Memorandum by the UK Independence Party
(UKIP) (RG 69)
Few things, which have no past, have any future;
and those things, which have a past, tend to repeat it. Aside
from a few brilliant innovations, therefore, formulae of proven
worth are best, and convincing reasons are needed for sweeping
changes. In the case of regional government, however, no such
reasons have been forthcoming.
Rather, we have been asked to accept a glib
slogan, or two ("bringing government closer to its citizens",
"Your Region, Your Choice" etc) in lieu of reasoned
explanations, and to ignore the fact that all the territories
of the EU are being regionalised simply in order to provide a
convenient nomenclature des unités territoriales et
statistiques (NUTS) for administration from Brussels.
The latest antecedents with any similarity to
these jumped-up "regions" succumbed to the unification
of England, under Edgar, in the ninth century. This was a step
forward, which eventually precipitated the Union of the British
Isles and the dissemination of the English language and of parliamentary
democracy throughout the world.
Since that great flowering, the destruction
of the United Kingdom has been proceeding step-by-step, and has
now, with the introduction of these painfully artificial "regions",
reached the foundations of the state and even aroused disquiet
among an otherwise apparently inattentive population.
Your inquiry has not come soon enough, but it
is all the more welcome for that.
You have undertaken to examine matters, which
include the following:
1. . . . the potential for increasing the
accountability of decision-making at the regional and sub-regional
level, and the need to simplify existing arrangements;
2. . . . the potential for devolution of powers
from regional to local level;
Accountability has suffered horribly from the
imposition of the cabinet-system on local government and from
the de-localisation of decision-making to remote "regional",
national and supra-national centres.
County-, and Town-, Halls are now so constrained
by spatial and transport plans etcissued by a regional
executive, but derived, via the Regional Government Office and
the ODPM, from the various "European Spatial Development
Perspectives" (ESDP's) etc. of the Directorate General of
the Regions (DG-REG) in Brusselsthat they have almost no
discretionary function at all. Thanks to the obscurantism of the
cabinet-system, of the regional governorate, and of the ODPMnot
to mention DG-REGmost councillors do not even know this.
They would be very upset if they did know it. Hence, presumably,
the systematic deception of the public, regarding the origin of
The potential for increasing local accountability,
and simplifying existing arrangements, lies quite patently in
freeing councils from DG-REG/ODPM micro-management, restoring
the committee-system, scrapping the bogus "regional assemblies"
and thereby resuscitating the tradition of loyal, local government-service.
Unfortunately, this cannot be done as long as
HMG interprets the European Council Decisions of the 80's ("to
co-ordinate regional development among member-states") and
the Tampere agreement of 1999, as meaning that, throughout the
EU, the same things have to happen, region-by-region, and, as
far as possible, at the same time. On the other hand, it is impossible
to see how else these scandalous agreements could be interpreted.
The only antidote to them is their abrogation.
The absurdity of the system now operating is
well illustrated by the status of a small town's "extra"
fire-engine. Permission to maintain it had to be sought directly
from the ODPM. Meanwhile, the District's Planning Committee was
struggling with applications made under the ESDP's "high-density,
car-free, infill-housing" policy, which threatened to wipe
out green spaces, treasured from time-immemorial.
Both the abolition of the fire-engine, and the
cramming-in of new housing, were said to be part of the "devolved,
regional plan", but no plan more brutally centralised could
be imagined. "Regions", and the ODPM itself, are no
more than camouflage for an attempt at pan-continental uniformity
and control, and all the "consultations" and "frameworks",
which besiege councillors and electors alike, make no difference
to that sinister fact.
3. . . . the effectiveness of current arrangements
for managing services at the various levels, and their inter-relationships;
Lack of accountability can be accompanied by
greater effectiveness in the delivery of services, if the delivery
of services is actually the aim of the unaccountable administration.
That is not the case here.
The aim is the construction of a new, closely-controlled,
social order, under a new, pseudo-democratic system of governance.
Consequently, the services people want, and need, are only delivered,
in good order, by accident. Indeed, many such services are being
deliberately curtailed as part of this grandiose and spine-chilling
Instead of efficient, weekly waste-collection
and treatment, we now have didactic, fortnightly doorstep-sorting
exercises, which have never functioned as advertised to provide
any substantial, environmental benefit. Vast quantities of hand-sorted
cullet are land-filled in South America, while vaster quantities
of unsorted waste are shipped to Chinaall because of the
EU-induced, artificially high cost of land-filling in Britain,
where geological conditions are exceptionally (and "unfairly")
favourable to it. Processing-plants are available to sort plastics,
glass and metals from organics, on an industrial scale. Why do
we have none? Why do we not even have power-plants (an excellent,
British invention) which convert organics to plasma without incineration?
