Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Brexit: and the art of 'subsidiarity': or how to devolve power

Brexit and devolution are all about redistribution of political power from the centre to the periphery:
Futures Forum: Devolution deals looking even more doubtful...
Futures Forum: Brexit: and devolution: "Devolution is a great opportunity after years of oppressive centralisation"
Futures Forum: Brexit: and devolution >>> this will not include a Devon-and-Cornwall entity

The trouble begins, though, when those on the periphery start getting a bit uppity: 

Voluntary sector ‘must play key devolution role’

Richard Johnstone 12 Sep 16

A group of more than 30 voluntary sector leaders has set out a statement of principles for devolution across England that includes a call for greater involvement of voluntary organisations in local decision-making.
At a summit held in London on 7 September, the group set out steps that should be taken to put people at the heart of devolution in England.
Among the 16 points – covering voice and advocacy, financing devolution, and public service reform – was a call for an agreement between devolved authorities, elected officials and the voluntary sector around the design, commissioning, funding and delivery of public services.

Voluntary sector demands to be involved in devolution bids | East Devon Watch
Voluntary sector ‘must play key devolution role’ | Public Finance

The context is 'sovereignty':

“Vote leave, take control”? Sovereignty and the Brexit debate


The debate about the UK’s membership of the European Union has turned in large part upon the notion of control, “vote leave, take control” being the pro-Brexit campaign’s mantra. 
The idea that there has been a loss of control, and that the UK is increasingly governed from Brussels by an unelected, unaccountable “elite”, has fired the public imagination, giving the Leave campaign real traction. 
So too has the argument that control should be wrested from the EU by leaving it and re-asserting “sovereignty”. 
Leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson has thus argued that “you cannot express the sovereignty of Parliament and accept the 1972 European Communities Act” (which, among other things, gives priority to EU law over domestic law in the UK). Meanwhile, 
Nigel Farage, leader of the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party, wishes to see Britain re-establish itself as “a proud, patriotic country that has control of its borders, represents itself on the world stage and makes its own laws in our own sovereign Parliament”.

Brexit | “Vote leave, take control”? Sovereignty and the Brexit debate – Professor Mark Elliott | Public Law for Everyone

Which leads us to something called 'subsidiarity':

The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary (that is, a supporting, rather than a subordinate) function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. 
The principle of subsidiarity plays an important role in the political functioning of the European Union concerning the relationship between the EU governing bodies and the member states.

Brexit: An Exercise in the Violation of Subsidiarity 

(Anna P. Blackman) 08 Jul, 2016

David Cameron’s notion of ‘Big Society’ drew heavily upon the notion of subsidiarity. Cameron’s “Big Society” initiative sought to devolve decision-making to local communities and foster the development of volunteer associations and cooperatives. At best, however, this can be seen as a bastardisation of the principle of subsidiarity.

Brexit: An Exercise in the Violation of Subsidiarity (Anna P. Blackman) | Political Theology Today

The EU Referendum: A Call for Genuine Subsidiarity?

16 August 2016

By voting to leave the EU, the people of the UK are – admittedly among other things – calling for genuine subsidiarity, not simply an occasional concession from the top of the pyramid. 
Issues should be dealt with as locally as possible; decisions should preferably be made at a grassroots level. 
People want more control over laws that affect them, and they do want to be included in decision-making. 
In an age of much talk about democratic accountability, electorates do not readily acquiesce in political elitism, and will not put up with an invariable, deep-rooted avoidance of transparency.

The EU Referendum: A Call for Genuine Subsidiarity? | Thomas More Institute

Then there is how localities should be reacting to the Brexit debate about decentralisation of power:
Local Government Devolution Vs. Brexit - CAJA

It depends where your own locality is as to how you see the debate over power redistribution:
Brexit: What role did 'place' play? - RSA

What is clear is that it's very difficult to give up power:
Politicians often claim commitment to decentralising the state, but once in government they are unwilling to relinquish their own power | British Politics and Policy at LSE

Meanwhile, in God's Own Country, there are clear doubts about any new arrangement:
Trust me! Brexit is not going to happen. News Item | Yorkshire Devolution Movement

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