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A few articles from direct democracy that are of interest.
Localism is the solution to the West Lothian Question
The Daily Telegraph this week reports that Ken Clarke's Democracy Taskforce report will recommend that a new Tory Government should seek to agree a cross-party convention that no party in Westminster would use Scottish MPs' votes to overturn decisions made by a majority of English members. Fans of a fully-fledged English Parliament, such as Iain Dale, are unimpressed. We argue that the most effective and elegant solution to the so-called 'West Lothian question' would be to devolve similar powers to those enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to English County and Unitary councils. Westminster MPs would then be on a level playing field - whether they were elected in Dumfries or Dagenham, Pontypridd or Pontefract, they would effectively be voting on, and have power over, the same issues.
Conservative councils urged to break away from central Labour control
Eric Pickles MP has called on Conservative Councils across the land to stop implementing the orders of a dying Labour Government and to start a programme of specifically Conservative reforms. We welcome this call, as we welcomed the announcement last week of the establishment of a Conservative Council Innovation Unit. Because one thing is a nailed on certainty - with Conservatives now controlling the overwhelming majority of local authorities in Great Britain, a Labour Government is not going to carry out any meaningful devolution of power in its remaining years. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that until councils are allowed to become financially autonomous, their options to act independently are severely limited.
Blogging for localism
New blogs have been launched by two of Direct Democracy's founders, both with a distinctly localist flavour. Firstly, Douglas Carswell MP, who in early posts tackles the EU, central control of schools, local government finance and the lack of accountability of decision making in the U.K. Secondly, Jeremy Hunt MP, who looks at the frustrations of constituents who try to improve their local communities but come up against the dead hand of council bureaucracy. He urges a future Conservative government to put its localist principles into practice and devolve real power down to local communities.
Nepal to be the new Switzerland?
The Rising Nepal online news service comments on the creation of the new Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. They are hopeful that the new constitution, currently being drafted, will not only enshrine a president as head of state and central government, but will also devolve significant powers from the centre to the self-governing states or provinces. Indeed, the new Maoist President - Pushpa Kamal Dahal - has gone on record promising to turn Nepal into another Switzerland - direct democracy and all - within 10 years.
Who we are
The Direct Democracy campaign is supported by a broad range of MPs, MEPs, candidates and activists from within the Conservative Party, a list of whom is on our website.