Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Commander Bryan G Smalley RD DL RN (RG 11)


  1.1  I served in the Royal Navy from 1947-70 during the founding of the North Atlantic Treaty and the period of the Cold War with the Warsaw Pact countries. On retirement I served in the Royal Naval Reserve based at Maritime Headquarters, Northwood Middlesex. On reaching RNR retiring age in 1986 I was appointed as the Naval Officer in Charge, Great Yarmouth which was a dormant appointment giving me responsibility for assisting in the planning and exercising of the Home Defence arrangements of the United Kingdom. The post ceased to exist in 1996 when the Government determined that there was no longer a threat to homeland security.

  1.2  Additional to my 49 years service connected with the Royal Navy I also served as an elected member of East Herts District Council for 15 years and Hertfordshire County Council for 12 years.

  1.3  Apart from the above experience, I am just an ordinary member of the electorate who is concerned about the way this country is being governed.


The EU's objective is to divide member countries into regions

  2.1  From time to time there have been plans for a type of regional government in this country but none of these schemes have involved the government giving up its entire responsibility for governing the country. Although it will not be admitted by any of the main political Parties, the current plan to force Regionalisation on the United Kingdom is part of the EU's long term plan to take over the government of this country.

  2.2  There is already a strong opposition to any form of regional government because it is imposing a less democratic process than that to which we are accustomed. That is the concern that needs to be addressed before the six issues which the committee is being asked to examine. However there are some points which may be worth considering. The establishment of one Local Authority controlling more cities or large towns might be one outcome, but that arrangement already exists. The term Metropolitan Area is adequate. We should arrange our local government to suit our own purposes not those directed by the EU.


  3.1  The country has been divided into regions from time to time even before we joined the EEC/EU. During the 1939-45 war, certain administrative aspects were organised on a regional basis but this did not impinge on any part of our traditional democratic processes.

  3.2  As the cold war developed after 1945, there was a possibility that London could become a nuclear target. If that happened many of our national institutions might be destroyed. As a result, plans were drawn up for the country to be governed on a regional basis from underground headquarters which were built and which were exercised from time to time. A cabinet minister was appointed to take charge of each regional HQ. But this was a temporary plan to deal with a specific threat. The intention was to return to central government as soon as possible after such an attack.

Treaty of Rome which was signed in March 1957

  3.3  However, it has been Labour Party policy for several decades to introduce regional government into this country, but that may have been as a result of knowing that this had already been introduced by the Treaty of Rome which was signed in March 1957.

Objectives of the EEC

  3.4  The establishment of the EEC and the creation of the Common Market was declared to have two objectives. The first was to transform the conditions of trade and manufacture on the territory of the Community. The second, saw the EEC as a contribution towards the construction of a political Europe, and constituted a step towards the closer unification of Europe.

Preamble to the Treaty of Rome introduces regions

  3.5  This led to the creation of the EU which had seven objectives which were laid down in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome. They included the objective to: "strengthen the unity of their (members) economies and to ensure their harmonious development by reducing the differences existing between the various regions and the backwardness of the less-favoured regions." The term regions went unnoticed in Britain. Observers merely thought it was a reference to general but undefined areas.

"First Commission Communication on Regional Policy" 1965

  3.6  It only became clear that the EU intended dissembling national governments by dividing them into regions when in 1965 it issued its "First Commission Communication on Regional Policy". But this again went unnoticed in the British Press and the public were kept uninformed. (Annex "A"—Major Steps Towards a Europe of the Regions and Cities in an Integrated Continent.)

Redcliffe-Maude Royal Commission—1966

  3.7 Although regionalisation was being pursued in Britain by the Labour Government before the 1965 Communication on Regional Policy, the document probably encouraged the Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, to established the Redcliffe-Maude Royal Commission in 1966. It reported in 1969 that the existing local government structures "no longer fitted the pattern of life and work in modern England". This deliberately erroneous finding showed that the conclusion had been determined before the Commission sat.

White Paper (Cmnd.4584), Local Government Act 1972, Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973

  3.8  After Heath followed Wilson as Prime Minister, he furthered the process of regionalisation. In February 1971 the Government published a White Paper (Cmnd.4584) setting out proposals for the reorganisation of local government in England outside Greater London. Legislation to give effect to these proposals was introduced in the 1971-72 session of Parliament. It became the Local Government Act 1972 introducing major changes in England and Wales in 1974, and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 implementing changes in Scotland in 1975.

