The Lion and the Unicorn


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Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Lords reform

The commission under Jack Cunningham is divided over the options for the House of Lords with an elected component ranging from 20% to 80% of the House. There is also significany division over the role of the Second Chamber.

The guardian emphasises the possible regional components of the new chamber. It appears that there will be divisions between the Lords who favour appointees and the Commons who favour elected members. Moreover, it is rumoured that the Government favours an election for the Upper House at the next General Election allowing a Lords of the same political hue as the Commons. There will be many ructions between the 'appointed peers' and the 'elected peers' schools in the parties especially as possible free votes will turn up in November and the imbalances within the constitution have not been properly debated.
Talking Shop

Plaid Cymru has demanded a debate on the Iraqi crisis in the Welsh assembly and has been criticised for wasting time by both the Conservatives and Labour.

In this instance, Plaid Cymru is attempting to extend the role of the chamber as a debating space for Wales and as an attempt to articulate a Welsh response to serious affairs. As the assembly now exists, it would appear that one of its national roles does lie in holding debates on serious issues that affect Wales even if they fall outside the remit of its powers; a wider 'voice' for Wales than one laid down in the law.
Another example of the Scottish subsidy culture

Like beggars fighting for crumbs, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities states that it faces a £400m shortfall and that the goverment has retained funds for their own priorities. No ideas on how to cut down on waste or provide value for the hardpressed taxpayer.
EU destroys Scottish fishing fleet

It appears that Franz Fischler, EU Commissioner, has demanded a total ban on cod fishing in the North Sea to replenish stocks. Result: the Scottish fishing fleet would die over the next half decade leaving the seas clear for our Med neighbours. Response from the Scottish administration: None.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Labour and Tories both make mistakes

New Labour was seen to endorse a single candidate, Bill Miller, for the rankings on the party lists in the European elections of 2004, leading to squeals of pain from the other possible MEPs standing. The Tories backed an Asian candidate in Glasgow, Ashraf Anjum, after his gifts to members of his community to join the Conservative Party were interpreted as bribes. Simon Woolley, national co-ordinator of Operation Black Vote said that whites had been doing it for years, so that's all right then.
Another step forward for the Highlands

The Scottish Parliament is willing to accept petitions in Gaelic as well as those other well-known Scots languages: Urdu, Cantonese and Punjabi.