Memorandum by the English Democrats Party
The Elephant in the Room which nobody is mentioning,
is that this Inquiry is about ENGLAND's future only. It is not
about the National devolution of Scotland, about which Tony Blair
said that: Scotland must have its own parliament because Scotland
is a "proud and historic nation". This inquiry is also
not about Wales which has its own Assembly (which is rapidly metamorphizing
into a parliament). The purpose of the Welsh Assembly, as stated
in the legislation, is to be a forum of debate for the Welsh "Nation"!
In England the "Regionalisation" project
has its political purposes. These are:
To attack English National identify by splitting
England into competing Regions. Charles Kennedy's enthusiastic
remark to Scottish Lib Dems that . . . "In England Regional(isation)
is calling into question the idea of England itself", just
as the ODPM's aspirational claim that "there is no such nationality
as English" gives this game away.
To create Regions whose boundaries are drawn
to give the maximum advantage to the ruling party. Both John Major's
Conservative Government and this Government have been guilty of
this, viz: The Northern/North East/North West Region boundary
In no meaningful sense has the Government's
Regionalisation programme devolved powers. Indeed, John Prescott's
first step in "Re-invigorating local democracy" was
to take strategic planning powers away from elected County Councils
and give them to the unelected Regional Assemblies whose agendas
are controlled by his office. The effect of Regionalisation so
far is little more than to centralise local governmental powers
into proxy organisations for the ODPM.
The drive to Regionalise England is partly motivated
by the European Union Federalisation project for which there is
no democratic mandate whatsoever.
These motives are undemocratic and improper.
Further, as this inquiry is about England only, it is undemocratic
for any MP representing a non-English constituency to vote on
The potential for increasing the accountability
of decision-making at the regional and sub-regional level, and
the need to simplify existing arrangements
There is no democratic mandate for the current
Regional structures. The ultimate simplification would be to abolish
the muddle created mostly by this Government.
The potential for devolution of powers from regional
to local level
This should read "back" since they
are almost all powers which have been taken away! Let's start
by returning strategic planning to the County Councils and therefore
to some democratic control.
The effectiveness of current arrangements for
managing services at the various levels, and their inter-relationships
So far as Regionalisation is concerned, the
arrangements are hopeless. In any case Regions are neither strategic
nor local enough to be effective. So far as local government is
concerned that does need a shake up to bring back effective democracy
and to end the control over centralisation.
The potential for new arrangements, particularly
the establishment of city regions
There is no demand for this nor any democratic
mandate. It would be equally improper to use such a scheme for
the same political purposes as the current Regionalisation project.
The only legitimate devolution for England is for it to have its
own national parliament with at least the same powers as the Scottish
The impact which new regional and sub-regional
arrangements, such as the city regions, might have upon peripheral
towns and cities
This cannot be fully responded to without the
publication of the full details of any such proposals.
The desirability of closer inter-regional co-operation
(as in the Northern Way) to tackle economic disparities
This is not the right tool for this job. There
may be issues for which there is sense in having such co-operation
on an ad hoc and voluntary basis between democratically
elected bodies, but this will not be as part of the political
agenda of central government.