies fall under the control of officials and follow the hand me downs of EU requirements and regulations, a greater sense of frustration and powerlessness arises amongst electors.

    Indeed but above all the problem is endless layers of expensive politicians and bureaucrats delivering almost nothing to the public of any real value, while taxing them or mugging them in other ways, just to pay for all these people and their bloated pensions. They are essentially endlessly growing, parasitic tumours who only purpose is to grow and to parasite. This until the finally kill the private sector that they feed off.

    Of course the disillusion comes from the endless cast iron lies such as “the NHS is my priority in three letters”, “I am at heart a low tax Conservative”, “we will continue lowering taxes” ….. How can voters not be disillusioned by such, say one thing do the compete opposite, people?

    Politician are all we have to make the state sector act occasionally act in the interests of the people. They fail appallingly in this, indeed do rarely even try? They just seem join the gravy train themselves become career politicians, follow the group think, take “consultancy” positions, vote for higher salaries/pension or bigger building for themselves and get on with their expenses claims.

    Perhaps I am too cynical but I usually find I am not cynical enough.

    • getahead
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Politicians were once thought of, of being there to run and represent our country.
      Blair-type and Cameron-type politicians look after no-one but themselves.

  6. Antisthenes
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    A good pointer to the depths that politics has plunged to in the West is the choice the American people have to choose their next president. Clinton, Sanders or Trump an unsavoury lot it would be hard to find. Then we look at the UK a party that can elect a man like Corbyn as leader has certainly lost it’s way and is in a downward spiral. Then the left is not spoilt for choice when it comes to having people with right type abilities. It never has had but they have been allowed to dominate our political, social and economic thinking for decades. The result is that we are all dumber and sheep like in our political choices.

    We have wandered off the democratic path because of it as we have built ever more government culminating in state control in virtually every aspect of our daily lives. Even setting up an unaccountable monolithical entity we call the EU. Perhaps a more apt name would be The Peoples Republic of Europe. A state where capitalism is allowed mostly in crony form and the ruling elite are all self elected.

    Devolution in theory is an excellent idea and should bring about greater democracy and accountability but two things get in it’s way the EU and the electorate. The EU because it’s restrictive practices in reality allows little leeway in local decision making. The electorate because they do not vote in those who govern them on talent and ability but for other nefarious reasons. Ideology and greedy self interest chief amongst them.

    • CdB
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      One of the better posts I have seen for a long time!

  7. John Bracewell
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Devolution is like a jack-in-the-box once liberated from the box it is difficult to return it. Devolution feeds on itself, whereby more and more powers are asked for and usually granted because the last set of powers handed over has not caused a great problem so there is little reason to curtail them. So, the ultimate conclusion to devolution is independence when enough power has been transferred to make devolution and independence indistinguishable. This is why getting powers back from the EU is so difficult, as witnessed by Cameron’s thin gruel renegotiation. The EU realises that centralisation of power discourages countries from breaking away as independent countries. I hope the British people realise the EU folly and vote to Leave.

    As an aside, I sent the following to the StrongerIn email address and have as yet not received a reply:

    Would any sane person pay a large membership fee to belong to a club when they disagree with 4 out of 5 of its fundamental rules? The answer, of course, is NO.
    The EU is a political club to whom the UK pays £billions each year as a membership fee and the EU club has the following 5 fundamental rules:
    1. Its currency, the Euro, which most of the Remain and all the Leave supporters say the UK will never join. The UK disagrees with this rule.
    2. The EU insists on ever closer political union resulting ultimately in one country the United States of Europe, which is being planned. The UK, including the Remain side, disagrees with this rule.
    3. Open borders was a fundamental rule of the EU, now being discontinued due to current circumstances. The UK disagrees with EU Open Borders.
    4. Free movement of people within the EU, as in the Schengen rules, the UK opted out of the Schengen rules. The UK disagrees with the rule of free movement of people.
    5. The Single Market. The UK agrees with this rule.

