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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blowing hot and cold

So what is Neil Kinnock up to? Having built his reputation within Wales by campaigning against devolution in 1979, he then supported the Welsh Assembly in 1997. Now, he has reverted to his original default setting - devolution of powers at different paces across Britain would lead to misunderstandings and enmity between the nations and the regions, blah, blah, blah...

Frankly, his talk of tensions between nations fostering fears of a break-up of the UK is just nonsense. He knows that devolution is not about independence but empowerment. People need to move at their own pace. They also need to see that the devolved bodies are adding value and that means that there is a need to give them the power to make a real difference. If Kinnock was really worried about the pace of reform he would be supporting full law-making powers for the Welsh Assembly and advocating proper devolution for England or its regions as well. Instead, he just wants to put up a road block and maintain the status quo he is protesting about. His views have the intellectual coherence of an ant.

We already live in an increasingly diverse society. That is a strength and it should be recognised as such. Political diversity means that a region or a nation can develop solutions to its own problems without having them imposed on them from above. It means that one area can learn from another and work with others to press for change. If he were a radical of any sort Neil Kinnock would recognise that. Alas, the ermine seems to have blurred his judgement.
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