Introduction of Unitary Authorities

  3.9  Edward Heath didn't achieve his full objective, but it was the first step in rearranging our local government into EU Regions and what have since become known as Unitary Authorities. Further significant alterations have been made in England by a series of Local Government Acts since then.

Local Government Commission

  3.10  The previous structure in England was based on two tiers of local authorities (county councils and borough or rural district councils) in the non-metropolitan areas; and a single tier of metropolitan councils in the six metropolitan areas of England. The system continued to change, step by step, and following further reviews of the structure of local government in England by the Local Government Commission, 46 unitary (all-purpose) authorities were created between April 1995 and April 1998. These were all steps to satisfy the EU's demands that Britain should be broken up into regions.

Single European Act (1986)

  3.11 Whilst local government re-organisation was taking place in Britain to conform to the EU's requirements, the EU was also making changes to consolidate its position. The Single European Act (1986) was the first major reform of the previous treaties. There were significant changes but none which particularly affected the regional structure.

The Treaty on European Union (1992), (the "Maastricht Treaty"), Committee of the Regions (COR), Cohesion Fund

  3.12  The Treaty on European Union (1992), known as the "Maastricht Treaty" institutionalised cooperation in the fields of foreign policy, defence, police and justice. Additionally, it established the Committee of the Regions (COR) and a Cohesion Fund through which grant aid would be paid to regions. (Note—Not to Central Government). The COR came into being in November 1993 with representatives drawn from local authorities and unelected regional chambers. The COR's stated purpose is "to ensure that the public authorities closest to the citizen are consulted on EU proposals of direct interest to them, especially when they are responsible for implementing these policies after they are adopted". But the smoke screen of consultation ignores the fact that the Regions will be responsible to Brussels. The UK has 24 seats on the committee. All representatives are appointed by central government. A proportion of them are referred to as "stakeholders" ie lobbyists.

  3.13  As soon as the Committee of the Regions was established, EU regionalisation began to move inexorably forward. In 1996 the idea of Regions was given further substance with the publication of the European Commission's regional booklets. In these booklets all Regions are described in the same way. ie London in Europe, Scotland in Europe, Wales in Europe etc, making it clear that their allegiance is to the EU and that they are not free and independent.

Treaty of Amsterdam (1997)

  3.14  The next treaty was the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997). This increased the powers of the EU by creating a Community employment policy and by transferring to the EU some of the areas which were previously subject to intergovernmental cooperation in the fields of justice and home affairs. The treaty refers to the Committee of the Regions on 47 occasions.

Scottish Parliament, The West Lothian Question

  3.15  Soon after the Labour Party took office in 1997 it started the process of devolution in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London. Devolution is another term for regionalisation. The Scottish Parliament now has legislative power over health, education, local government, housing, law & order and the implementation of the Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies. This has unbalanced the British Constitution in that MPs representing those regions which have devolved government can legislate for England, but English MPs cannot legislate for those regions. This situation is known as the "West Lothian Question". The citizens of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may think that they have taken a step towards independence. They have not. They are simply regions of the European Union and subordinate to it.

The Government of Wales Bill

  3.16  Wales is about to be given legislative powers under the Government of Wales Bill which is currently being debated in Parliament.

An English Parliament? EU map of the EU disregards England

  3.17  Although Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have been devolved to fit into the new plan for the European state. There is no possibility of establishing an English Parliament because the EU bureaucrats have already divided England into nine separate regions. (See enclosed map—Annex "B"—"The European Community—a community with no internal frontiers") published by the Office for official publications of the European Communities, 2nd Quarter 1992. It makes no reference to England, only the Regions within England.

The Democratic Renewable Debate, Regional Development Agencies Act (1998)

  3.18  After completing the regionalisation of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London the Labour government then instituted the programme to break the rest of England into eight regions. In 1998 it launched "the Democratic Renewable Debate" and in the same year enacted the Regional Development Agencies Act (1998). The Act brought about the establishment of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in each of the English Regions. RDA members are appointed by the government. They co-ordinate land use, transport, economic development, agriculture, energy and waste. Responsibility for these functions has been removed from county and district/borough councils. All RDAs have Brussels offices, and most have other offices at various points throughout the world. It can be seen that as these Regions acquire authority, the cohesion of England as a unit of government within the UK is being eroded.

Colloquium of Constitutional Regions, Intergovernmental Conference (IGC)

  3.19  The ability for regions to by-pass Westminster has already been demonstrated. Scotland's First Minister, Henry McLeish MSP, (now departed) signed the Colloquium of Constitutional Regions in Flanders. This entitles Scotland to participate directly in the debate on the future of the EU and allowed Scotland to participate in the preparatory work for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) which was held in 2004.

