German have right idea for devolution – we gave it to them

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From: John R Blundell, Matterdale Road, Dewsbury.

AS we now know the result of the referendum in Scotland in favour of remaining in the United Kingdom, I believe this offers the whole country the opportunity to reorganise its political structure in to a more democratic and cost- effective system.

Having worked in Germany for several years it allowed me to observe the way in which their democracy works, which to me is very well. The German Parliament is a smaller entity with circa 600 members split 50/50 first past the post and proportional representation. The country is then split into regional governments with full-time officials, with the third tier being local councils with part-time members under the local mayor (Burgermeister).

This system seems to work better and leads to a better local involvement. It was after all the UK which set up this system after the Second World War.

The public have become disenchanted with our current political system and the Scotland referendum has shown the interest there is in a more representative political system.

My proposal would be to reduce the number of Parliamentary seats down to a maximum 500 with a split similar to the German system and to have six regional governments with rural and towns and cities giving a more balanced consensus, plus Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and London. Then we could replace the current unitary authorities with city councils, town councils, urban district and rural district councils, all with part-time councillors with remuneration for only direct travelling expenses.

This system would allow the regional governments to combine police, fire and rescue and ambulance services to possibly work out of the same buildings as they all tend to be at the same emergency situations sent there by the same emergency telephone centre.

I appreciate that this is radical but we need something to take party politics out of the local system. It worked in the past.

My father was chairman of our local urban district council who had a town clerk and around 70 employees and the urban district councils worked within West Yorkshire County Council very well indeed. Let’s not live in the past but let’s learn from the past. Devolution seems to work very well in London and I think the Olympic Games was an excellent example of what can be achieved.

I know that the above is somewhat over simplified but British ingenuity and compromise should be able to achieve this.