    The UK disagrees with 4 out of 5 of the fundamental rules of the EU, so any sane person would not want to belong to the EU political club. Since the Remain supporters want to stay in this political club the inference must be that the Remain supporters are insane.

  8. Martyn G
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    John, you say “As more governing bodies fall under the control of officials and follow the hand me downs of EU requirements and regulations, a greater sense of frustration and powerlessness arises amongst electors”. That sums up precisely how I and perhaps many, many others feel and I agree it is why people will be looking for alternatives to the mainstream parties.
    OT, but I think relevant, I see that the wheels appear to be falling off of Jean-Claude Juncker’s plan to distribute large numbers of migrants around EU countries, especially in Eastern Europe. Because so many countries are objecting to the master plan he now proposes a fine of €250,000 for each migrant they refuse to take. A quarter of a million € each – is he quite mad?
    And despite Mr C emphatically claiming that the UK has an exemption from the migrant master relocation plan, does anyone really believe that the PM will be able to prevent the UK being sucked into the mad scheme? Has no one thought that forcibly allocating migrants to this or that country can possibly work? Once in the EU they will simply move to where they can get the most financial and other benefits, which of course means the UK in many cases.
    Madness, truly, the EU is madness exemplified!

    • Hope
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Matters not whether there is an exemption or not, he still hands over our hard earned taxes and goes along with the EU plans, fiscal pact bail outs, loans etc.

  9. JoolsB
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    “England still needs a devolution settlement to match Scotland”

    Do you mean that John as it is bindingly obvious that your party does not believe in England having any form of devolution equal to what Scotland (or Wales & NI) has. Instead, the Tories to their eternal shame, just like all the other parties, are hell bent on the balkanisation of England with their cities and regions devolution ideas and imposed Mayors that nobody wants. Cameron, the serial ratter, didn’t even keep his promise of English votes for English laws, a sop in itself and now we have the sickening spectacle of Scottish, Welsh & NI MPs still voting on and interfering in English only matters which do not effect them or their constituents except to given them bucket loads more of English taxes whenever English taxes are spent on England.
    Hopefully Brexit will succeed and hopefully then England may start to be recognised as a nation, something it is denied now. Until then John, a democracy we most certainly ain’t.

    • Hope
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      You will not get that from the Tory party.

  10. Mick
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    What I took from the bias BBC was the total dislike for UKIP, it also goes without saying that come the 2020 GE or sooner UKIP are going to wipe the floor with con/lab/lib/green/

    • hefner
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid UKIP will not wipe any floor as long as First Past the Post is the electoral system of choice for general elections.

      • Hope
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Around the world and in the EU, the tide is turning. Austria thought the same until a few weeks ago. Change for the first time since the war from the two dominant parties. Look at the US. People are fed up with lying politicians and want genuine change. Continuing the scare tactics will harm the Tories badly because no one will beleive them as they cried Peter Wolf too much. Lynton Crosby should not have knighted for helping creat division and braking social cohesion in our society. In fairness the blame should rest at Cameron’s feet. He has managed to take the Tory party back to John Major’s era of sleaze, distrust, them and us and above all nasty.

      • getahead
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Enough votes and it will make no difference.

      • scottspeig
        Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Part of the advantage of FPTP is that when a tipping point comes, the result flips. Look at how Labour appeared. And how SNP became dominant in one election.

    • Bob
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      @Mick Yes, the LibLabCon will have been totally discredited by then and the voters will realise that there is only one realistic way out of the EU.

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Pity that your preaching to an empty church. The Liblabcon like the current system of rule from Brussels which relieves them of responsibility.
    etc ed

  12. Iain gill
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Actually people prefer better still… Being able to make the choice themselves and having real buying power. This applies just as much to school choice, medical care provider choice, and your own choice from competing bin collection services as it does to any other aspect of life. There is no need for political layers to control things more efficiently controlled by consumer buying decisions and a thin layer of regulation.

