We need to move Parliament north as a first step to reducing the dominance of London and geographically re-centering our national identity

Devolution of government from it's current London base will always be lop-sided while Parliament resides in our main commercial city. The further people are from London, the more disenfranchised they feel. London has its own identity and needs as our only truly global city. Many countries have recognised the need for this separation ( USA, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands etc).

The emergence of a 'London Metropolitan Elite' during this century has been a primary cause of the feeling that the UK is no longer one nation. I live only 60 miles from London, but it feels like a different country when I travel there.

Inevitably politicians become sucked into the London and Westminster bubbles and 'go native' rather than remaining truly connected with their constituencies. It can also act as an inhibitor to young parents and particularly women becoming MP's, due to the distances, costs the other challenges of balancing constituency and family life in our most expensive city.

The near-miss with the Scottish Referendum has sparked calls for regional devolution and English votes etc. If parliament was moved - to say Manchester -  this would help to ensure the correct balance between centralist and regional governance and help the Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish to feel more physically connected to the UK. London and the South-East for example could be recognised as a devolved region and given powers similar to those promised to Scotland

In practical terms it is estimated that repairs to the Palace of Westminster will cost £3Bn (assume that means £6Bn as these costs always double !). These costs could be offset by converting it to a national museum and conference centre which would become a major tourist attraction. The money saved could instead be used to build a new National Parliament nearer to the centre of the UK. The building of HS2 and the availablity of high bandwidth communications, video conferencing etc mean that there could be no need to degrade connectivity with all the other London-based institutions etc. It would provide an opportunity for parliament to modernise its processes and be seen by the country and world at large as a truly 21st Century institution. It would also have a beneficial side-effect of transfering related commercial activity and create jobs in the new location, as 'money flows towards centres of power'

While much of the discussion on the LSE project focusses on consititutional rights and responsibilities, this idea - if handled correctly would be far more than a symbolic geographical move. It could herald a real change in the UK's centre of gravity and improve the future cohesiveness of our nation

steveg33 Apr 7, 2015

Moving Parliament North to a more geographically central location would aim to achieve the following:

1. Reduce the London/SE England political /commercial concentration of power
2. Re-engage the 'rest of the UK' by symbolically placing Parliament in a location which could help revitalise a sense of nation across the UK: 'Our Parliament, not London's Parliament'
3. Encourage a major new 'hub' to develop outside the South East (this might also give HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse initiatives a much more credible focus and support)
4. Send a message to rest of the world that says 'the UK is not just London'
5. Provide the opportunity for Parliament to move to a modern building fit for a 21st century democracy, and not stuck in the outdated and inefficient facilities and processes of the Palace of Westminster

Michael Ward Apr 11, 2015

Just wondering if you want to propose anywhere specific for Parliament to be? This might be important in a constitutional article. Morecambe, in Lancashire is apparently the geographical centre of the UK, it could be an option.

steveg33 Apr 12, 2015

In the hacking stage,  gave Manchester as an example, as the location would need to be at an existing transport hub, so this came to mind - given HS2 and its airport. I'm not a great fan of HS2, but actually this might give it more of a justification.

Michael Ward Apr 12, 2015

Yes of course, I was half-joking with the Morecambe proposal. It might be worth including Manchester into the proposal somewhere, just to make it more concrete?

steveg33 Apr 13, 2015

Michael

Happy to do this, but the 'summarisation' is already quite long. Also, I didn't want to put people off by being too specific on location. This idea has lost half its votes in the last week !

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Harry Blain Apr 11, 2015

Any thoughts on how we could word this Steve? E.g., assuming we're also talking about a fairly "federal" setup, "Parliament shall represent the United Kingdom as a whole, and, in its geographic location, reflect the country's regional diversity". The capital could even rotate...

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steveg33 Apr 11, 2015

Harry

my post 3 days ago was an attempt at summarisation

do you want an even more succinct definition of the idea ?!

I'm not keen on the idea of rotation due t oneed to establish a new symbolic focal point and the cost and negative associations with the EU Stasbourg/Brussels monthly circus

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/eur...ing-circus.html

 

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Harry Blain Apr 11, 2015

No I think it's nice and succinct as it is. I was more thinking about how it could be worded in the constitution - perhaps as you have it now is best anyway

Harry Blain Apr 11, 2015

And agreed on the point of rotation, we don't want the constitution to read "Parliament shall be a travelling circus"

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