1 november 2014, in scotland’s wake

I have to admit to being rather surpised, as well as delighted, that somehow over the last months devolution seems to have taken some very serious steps from the technocratic and academic sphere towards the front line of politics. This week local power was on front pages from the guardian to the financial times, becoming a topic that politicians seem to think might win or lose them votes. The arguments many of us have been sharpening for years about converting the house of lords to a regional chamber in manchester's town hall, of the city getting a proper boris-style mayor, of major infrastructure investments like hs3 and the local tax raising powers to sustain them are suddenly falling from the mouths of party leaders; the grand plan of the parties outbidding each other in the run up to the election seems to be actually unfolding before our eyes. Excellent initiatives like the city growth commission have helped give shape to the impetus, but the game-changer was undoubdedly the scottish referendum, which has left politicians seraching for a way to channel the "and me..?" reaction building up steam in the country. It is certainly good news and brings a fighting chance of sucess better than anytime since the mid-90s when a similar thrust ushered in regional agencies and assemblies and the scottish (and welsh) parliament itself. We need to keep up indeed increase the pressure !