9 February 2010

Take one ripe Quango... and immolate it!

For the full recipe, consult Nigella.

Just a couple of Scotia-related reports to mention this morning, making a primae facie case for their interest and importance. First up, for those of you keen on Quango-bashing or discreet bonfires of quasi-autonomous non-government organisations, Reform Scotland invites you to join its merry band in a report marked Democratic Power.

Secondly, and more to my culinary tastes, I wanted, briskly for now, to highlight the report, written by the group Justice on “Devolution and Human Rights”. In particular, the piece gives a proposed ‘British Bill of Rights’ a going over by locating that wispy promise in the context of the devolved settlements, including wur ain Parliament. University of Edinburgh legal academic, Alan Trench, has a helpful précis of the document over at his appositely entitled ‘Devolution Matters’ blog. I won’t try to better it right now, but will probably give the report a more in-depth examination later and may concentrate on one theme of t’other which emerges.

Although I’m not a regular reader, I notice that the Guardian seems to be the only paper which has picked this tale up in a significant way. Trumpeting that ‘Scotland and Ireland could reject bill of rights’, while Afua Hirsch continues her commentary over at their Comment is Free will the pungently entitled ‘Hating the human rights act – an English phenomenon’. I would gently remind Hirsch – and for the sake of scattering salt on the oleaginous slug, remind my readers, of the misleading nonsense which Struan Stevenson of the Scottish Conservatives dredged up during the last round of elections to the European Parliament. That said, the idea that there may be some national divergences in approaches to the Human Rights Act – particularly among elite preferences – seems to me not unreasonable. Take the self-same European election results, their divergence north and south of the
Tweed, and how this tracks England’s betimes heady anti-European sentiment which does not seem to roll unproblematically northward.

Happy reading!

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