  13. Kenneth
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Let us not also forget the effect of having full time politicians. When they lost their seats they had to be found jobs.

    Many quangos were set up as homes for these ‘never had a proper job’ people.

    Of these, the eu is the biggest retirement home for failed politicians.

    We are at the point when the amount of unelected, failed politicians is outnumbering the elected ones and this is posing a great danger to democracy.

    They come out of every nook and cranny and have a very strong media presence and are often given a prominent role in tv and radio discussions.

    The problem is, when we are voting, we are only voting for a slice of influence. The People are no longer in control.

    Leaving the eu will be the first step towards restoring democracy. We then need to get back the power that we have ceded to all of the other quangos.

  14. Mark B
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    It does not matter who is in power or where. Not as long as the EU holds all the cards.

    As Ron Dennis once said; “Comming second, makes you the first of the losers !” The only way to secure the UK and to shoot the SNP fox, is to go for a full federal system. Once England has control of her affairs and monies, like all the others, then we can compare. Yes, there has to be some redistribution of wealth, but it should have a limit and all necessary over-spend must come from taxes and / or cuts. Let Scotland, along with all the others, function as a nation state within a state. When the Scots know the TRUE cost of independence, we will hear little from wee Twanky.

    As for fractured politics, it is also because people are no longer voting on their traditional / tribal loyalties – GOOD !!!! The sooner the death of the tribal voter, the better.

    Work for my vote if you want it !

  15. Chris S
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Let us out aside EU issues for the moment. The need for a proper equalised constitutional settlement grows more urgent with the re-election of the Nationalists in Scotland. A move to a proper federal UK with Wales and NI being given the choice of being lumped in with England is surely the right way to go ?

    When Cameron is replaced after the referendum, whatever the outcome, of the possible candidates who is most likely to push for EVELs or a federal UK ?

    • scottspeig
      Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Why lump Wales & NI with England? Surely as a federal set-up they could be their own state? Personally I’d invite EIRE to join and have a united Ireland although I doubt they’d accept it…

  16. Shieldsman
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The elections were a good opportunity for the BBC to hide and bury the important news coming out of the EU and Europe.

    Read Juncker’s latest opinion of why the EU is not working.
    Prime Ministers must stop listening so much to their voters and instead act as “full time Europeans”, according to Jean-Claude Juncker.

    Elected leaders are making life “difficult” because they spend too much time thinking about what they can get out of EU and kowtowing to public opinion, rather than working on “historic” projects such as the Euro, he said.

    The president of the European Commission ridiculed British leaders for acting on “national reflexes” and telling voters they had successfully defended the country’s national interest in post-summit press conferences, rather than “speaking over Europe in the proper way”.

    He said: “I remember the highly exciting period when we were preparing the Maastricht treaty, and step by step we were moving in the direction of the single currency… It was a shared sentiment of foreign ministers and Prime Ministers that we were in charge of a big piece of history. This has totally gone.”

    “We have full time Europeans when it comes to taking, and we have part-time Europeans when it comes to giving,” said Mr Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg who has spent more than 30 years around the EU institutions.

    Is this a description of Cameron’s best of both worlds his Utopia. Looks more like Juncker’s EUSSR, His dictatorship, the Emperors copy of the USSR. That’s right ignore the people who voted you into power and can vote you out. That’s what Cameron is aiming to do. Juncker on EU anniversary: We have too many part-time Europeans
    “The idea of one EU state, one vision … was an illusion,” said Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, who is now tasked with finding consensus and cohesion amongst EU leaders.

    Has the BBC chosen to ignore this, and bury it under the election results? They probably have a ban on reporting events in Europe until after the referendum. Cameron and Osborne’s falsehoods that’s OK for them to report on.

