You can rely on the BBC to side with the Lib Dems against England. Sure enough they are advertising a programme to chart the support they detect for devolution of power to some great English cities. This betrays a lack of understanding of why we need English votes for English issues now – the devolution of Income Tax to Scotland.
If the purpose of more devolution is to create a better governed UK where people are happier being in the UK as a whole, then surely the place to give devolution to cities a trial is Glasgow. We know that Glasgow is the one city in the UK where a majority want to leave our country. Surely that would be the place to test out this devolution to cities? Why does the BBC only ever want to split up England, and never examines the case for splitting up Scotland?
Under the Lib Dem/BBC cities model there are two particularly hard questions for them to answer. The first is why only big cities? Why Newcastle and not Sunderland, or why Sunderland but not Reading, or why Reading but not Wokingham? Why no rural areas? Are people only capable of more self government if they chose to live in large urban areas?
The second is how many different rates of Income Tax do they want? If they want all in England to have the same rate, as they clearly want all in Scotland to have the same rate, why can’t England have a devolved system for deciding its rate of Income Tax as Scotland will have?