Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comment on Daniel Hannan, – Telegraph Blogs:
No to an EU budget hike, no to fiscal federalism,
yes to a referendum

No to an EU budget hike, no to fiscal federalism, yes to a referendum – Telegraph Blogs

It is not exactly clear from the thread what Mr Hannan means by "fiscal federalism." An explanation would be appreciated.

Federalism is generally a good thing and not to be confused with the faux EU doctrine of Subsidiarity. While not invented in America, bows to the Swiss and Dutch are in order, it is reasonable to view it as the key to the success of the United States and America's founders great gift to constitutional theory.

A Federation is more efficient and survivable than a Confederation but far more flexible and susceptible to democratic control than systems of provincial administration, whether their effectively appointed and centrally controlled rulers are called Satraps, Vicegerents, Administrative Unit Ministers, or Presidents of Constituent Republics.

UK Conservatives are understandably leery of dividing the Realm into independent districts. As it is the unhappy history has produced the Irish Republic occupy most of that island and with a low grade civil war that has lasted almost a century but whose citizens may vote in the UK. That privilege was granted even after their Lords were removed from the Upper House. In the cases of Scotland and Wales you have the worst of all possible solutions. Devolution has produced expensive talking shops that solve few problems but feed politicians ambitious to create new grievances and move towards dissolution. That is aside from the glaring problem of the West Lothian question.

Why not try real federalism? Transfer responsibility for social and educational policy, at least below the University level, and local services down to the 10 regional political units in the UK and make each of them equal in stature. Include tax authority and make it written in stone that there will be no subsidies from the national Exchequer. Local interests will compete to support politicians in Westminister who will fund national infrastructure projects or defense spending that benefits a region. Jealousy and competition will serve as a check on waste.

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