I read this with quiet horror in the Guardian:
London should be treated as a city state and given tax-raising powers to match its equal standing with the four nations of the UK, according to a potential Labour candidate for mayor.
Gareth Thomas, a former trade minister who hopes to succeed Boris Johnson next year, says that as the country inevitably moves towards a federal system, it was time to recognise that “our UK is made up of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the city state of London”.
I have read what Gareth Thomas wrote himself wrote on the issue. And it makes no more sense.
Let's ignore the fact that for centuries many of the problems of this country have arisen from the fact that it already has a City State - the City of London - within it. This is a state already dedicated to promoting the cause of finance, of unbridled competition, the tax race to the bottom and the creation of inequality, and which uses state funds for this purpose.
And now Gareth Thomas wants to compound that with a second City State within the state of the UK - a city state of Greater London to be accurate, if I read him right. As a result he wants to devolve taxing powers to London.
Now why would he do that? To increase those taxes? Or to reduce them?
And would he want to reduce them by reducing the redistribution from London to the rest of the country, maybe? Or is that, at the very least, a foreseeable risk of what he is proposing? If so, how can this help the creation of a fairer, more equal, better balanced UK economy?
There is no way that I can see it will.
And to find Labour supporting the powers of the existing City State of London simply staggers me.
I'll take comfort from the fact that as far as I can tell almost no one has yet noticed Gather Thomas MP is seeking to be Labour's mayoral candidate. It might be best for social justice in the UK if it stayed that way if this is what he is proposing.