    Donald Tusk, the hard-headed Polish president of the European Council and an ally of David Cameron ?, rebuked him, saying that EU veterans need to abandon their “completely unrealistic utopia” of a federal Europe.
    “It’s a quite common opinion in Brussels that the EU always has problems with its member states and our lives would be much more comfortable without member states,” he said.
    “I can understand why this is a dream for some Brussels colleagues, but I think it is time to redefine our dreams for the EU as a project.
    “This means that today we must admit this dream of one European state with one common interest and maybe in the future one common nation was an illusion.”

    The European Union remains vulnerable to a cocktail of looming crises that threaten to reverse integration on the continent, Moody’s has warned.

    Multiple crises, from economic stagnation, the British EU membership referendum, and the biggest influx of refugees since the post-war era, have created the “impression that the question is when the system breaks, rather than if”, said Moody’s: Even if the EU survives its current challenges largely unscathed, even a ‘small’ future crisis could threaten the sustainability of current institutional frameworks, if it coincided with negative public sentiment and populist political developments. This can create the impression that the question is when the system breaks, rather than if.

    These are quite contrary views to Gerge Osborne’s disaster scenario if the UK leaves.

    Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “Turnout” is the elephant in the room: frightening: in all political discussions and commentary. More scary than your local pub running out of beer. Nearly.

    The best turnout for Scotland, in one bit of Glasgow was 68.3% yesterday and about 42% in another bit of same. Arguably, Scottish politics for Scots are at their hottest. At best only 7 out of 10 people voting even though they can use a postal vote is catastrophic in democratic terms.
    Police Commissioners for England… not looked at the figures for turnout..about 23%? Few people know what they do. But know that if anything happens they say “I’ve done nothing wrong” which many people can support as they do not believe they do anything meaningful at all.

    You can see from many Councillor elections that a 35% turnout in some areas is luxury.Well, with the Referendum in a few week’s time, imminent changes in education, calls for refugee children to be placed in every community, a third of a million net migrants to the UK per annum in addition, and the possibility of Syrian/Turkish migrants…how so?

    People are not reacting are they? Reacting. Not responding to stimulus in the main from any quarter whatsoever. Nazi, Communist, Anarchist, Leftist, Rightist…whatever the perceived motivation rightly or wrongly of the person to be elected; the possible threats to one side or another, the perceived dangers to the well-being of the individual voter,_ turnout is 30 % or below and the “Saviour”… the winner of the vote gets maybe 10% of the total number of those who did or could have voted.

    In truth and for reasons perhaps others are qualified to explain, Politics, is or are not understood by the British electorate. Many are not even entirely sure if it is a plural or singular.

    Massive frightening danger is that when people do not respond to quite weighty stimuli they are close to death. In politics, it means that when the stimuli increase profoundly, the body politic will suddenly awaken, burst into life uncontrollably and react with irrational violence. Tis always thus.
    Young extremely intelligent doctors jigging up and down, chanting mindlessly utterly unable to see the figure they cut, is a prescient of doom.

    • getahead
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Why do I blame our national, sorry, EU television broadcaster, the BBC?

  18. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Well, the enormous front page headline in our local paper this week is:


    and that’s to do with the opposite; one party came close to sweeping the board last year, and that is now leading to accusations of autocratic rule and demoralisation of the officials.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Having previously said that he was concerned that a vote to leave the EU could lead to the break-up of the UK, I wonder if Hague will now acknowledge that that particular concern – which was always greatly over-blown – has now receded.

  20. Bert Young
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The election results really show nothing . The overall picture simply say that there is little faith in leadership of all colours and that local government is inconsequential . Whether Sturgeon has been given a smack in the eye will not change the fact that she is still around and will make the same amount of noise as she did before ; as for the election of Police Commissioners I would think the turn out figures would tell the real story .

    Brussels remains the real thorn in our side – sucking away our money and doing nothing to ease the hurt of its layers of bureaucracy . Vaizey’s recent performance labelling the “leavers” as scaremongers shows just how ignorant and pompous some MPs can be . It was interesting that when he made his comments , I did not see any eurosceptic MPs present in the House ; I’m sure they would have given him a bashing reminder of where the scaremongering originated and just how divisive it has made the Conservatives .

