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经济学人:英国宪法 现在轮到英格兰问题了

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The British constitution

英国宪法

Now for the English question

现在轮到英格兰问题了

Scotland's place in the United Kingdom is settled. Time to deal with its much larger neighbor

苏格兰在英国的地位已经得到解决。是时候该解决其更大邻居的问题了。

THE national rejoicing did not last long. Shortly after six o'clock on the morning of September 19th, the BBC announced that Scotland had voted to stay in the United Kingdom. At seven o'clock, with unionists still hugging each other, David Cameron, the prime minister, triggered a new constitutional crisis—this time concerning England.

英国的喜悦并没有持续很长时间。9月19日早上6点整刚过,BBC就宣布经投票,苏格兰依然留在英国。7点整,统一派还在相互拥抱,而英国首相大卫·卡梅伦却引发了一场新的宪法的危机—这一次,关系到英格兰。

The country is hard done by, he argued. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have their own assemblies, which control much domestic policy. But England—with 84% of the union's population—is still run from Westminster. And, since Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales continue to send MPs to Parliament, they can sway decisions on English schools, health care and the like, without English MPs having reciprocal rights. This must change, Mr Cameron said.

他提出,这个国家受到了不公平的待遇。苏格兰、北爱尔兰和威尔士拥有自己的立法机构,能够掌握大部分国内政策。而英格兰—拥有英联邦84%的总人口—却还是由威斯敏斯特掌管。随着苏格兰、北爱尔兰和威尔士不断把自己的议员塞进国会,他们可以左右英国学校、医疗保健以及类似的东西方面的决定,但是没有英格兰议员有响应的权利。这个状况必须改变,卡梅伦声称。

It is an old anomaly. Tam Dalyell, a Scottish Labour MP, pointed it out so often in the 1970s and 1980s that it has been dubbed the West Lothian Question after his constituency. But it grows more irksome as the devolved assemblies become more powerful. They already control health and education. Scotland will get more power over taxes in 2016. And late in the Scottish campaign a panicky Mr Cameron, Ed Miliband (Labour's leader) and Nick Clegg promised yet more.

这是一个历史很久的反常现象。一位苏格兰工党议员谭姆·戴利埃尔在20世纪70年代到80年代之间多次指出这个问题,因此他的支持者把这个问题称谓西洛锡安问题。但是随着已经发展的立法机构变得越来越强大,这个问题也变得越来越让人困扰。他们已经控制了医疗和教育。到2016年,苏格兰在税收方面权利将变得更大。而且在近期的苏格兰运动中,惊慌失措的卡梅伦、艾德·米利班德和尼克·克莱格给了苏格兰更多的承诺。

Albion's fatal flaw

阿尔比恩的致命弱点

Mr Cameron may be playing politics. Any limit on the power of Scottish or Welsh MPs to vote on English issues will hurt Labour. But his point stands: it is simply not fair to disadvantage English voters in this way. The system must be changed, ideally in a way that enhances democracy, buttresses the union and does not increase bureaucracy. Sadly, these aims clash.

卡梅伦可能在玩弄政治。任何一项对苏格兰或威尔士议员在英格兰问题中的投票限制都会伤害到工党。但是他持这样的观点:让英格兰选民以这种方式处于劣势当然是不公平的。这个体系必须改变,最理想的就是以一种既能够提高民主,支持英联邦又不加剧官僚体制的方式来改变。遗憾的是,这些目标相互矛盾。

The least cumbersome way to equalise things at Westminster would be to cut the number of MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to reflect their growing autonomy. Northern Ireland was docked in the mid-20th century, when it ran its own affairs. But it would be hard to work out a formula—should Wales have proportionately more MPs than Scotland because its assembly is weaker?—and an ugly fudge would result. Scots would still be voting on English education bills, albeit in smaller numbers. But when it came to voting on war, Scots would have less say. That seems unfair, too.

最缓慢复杂的实现威斯敏斯特平等的方式就是削减来自苏格兰、威尔士和北爱尔兰的国会议员,以示其日益增长的自治权。北爱尔兰在20世纪中期在管理自己的事务时被剔除了。但是很难计算出一个公式——由于威尔士的立法机构更弱,威尔士就应该比苏格兰拥有更大比例的议员吗?——那样只是做做表明文章。苏格兰人还会在英格兰教育费用方面投票,尽管人数较少。但是当提到战争问题,苏格兰人就很少有发言权。那看起来也不公平。

A more democratic and bolder alternative would be to set up a separate English parliament. It would handle domestic policy, leaving foreign affairs and economic co-ordination to a federal parliament. This is a logical solution: everyone, including the English, would then have an assembly. English MPs would be accountable for English policies, British MPs for British ones, and voters would know whom to blame for what.

一个更加民主更勇敢的选项可能是建立一个独立的英格兰议会。议会可以处理国内政策问题,而国外事务和经济协调问题还是由联邦议会决定。这是一个合乎情理的解决方法:每个人,包括英格兰人,都会有一个议会。英格兰议员对英格兰政策问题负责,英国议员对英国问题负责,所有的投票者都知道自己对什么负责。

But England's sway would make that arrangement unsustainable. The most powerful part of the federation would dominate the federal parliament. The English and British parliaments would surely end up feuding, particularly over money. In the end the English parliament would probably prevail, and the British parliament would atrophy. Mr Cameron would probably want to be first minister of England and prime minister of Britain. The political union that politicians (and this newspaper) have spent two years defending as a bastion of tolerance would be endangered. England's power could be countered with a broader redesign, including, say, an elected president or a more regionally balanced senate. But that entails even more upheaval.

