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Westminster ‘a clapped out undemocratic structure’ says former BBC presenter

13 Mar 2021 2 minute read
Gavin Esler. Picture by the BBC

Westminster is a “clapped out undemocratic structure invented in the era of the horse and cart,” a former BBC presenter has said in an article about the break up of the UK.

Gavin Estler suggests in his book How Britain Ends “a federal United Kingdom based on more devolution and a profound shake-up of institutions, especially Westminster”.

But in an article for the BBC the former Newsnight presenter who is now Chancellor of the University of Kent warns that a shake-up may come too late.

“Scots are “scunnered” (sickened) that in 2014 Westminster politicians promised that voting “No” to independence was the only way to guarantee staying in the EU. Those promises turned out to be false” he said.

“Unionists in Northern Ireland are semi-detached from the UK. In 1973 when we joined the EU the Irish Republic was (per capita GDP) much poorer than the UK. By 2020 it was much richer.

“Wales, where polls suggest support for independence is growing, will make its own choices, but whatever happens Wales will be profoundly affected by events elsewhere.”

He pointed to First Past the Post and an unelected second chamber as being among the deficiencies of the current Westminster system.

He said that under Westminster’s current voting system parties could enormous parliamentary majority based on a clear minority of the vote.

“Moreover, no modern European state has an unelected upper chamber,” he said.

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