    Posted May 7, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    “This Lady is not for turning” is not something you can say or hope for or dream for in Mr Cameron. Even if he had a life-changing operation he’d still miss target on not one but two points.

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    ‘The truth is that with the advent of a strong SNP, more nationalist sentiment, more effective challenges from the Greens and UKIP alongside the Lib Dems, UK politics is a lot more competitive than it was in the days of two party dominance. ‘

    I am all for getting out of the EU and cutting down on unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy, but I wonder if this is another way of saying we need a system of proportional representation so that more people’s views are properly represented?

    Tad Davison


    • sm
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Reluctant though I am to start another thread about PR voting systems, currently Spain – and in the recent past Belgium – have been unable to form Governments because of this system. Too many small tails wag the big dogs, and you end up with chaos. FPTP ain’t perfect, but it works better.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted May 8, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Under FPTP the SNP would have got 80% of seats at Holyrood. Have a listen to Ruth Davidson’s interview on how the SNP will need to work with others to get legislation through. A far more grown up approach than is delivered by the English/Westminster system only possible because they don’t use FPTP in Scotland.

        • scottspeig
          Posted May 9, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          Without a system of recall, PR will inevitably increase the prevalence of party machinery. And hinder independent candidates.

          FPTP keeps the constiuency link which in my opinion is one of the main advantage points.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted May 9, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            I suggest you study electoral systems more closely. PR and constituency links are not incompatible. For example, STV (used in Scotland and Northern Ireland) is both a PR system and a system with a 100% constituency link.

            Party machinery only exists because of insistence on closed list elements. If we used open lists, the voters would get to decide on the list order, not the parties.

            I’d also point out that FPTP actually offers a party list of one candidate in most elections, so hardly open. It’s not as if the voters select the candidate (as in the US primaries), the party machinery chooses the individual.

    • Dunedin
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your second paragraph – voting under FPTP can feel pointless when you live in an area dominated by one party, and leads to low turnout.

      The constituency where I live changed from being a Labour stronghold to an SNP stronghold. The Scottish regional list system at least gives some representation to voters in safe seat areas, and propelled Ruth Davidson into second place ahead of Labour.

      I recall the Conservative party trying out a primary election style system for selecting local candidates a few years ago (I think it was Totnes?), and would be interested to know how this worked out. The ability to select candidates would give some influence back to voters – especially those in safe seat areas who otherwise feel disenfranchised.

    • getahead
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink


  23. bluedog
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Plenty of food for thought, Dr JR. You talk about political parties within the devolved entities learning about their business. Equally there is much for the electorates to learn too about the nature of power within devolved jurisdictions. This writer is convinced that the nationalist parties currently flourishing within Scotland and Wales will prove to be a short-lived phenomenon. There are a number of reasons for this.

    In the first instance the prime focus of nationalist parties is to act as a rallying point to win concessions of power from the metropolitan government. In both Scotland and Wales this was done nearly twenty years ago yet the goodwill created has yet to dissipate. However, within the devolved entity, no political party is immune to the inevitable contraints of government and can thus become the victim of dissatisfaction if expectations are poorly managed.

    The second point is that the nationalist parties invariably prove to be completely ineffective in the metropolitan parliament. The SNP is a classic example of this and even though the strong SNP representation at Westminster may impress its electors back home, in the rest of the UK the reaction is ‘yawn’. It follows that unless these nationalist parties are clever enough to win votes from a wider base than their domestic market, their appearance in Westminster is usually superfluous.

    At some point the electors in devolved entities will wake up to this, ignore the blandishments of their nationalist leaders and recognise that the big metropolitan parties are equipped to get things done at the UK level. Sending nationalist MPs to Westminster is an exercise in futility once devolution is granted. A better deal will be conceded by the party in power at Westminster, not by the nationalist MPs.

