Saturday, 4 February 2017
Plugging The Gap
Each of the present or, where they have been abolished in the rush to unitary local government, the previous city, borough and district council areas in each of the nine English regions must be twinned with a demographically comparable one (though not defined in terms of comparable affluence) in Scotland, in Wales, in Northern Ireland, and in each of the other English regions.
Across each of the key indicators – health, education, housing, transport, and so on – both expenditure and outcomes in each English area, responsibility for such matters being devolved elsewhere, would have to equal or exceed those in each of its twins.
Or else the relevant Ministers’ salaries would be docked by the percentage in question.
By definition, that would always include the Prime Minister.
No one would lose under any of this: both expenditure and outcomes would have to be maintained in, most obviously, Scotland and the South East for the twinning system to work.
Is it conceivable that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish voters would not also insist on full incorporation into it, with their own areas thus also guaranteed expenditure and outcomes equal to or exceeding those in each of those areas’ respective twins?
Or else the relevant Holyrood, Cardiff Bay or Stormont Ministers’ salaries would be docked by the percentage in question.
By definition, that would always include the First Minister, and in Northern Ireland also the Deputy First Minister.