Tele column – 7th July 2017

The Welsh Government implemented a soft opt-out policy for organ donation in 2015. The Scottish Government has recently indicated it will do the same. When I asked the Secretary of State for Health in the Westminster parliament if he would do the same, I got an encouraging response.

The Scottish government has also said it is working towards legalising cannabis for medical purposes. A group of Cross party MPs and Members of the House of Lords are actively encouraging Westminster to do the same. Although I applaud both policies I am frustrated that Westminster, which sees itself as the mother of Parliaments is slow to lead. There is so much good it could do, such as the Nordic model on prostitution, Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) set at a maximum of £2 a spin, a Universal Basic Income, to name just three. But Westminster is stuck in a state of paralysis, incapable of moving forward for fear of letting go of the past. This happens when your establishment is so rooted in history and rigid conformation. It is the 21st century and only this week were men allowed to ask a question in the House of Commons chamber while not wearing a tie. The world is changing quicker than it has ever changed before and governments have to start acknowledging that and adapting their working models and systems of government to reflect that. Citizen’s assemblies and greater spending power at local government level could encourage and engage more people and lead to policy changes that are proactive and empowering but for that to happen central government has to be brave and confident and at this time Westminster is neither.