The Treaty of Nice (2001)

  3.20  The Treaty of Nice (2001) was essentially devoted to the "leftovers" of Amsterdam, ie the institutional problems linked to enlargement which were not resolved in 1997. The treaty makes little reference to the regions apart from adding a number of issues on which the COR should be consulted and also clarifying details of its membership.

Planning Green Paper—2001

  3.21  On 12 December 2001 the Government introduced a Planning Green Paper. It resulted in the removal of county councils from the planning process. It introduced a two tier system with district councils and the unelected Regional Development Agencies becoming the planning authorities.

  3.22  On the 15 November 2001, Lord Falconer Minister for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, stated in the House of Lords that three tiers of Government are too many and the Government is "looking at county and district councils".

White Paper: "Your Region, Your Choice—Revitalising the English Regions"

  3.23  Then on the 9 May 2002 the Government introduced its White Paper: "Your Region, Your Choice—Revitalising the English Regions". The main argument in the paper was that by establishing elected Regional Assemblies, decision making would be brought closer to the people. This claim is totally unfounded. Discussions with local government officers and councillors make it clear that they are well aware that both county councils and district or borough councils will cease to exist. They will be replaced by unitary authorities where these do not exist already. It follows that these will be larger than existing district/borough councils which will make local government representation more remote.

"Moving local government further away from the people"

  3.24  The situation regarding regional assemblies is even more crucial. The White Paper suggests that they should comprise 25-35 members. It is hard to imagine how so few people, who will cover an area comprising several counties, will be more accountable or accessible. In its 110 pages, the White Paper only allows approximately two pages to discuss the EU. It makes no reference to the Regions being responsible to the Committee of the Regions nor to the fact that Regions will, in due course, have legislative powers—or more precisely that they will implement EU laws. The Labour Government's manifesto pledge was to introduce "directly elected regional government". The net result will be to take government further away from the electorate and transfer even more sovereignty to Brussels.

Directive: Regulation (EC) 1059/2003 of 26 May 2003

  3.25  Regulation (EC) 1059/2003 of 26 May 2003 delineates the regional structure. Although it claims to be for statistical purposes, it is obvious that statistical records must relate to administrative boundaries.

All new members must "regionalise" before joining EU

  3.26  The EU's programme of dismantling nation states became even more obvious when the EU expanded in 2004. All the new members had to change to regional government before they were allowed to become members.

Fire Services and Police Constabularies being Regionalised

  3.27  Apparently spurred on by the ease with which it can make these changes, and with opposition Parties, giving tacit support, the Government has accelerated the programme. Several traditionally county based services have been regionalised. The Fire Service was the most recent and the Police Services are in the process under a false claim that they will be more efficient.

Discussions with Gorbachev to join EU, Possibility of a "Senate" now termed "The European Council"

  3.28  It is not common knowledge that even the USSR had discussions about joining the EU. In an effort to prevent the USSR from falling apart, President Gorbachev's emissary Vadim Zagladin met with the French President Mitterand's aide Jacques Attalie on 3 April 1990. He was told that: "Currently a plan to establish a new body is being thought over in the European Communities. A Senate of Europe is expected to be created soon, alongside the European Parliament. In the Senate, separate regions, rather than countries, will be represented." Gorbachev was offered a place on the Senate. This Senate is referred to in the dormant EU Constitution as "The European Council". (It should not be confused with the Council of Ministers. See Note 1)

  3.29  There is no doubt that the EU's plan is to transform the UK into a land incapable of defending itself or articulating its national interests. Regionalism is a key part in the two-pronged attack on the nation state: federalism from above, through Euro-laws which makes it impossible for a state to govern itself, and federalism from below, through regions which dissemble the country and enable the EU to bypass national governments.

Local Government Act 2000, Cabinet Government

  3.30  In addition to regionalisation, the Local Government Act 2000 abolished our traditional system of Councils being run democratically by committees. It replaced them with the continental system of cabinet government. The British have long believed that government by locally elected councillors rather than Executive Members was the most democratic system of local government.


  4.1  First, Regions are a creation of the EU. Second, the British Parliament no longer governs the United Kingdom. Our institutions and civil servants are still in place, but they have all become agents of the European Union, implementing European law. We want our country back, and we want to return to a democratic system of Government. Resisting the tide of regionalisation will be a step towards that goal.

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