但是英格兰的势力会使得那样的格局不稳定。联邦中最有权力的部分将会统治联邦议会。英格兰议会和英联邦议会必然会以长期不和结束,尤其在钱的问题上。最后,英格兰议会很可能会胜利,而英联邦议会则会衰退。卡梅伦可能想成为首位英格兰部长以及英国首相。政客花了两年时间以捍卫包容为防御的政治联盟可能会有危险。英格兰的权力和更广范围的重新计划相悖,包括,比方说,获选的总统或更地区性的公平参议院。但是那牵涉到更多的动荡。

The civil servants who designed Germany's federal system after the second world war came up with a solution to the dominant-country problem. To prevent the huge state of Prussia from overwhelming the system, they broke it into several new ones. This could be done in England, too. The south-west, north-east and other regions could be given powers roughly equivalent to Scotland and Wales. But the English do not think of themselves as living in regions; they identify more with cities and counties. In 2004 the residents of north-east England crushed plans for a regional assembly by four to one.

二战后,设计德国联邦体系的公务员提出了解决统治性国家问题的方法。为了阻止普鲁士大部分地区打破这个体系,他们把这个系统分成几个新的体系。这个方法也可以再英格兰实行。西南、东北和其他地区可以平等地享有苏格兰和威尔士享有的权利。但是英格兰人不以生活的地区来区分,他们更多的以城市和国家来区分。2004年,英格兰东北地区以四比一的比例阻止了建立地区性议会的计划。

The English solution

英格兰解决方法

This newspaper has long argued for constitutional reform—with an elected second chamber and a written constitution. We would also like to see more powers given to mayors. If Mr Cameron holds a convention prepared to consider these things, all well and good. But the issue now is “English votes on English laws”; and there is a practical answer within the current Westminster parliament, the “double majority”.

本报长期以来一直在宪政改革问题上争论不休—争论民选上议院和成文宪法的问题。我们也希望看到市长被赋予更多权力。如果卡梅伦召开大会准备考虑这些问题,那当然好。但是现在的问题是“英格兰人在英格兰法律方面投票”,目前威斯特敏斯特议会中现行的解决方法是“双重多数决”。

Under this system, proposed by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a Scottish Tory, a bill that only affects England would need to be passed by a majority both of the whole House of Commons and of English MPs. That would prevent a future Labour government unfairly using Scottish votes to force laws on the English; but (unlike a separate English parliament or a system that gave English MPs full power over English laws) it would stop English Tories from creating a shadow government. At present bills often have some clauses that affect only England, or England and Wales, and some that are broader. Such laws would have to be passed in bits.

在这个苏格兰保守党党员马尔科姆·里夫金德提出的体系之下,一项只影响英格兰的议案需要经过整个下议院和英格兰国会议员中的大多数同意才可通过。那样可以预防未来工党政府不公平地用苏格兰选票强制通过英格兰的法律。但是,这可以防止英格兰保守党党员创立影子政府。目前,议案中经常有一些条款只影响英格兰或者英格兰和威尔士,还有些条款影响范围更大。这种法律必须以大多数同意才可以通过。

There are flaws. The double majority would slow down legislation. To pass an English education or health bill, a national Labour government that relied on Scottish votes would have to court English Liberal Democrats or Tories. Since 1919 there have been only 36 months (in 1964-66 and 1974-76) when a national government has depended on Scottish votes for its majority. Even if that is more likely in the future, due to the fracturing of party politics, the system would have the good effect of pushing any such government to advance measures with broad support. A bit of haggling is better than an unjust vote.

这种做法还是有弱点的。双重多数决会减缓立法进程。要通过一项英格兰教育或医疗的议案,依赖苏格兰选票的国家的工党政府要争取英格兰自由民主党成员或者保守党党员的支持。自从1919年起,只有36个月(1964年到66年和1974年到76年),国家政府依赖苏格兰投票来获得绝大多数支持。即使未来因为党派政治的破裂,该体系很可能在推动任何一个这样的政府获得更广泛的支持来提高措施方面有好的效果。一点点争论比不公平的投票更好。

The main objection to the double majority is that English voters would still have less clout than their Celtic cousins. That is undeniable. Yet, as the panic about losing Scotland showed, the English are willing to give up something to save the union—and the democratic cost to mighty England in this case would be small. The double majority is a bit of a fiddle. But it is the least-bad solution to the English problem.

对于双重多数决最主要的反对在于英格兰选民还是比他们的凯尔特弟兄们拥有更少的影响力。这点毋庸置疑。但是,正如失去苏格兰的恐慌显示,英格兰人愿意放弃一些东西来挽救整个英联邦—这个事件中,民主党的损耗对于强大的英格兰来讲是很小的。双重多数决有点像一场骗局。但是这是对英格兰问题最好的解决方法了。译者:王丹培

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