I had a busy time last week writing letters to the Guardian which , alas, they didn't find worthy of publication. Here's the firsst.
In response to a proposal by Simon Jenkins that parliament moves to Manchester it may not wish to move back:
I'm sure Simon Jenkins is correct in his observation that “the Palace of Westminster may not be fit for purpose , but it is a holy of democratic holies” (Westminster may be crumbling but this is our chance to reclaim democracy, 5 March) but I believe that his solution of trundling the whole caboodle to Manchester is inadequate.
My ideal solution would be to have two parliaments. The one in Westminster, suitably repaired and basking in its historical prestige, could house representatives of the entire United Kingdom and debate and legislate for the sexy subjects of foreign policy, defence, relations with the EU and UN, management the currency , some taxation to facilitate equalisation grants between the nations, and oversight of the BBC and weather forecast.
A second parliament, for England only and based not in Manchester but York, historically England’s second city, should deal with such remaining matters as have not been devolved to the English Regions – the law, legal and justice systems, frameworks for education and the health and care services, national transport systems, etc, and taxation to finance its responsibilities.
This scheme would facilitate a welcome dispersal of powers and functions, whilst allowing Westminster politicians to continue to strut around feeling important.