I've just finished recording a ten minute discussion on devolution for BBC Radio Scotland's Scotland at Ten programme (listen tonight at 10pm) with Sir Alan Beith and academic Alan Trench. Sir Alan is chairman of the Justice Select Committee which has published a report on the issue (HERE). It doesn't come to any particular conclusion on what the solution to the English Question ought to be but at least it has defined the questions which need to be asked.
I have to say I don't think constitutional reform is going to be very high on the agenda of whatever colour the next government is and it will be incumbent on those of us who care deeply about constitutional reform to keep up the pressure, from both within and outside Parliament.
I'd like to see a UK wide constitutional convention, made up of all sorts of people and groups, not just elected politicians. It could run along similar lines to the Scottish one from the late 1990s, but England's constitutional future cannot be decided in isolation. There are pressures for the Welsh Assembly to be upgraded to a full parliament, which is something that would have consequences for the UK too. Should the Scottish Parliament also be given further powers? These are not just questions for Scotland and Wales to determine. Such a convention could also look at the future powers and makeup of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as the increasingly important question of the English democratic deficit.
Actually, thinking about it, this is a very good example of what we were debating below in the REVIVING PARLIAMENT thread. Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a proponent of an English Parliament. That's not Conservative Party policy but it is something I believe in out of conviction. If, therefore, there was a debate in the Commons, and I was an MP, no one could expect me, as a backbench MP, to do anything but to follow my convictions. And if I didn't, I'd deserve all that was coming to me.