    • getahead
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      We need to vote Brexit for your comment to become relevant. Within the madness of the EU all is lost.

    Posted May 7, 2016 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    At first I thought with Mr Corbyn’s pioneering thesis on “Phobics and -phobias” that “Scotophobia” would be something enabling him to browbeat democratic opposition and better to tie up Labour with the SNP.
    Turns out Scotophobia is a fear of darkness.
    The Etymological Dictionary’s analysis of the origin of “Scot” would even more confuse typical Labour voters.

  25. acorn
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    It is on one of the rare days we actually get to vote for anything, you realize what a mess, sub-national government administration is in the UK. So called, local government in England is a total mess. Mind you it is kept that way by Westminster and Whitehall, to prevent local political power bases forming and challenging the hegemony of the metropolitan elite.

    The UK has the most centrally run form of government in the EU 28. The likes of France and Germany have basically a federal structure of regions with recognisable attributes the citizens cling to. I remember when the French tried to do away with the “department” numbers on car number plates in 2008. They ended up putting the regional logo on as well!

    The power is where the money is. 92% of general government receipts in the UK are collected for Westminster, council tax and most of business rates are the only sub-national taxes; but even those are dictated by Westminster with little local discretion to vary them.

    At least Scotland and Wales have fully unitised local government. NI has more or less achieved it. Don’t hold out for that happening in England; the first words you will hear from the vested interests will be Balkanisation; Regionalisation (EU style) and good old Federalisation (EU style). Plus the English don’t give a toss anyway.

    • Iain gill
      Posted May 7, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Yea but more importantly in France and Germany individual citizens have much more decision making over their healthcare and children’s schools.

      It is lack of decisions with citizens where it belongs which is the biggest problem here

      • Iain gill
        Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Indeed someone I know has moved to Germany mainly to get her kid into a decent state school which would be impossible for her here

    Posted May 7, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Corbyn cannot get into power without the SNP. The SNP cannot ally with Corbyn without Scottish Tories upsurging as a result. Then there are the Poor Right of Labour MPs who, if they ever wish to see anything like Ministerial position even of the lowest ranks, will try to defect to the Conservative Party and say they do it not for themselves but for The Country their personal compasses have so belatedly located.

    The question for the Tory Party is where to place defecting Labour MPs where they will not indirectly but especially directly handle money.

  27. DaveM
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    So with regards to your final paragraph, what is your solution for settling the devolution question presuming we leave the EU? I know you favour EVEL, but this clearly isn’t working as the Scots have interfered more since it was supposedly introduced!

  28. Yosarion
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    watched a little of the election results, even though both BBC presenters (Hugh Edwards Laura Kunsberg) refereed on every occasion to the English local elections the Shadow Chancellor avoided using the word English on every occasion when talking about England but managed Scottish and Welsh all the time.
    Hardly surprising to those that know his history etc ed

  29. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Very good news on Brexit: the London result is not unexpected, given what the Metropolis has become (I was born there), but the rest of the UK is a different country and may take a different view (etc ed) Mind you, Goldsmith was about as inappropriate a candidate as could be imagined–Why wasn’t it obvious that he would be seen in the mould of Cameron and Osborne and that, of types such as that, the people, especially in London, have had their fill? Cameron continues to survive only because the rest, particularly Corbyn, are even more unmitigatedly appalling.

  30. getahead
    Posted May 7, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    the weakness of the two “main” political parties stems from the creation of Blair’s Nulabor and Heir-to-Blair Cameron’s soft centre Tories. These two parties are identical centrist parties with neither having any particular political ideology.
    This has resulted in the return of the old faithfuls to a union based Labour party and the creation of the new conservative party called UKIP.
    I suggest that the answer would be that politicians with your nationalist? beliefs should form a new conservative party with UKIP.
    Cameron’s followers can join the LibDems where they properly belong.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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