Amid the furore over the Scottish independence referendum, aren't we all overlooking one of the underlying issues driving tensions between the UK government and all other tiers of government, namely, the way in which uk national budgets are formulated?
Brief exchanges with comrades elsewhere in the country led me to formulate a resolution for my local Labour Party branch which hopefully will be debated later this week.
Labour Party action following Scottish referendum
The outcome of the Scottish Referendum rejecting independence has inspired debate about devolution of powers from the Westminster Parliament. This resolution aims to encourage debate about ways in which Labour Party members and their existing elected representatives have at their disposal today to shape a settlement to meet the aspirations of those seeking a fairer, more equal and prosperous society, pending resolution of the wider constitutional issues.
1. notes commitments by Labour Party leader Ed Miliband to enable greater devolution to Scotland and local government
2. recognises the need to reunite the United Kingdom within this new framework
3. considers that current UK national budget making arrangements are inconsistent with such devolution
1. calls on the Labour Party leadership to adopt an inclusive approach to UK national budget making to encourage a national sense of purpose while at the same time enabling devolution of powers from the UK government, consistent with the UK's international and EU budgetary commitments and obligations
2. calls on Labour's elected representatives at all levels of government to exercise leadership by acquiring and develop the skills to prepared revenue and capital budgets for FY 2015/16 and beyond
3. invites them to coordinate their efforts prior to negotiation with an incoming Labour chancellor of the exchequer with a view to reaching a consensus about a national UK budget designed to enable Growth4All
4. while recognising the constraints on the next Labour government arising from five years of mismanagement by the Tory/LibDem coalition, opposes rigid adherence to Tory/LibDem spending plans in FY 15/16 as proposed by the current shadow chancellor Ed Balls MP
5. calls on Labour's elected representatives on the ALC, ALG, National Policy Forum, and the Clause V Committee to vote for the inclusion of the above measures in Labour's 2015 General Election Manifesto.
As this is my first post for over nine months, I doubt it will attract much interest, but I think, over the next week, it may be worth unpicking why I'm less interested in the constitutional convention route, than reflecting on how centralised budgetary power is (ab)used by UK governments. With Labour leader Ed Miliband in thrall to his (second choice) shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, easing the resulting tensions appears impossible unless confronted. The affiliated trade unions have demonstrated by their posturing at Labour's National Policy Forum in Milton Keynes in July, they can not undertake that role. It is now up to Labour Party members, especially those who are elected representatives to take up the struggle. Budgetary power must be devolved. Who votes for what in the Westminister Parliament is a sideshow in comparison.