Funny. I can't remember the last time I met anyone who cares one way or the other about an English Parliament, so the riot police can take the weekend off. If only the fuckwits who report opinion polls would do the same.
The thing is, quite a high proportion of the people who think that opinion polls tell us much about what people want also think that referendums are a useful way of making decisions on big issues. They're not, and they aren't.
Since 1997, Labour have established devolved assemblies in Scotland, Wales, London and (up to a point) in Northern Ireland. Yet they now seem to have lost interest in it as their weak response to setbacks in promoting regional government in England. Here's how the logic worked:
- In a country without a constitution, they were prepared to accept the argument that regional government is a constitutional issue.
- They then accepted that - in order to bring in regional assemblies, that they would need a referendum to provide a legitimate view of the will of the people.
- When they lost the first one, they decided that the whole 'constitutional' reform programme was officially derailed for good.
- It would make people pay more attention to local elections. Local Councillors would have a bit of leverage that may allow them to demand a little more power for themselves.
- Once a bureaucracy was established to support the indirectly elected assembly, you can bet your life that - as sure as bureaucrats create work for themselves, that they will start competing with Whitehall for power.
I understand that Gordon Brown is in favour of decentralisation.
Like he's in favour of votes for 16 year olds.
Like he's in favour of electoral reform.