Letter: Hard won powers

I THINK Gerry Hassan was just itching to say it but felt it was either derisory or unfashionable: the solution to the problem of government in England is the creation of strong regional parliaments (Perspective, 29 January).

Scotland should not be put on the defensive because devolution has given people north of the Border some advantages not available down south.

The campaign to create a Scottish Parliament took years of hard graft, persuasion and ultimately the consent of the people through a referendum. If people in England have not striven with the same vigour for either an English parliament or regional assemblies, that is their concern or loss.

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Arguably, an English parliament is unworkable in the context of the United Kingdom anyway. But regional government is a starter. It would make many things, such as free prescriptions, free personal care, control of business rates and so on available to people in those areas.

Regional parliaments with meaningful powers would lay to rest the West Lothian question - "why should Scottish MPs be able to vote on English matters when they cannot vote on matters devolved to a Scottish parliament in their own constituencies?"

The question would become increasingly irrelevant as we moved towards some sort of a federal structure. It might mean Westminster itself would end up with a very limited discretion. That would be in line giving power back to people at a level they can understand.


Shiel Court

Glenrothes, Fife