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Now that Scotland and Wales have progressive, devolved governments, should England have one too wonders Barbara Panvel.

Devolved governments in Scotland and Wales have acted energetically to improve the lives of many electors.

Wales is committed to keeping genetically modified crops out of the country and has passed ‘polluter pays’ legislation: there will be a legal obligation to pay full compensation for any form of pollution from April onwards.

The Welsh government has taken measures to raise levels of organic food production, to promote the buying of local food by the public sector and to broaden the range of foods produced in Wales.

Minister Elin Jones notes that there are some farmers who rely entirely on the export market, and warns “by putting all their eggs in one basket [they] put their livelihoods totally at risk”.

The First Minister, Rhodri Morgan states: “we see no need . . . and we do not envisage any circumstances in which there could be a need for new nuclear generation in Wales”.

Scottish measures to help the frail elderly and students are well known but far more is being done.

This week, the Scottish Government announced that the new South Glasgow Hospital would be publicly funded instead of using the expensive and often unreliable PFI system.

Tidal and wave generated renewable energy is being backed, remote crofting communities are being enabled to flourish and Scots are being given the right to buy land they’ve worked for years.

The government is aiming to see more beef, lamb, pig, chicken, fruit, salmon and white fish processed in Scotland rather than being exported. The Rural Affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said “I would like to see more Scottish food ending up on our plates.”

A recent report from Oxford Economics using Treasury data states that the tax input generated from Scotland in the year 2005/06, including North Sea oil revenues, was £49bn, compared to £49.2bn total expenditure. If the current higher price of oil is added to the equation, says Scots MEP Alyn Smith, Scotland more than pays its way.

With hydro, coal, offshore wind and other renewable energies, Scotland has a comparative advantage in energy generation. As Alex Salmond explained, it has no need to install more nuclear power, ‘ a dirty technology’, in which it has no advantage. More energy is now generated in Scotland by renewables than nuclear power and exports of electricity to UK rose by 50% last year.

After firmly locking the ‘revolving door’ between MPs and corporations, electoral reform and devolution might lead to the formation of a more caring and dynamic English Parliament.

Does England need its own parliament? Leave a comment on The Stirrer Forum.


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