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England needs properly thought out reform

David Ellesmere WaterfrontIn the end the vote in the Scottish Referendum wasnt that close, writes Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Ipswich, Cllr David Ellesmere.

Most of us south of the border will have breathed a sigh of relief. We are still in Great Britain. Our country is still the United Kingdom.

Except of course the Referendum debate has shown us that we are not united as a country.

In Scotland, at least, a major cause of disunity is the Conservative Party. David Cameron, the leader of our country, was not able to lead the Nocampaign because he is so unpopular. A significant proportion of people who voted Yesdid so as they thought it would mean they could stop the Tories ever running Scotland again. 

The Government had to rely almost completely on the Labour Party - and in particular Gordon Brown - to save the union. 

Given this, you would expect a certain amount of humility from David Cameron but he has immediately jumped in at the deep end with back of a fag packet proposals for devolution in England. 

I dont hold out much hope for them going actually ahead. Virtually every constitutional change theyve tried  has not gone anywhere. Changing the voting system, reforming the House of Lords, and the right of recall for MPs have all bitten the dust because the Government hasnt thought them through.

Before the Scottish Parliament was established, it was preceded by a Constitutional Convention formed of a wide cross-section of political parties, civic groups, churches and businesses. It deliberated for months before coming up with a blueprint for the Parliament that everyone could sign up to.

Thats what needs to happen if were going to come up with changes to the system that will stand the test of time.

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