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The United Constituencies of England?

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By Dan J. Broadley

On the 18th of September, 2014, the people of Scotland took part in a referendum as to whether or not they wanted to leave the United Kingdom and become their own independent nation, or stay. By a small margin of just over 50%, the Scottish people voted to stay a United Kingdom, and I thought that sucked. Anything that shakes up the establishment of Westminster and has a Tory government teetering on the edge of a cliff makes me happy, and I’d be happier still if it were to be pushed off the edge.

My border line anarchist opinions aside, the failed bid for Scottish independence (or successful bid for a United Kingdom…) has kick started something not many of us saw coming and which, so far, has started to build up a lot of momentum.

What the Scottish referendum has done is to make the rest of the UK think a little – because although they didn’t become independent, Scotland are being promised devolution of more powers. Now, local councils across the UK want that too, and they’re doing something about it.

Leaders of the Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and Glasgow City Councils have all collectively written to William Hague demanding they meet with David Cameron to discuss the possible devolution of powers to their local councils at the same speed to that of Scotland.

The issue had been further raised at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester on September 24th by Sir Richard Leese – Manchester’s long serving council leader – who claimed: “The debate should not be about devolving power to Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but devolving power within the nations.”

This has the potential to grow into the, or one of a series of the, most important national political decisions of the century and could lead to a dramatic shake up of the UK’s status quo over the coming years and decades.

It’s no secret that politicians are among the most hated of professions – along with bankers, tax collectors and traffic wardens – hence the huge disconnect with Westminster, especially with northern counties. And so, there a just a few hundred of these MPs (who I’m sure at least a handful of are honest people…) legislating over a population well more than 60million people. So, what if a few hundred politicians legislated over just a few million? Or, generally speaking, a much smaller area than the whole of the UK.

The efficiency of all government functions; like taxing in providing transports, education, healthcare etc. would greatly increase when run on a smaller scale in local area by local people, whose interest and participation in elections and decision making in return increase, thus improving the quality of democracy (if that’s what you can call what he have now anyway).

Like most people, I don’t like politics. I don’t like economics and government departments and the way things generally are. I especially don’t like how the general public continue to put their trust in to parties who promise to do things, then do the exact opposite. So, devolution of powers to local areas from Westminster might not pull us out of the pit of corruption and dishonesty and mistrust we find our country to be in today, but it sure would help.

Dan is an English and Creative Writing student at Manchester Metropolitan University. His interests include music, festivals, bass guitar, writing poetry, having ideas for novels and meditation. Follow him on Twitter @DanBroadley 

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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