Fool that I am – (and yes, I really do like banging my head agin a constitutional brick wall) I thought, just for old time sake I should send a quick series of questions to me old pal Matt Cook at Constitutional Affairs HQ.
Matt’s a star, he really is. Well on the way to his brown nosing diploma (first class), a career in Charlie Falconer boot licking is so advanced now I reckon he’ll soon be awarded a Sir Humphreyship before too long….
He sent me an email with all his bits and pieces attached –
Crown and Devolution Division, Constitution Directorate
Strengthening Democracy and Rights
Department for Constitutional Affairs.
So now you know. I certainly do. In previous emails and letters, he was plain old M. Cook, Dept of Const’ Affairs…… But now he’s a big noise in the ‘Crown and Devolution Division, Constitution Directorate’ with added strapline! Strengthening Democracy and Rights
Can’t you just feel all that democratic strengthening? Right on Matt!
I’m just having a bit of a swoon here, just knowing that my democracy and rights are being strengthened by ‘Matt’ and his mates is proving a bit too much for my little brain to handle.
So, while I’m trying to recover from my democratic overdose, have a look at my Q and A session with Sir Matt of Brogue-Leather….. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. Those people in Ivory Towers Inc are hardly going to agree with an ordinary Tommy Atkins like yours truly….. so maybe you should make a cup of tea instead?
Q1) Can you tell me why devolution for Scotland, Wales and N.I. was seen as an imperative - but when someone like me says that therefore England should have an EQUAL amount of devolution - the establishment start to blather on about pathetic R.A.s.
A1) The Government recognises that demand for directly elected devolved government varies across the UK and the four components of the UK have their own histories and distinct national identities. In addition, all have different administrative structures, size and populations.
The highest priority was given to the creation of a Parliament in Scotland and a National Assembly for Wales, since the demand for decentralisation in these nations was long-standing. Blah, blah, blah...
Summary: Matt. mate, that's precisely the point innit? The Government doesn't recognise anything regarding England - least of all a 'distinct national identity'.
Q2) Why hasn't your department made urgent representations to the ODPM, taking them to task regarding the totally undemocratic and UNELECTED quangos currently populating the 8 'regions' of England and masquerading as popular regional government. (Whether we want them or not).
Don’t the dictatorial actions of the ODPM’s office make an absolute mockery of your department’s rather fanciful and delusional strapline ’Strengthening Democracy and Rights’
A2) Regional Assemblies are voluntary bodies independent of Central Government which were established by local authorities and other regional stakeholders in each English region in the late 1990s. The members of each assembly are wholly selected by bodies within the relevant region. Ministers do not have a role in the process. As voluntary bodies Government has no powers to abolish them.
Summary: Lies, damn lies and you're having a laugh aren't you Matt? Two monster porkies: 1)'Ministers do not have a role in the process' and 2)'As voluntary bodies Government has no powers to abolish them'. Something in the state of Westminster is very smelly - John Prescott's porky fingers being shoved into every constitutional pie in England
Q3) Don't you agree that the current government has democratically short changed the people of England over the past 8 years. If you disagree, please give me some examples on how England has even got close to the other home countries, constitutionally during the last 8 years.
A3) The role of a civil servant is to answer enquiries from the public and to explain Government policy and programmes on behalf of Ministers. It is not to comment on the Government's policies.
Summary: Matt, watch those splinters mate from sitting on the fence.
Q4) Can you tell me when the constitutional anomalies in England are going to be righted. The current situation is an absolute disgrace. Your constitutional department has failed my country very, very badly. Don't you agree?
A4) You also state that there are constitutional anomalies in England. The aim of devolution is to decentralise power and to allow people to take local decisions on matters such as health. Inevitably this will lead to differences in policy between the devolved administrations themselves, and the rest of the country.
I realise that you feel strongly about these matters, and I hope that this response addresses your concerns.
Summary: Matt Cook, what a tosser you are mate. My advice to you is to buy a pair of balls, borrow an attitude and answer the questions. If not, you can compose a new strapline for your useless, self obsessed organisation – the Crown and Devolution Division, Constitution Directorate – something along the lines of ‘England, forever being screwed’