Why is road-maintenance and construction seven years, and rising,
behind scheduleand this is not due just to the EU-obligatory
tax on road-stonewhile ever more transport is being forced
on to Britain's roads?
Further examples could be given of services,
which are not being delivered. Many of those, which are being
"delivered" are not wanted, or needed. These are the
counselling, advice, monitoring and enforcement "services",
performing social engineering in every identifiable, civil sector,
according to a concept of equality, which discriminates against
certain groups, on precisely the grounds, upon which discrimination
is outlawed. This is called "positive discrimination",
if you please! Good law has been destroyed, andas with
the environmentalists' "precautionary principle"there
is no firm basis to what is being put in its place. Class-rights
are being substituted for individual rights. "Government"
can make up whatever it likesabout "global warming",
or who needs to be discriminated against nextthereby, creating
a culture of bewilderment and compliant fear.
The "new governance", which, at ever
spiralling cost, is failing to provide the services people need,
and forcing others down people's throats, is a miasma of semi-governmental
partnerships and agencies strung between the local and "regional"
level. Their accounts, when they have any, are not open to scrutiny,
and they are frequently impossible to track down. A councillor,
who turns up for the monthly "full council", and has
nothing else to do, except write to the local press, can only
take a full part, and find out what is going on, by convincing
the stake-holders, in this "supra-municipal" system,
that he can be relied on to take the money and toe the line.
For those who have eyes to see, the current
situation is a nauseating spectacle of bland public-relations
exercises and arbitrary decisions taken in camera, and it is rapidly
getting worse. The so-called "Standards Board for England"
is now being evoked in spurious attacks against dissident councillors,
and political audits, disguised as efficiency inspections, are
being used against "rogue" councils. What is occurring
is nothing short of a coup d'état.
4. . . . the potential for new arrangements,
particularly the establishment of city regions;
The establishment of "city-regions"
is no newer an idea than the regionalisation, under which we now
groan. It was part of the original concept formulated by the prototypical
"European Council of Municipalities and Regions", before
the Treaty of Rome was signed, and is now being dusted off, as
The plan has long been discussed, at the EU-Commission,
as "le scénario de l'Europe des mille fleurs"
[from "Cinq Scénarios de L'Avenir de L'Europe",
a secret reportby the Commission President's "Cellule
de Prospective"which was partly revealed to a conference
of the Commission's "Soul for Europe Project", in 2001].
The ideain a remarkable echo of Leninwas
that, once "the European Union of the Regions and Cities"
[emphasis added] was established, the state (ie the centralised
EU-state) would wither away. Unlike Lenin, however, the "Cellule
de Prospective" foresaw a subsequent outbreak of civil strife,
which would allow central authority to re-establish itself, through
draconian measures, and create an entirely new civil order, virtually
from scratch, with "national-service" (ie EU-service)
in civil occupations, strict rules governing personal ownership
etc. Interesting too was that the three, "most favourable"
scenarios, of the five, all featured a strong element of civil
Under the present system, there has long been
tension (on a much lesser scale than civil strife) between the
"principal urban centres", which were not chosen as
"regional capitals", and the "regional capitals"
themselves, and some of the impetus for the current initiative
probably comes from that. Bristol, for exampleor the upper-crust
thereoffinds itself a little too far removed from the privileges
being accumulated in Exeter, and there were some very acrimonious
exchanges, on this account, behind the scenes of regionalist pressure-groups,
like the "South West Constitutional Convention". Thus,
it is probably partly to keep the local prominenti on board that
the first EU-conference on "city-regions" was held in
Bristol on 5 and 6 December.
More cogent, however, is the EU's need to transfer
structural funds to the 10 states, which joined the EU in 2004.
It is no longer possible to fund the existing "regions",
as before. Regions have now been set up in Central Europe, and
much of the money has to go to them. They joined on that understanding.
Consequently, much of Western Europe will find itself several
wagons short of the gravy-train, which it is paying for and has
come to expect.
The problem then, is "how to keep regionalisation
going, in the West, on the cheap?" and the answer seems to
be "to concentrate what funds remain (the `cohesion funds')
on the principal urban centres"which most people are
connected to, in some wayand, hey presto, "Beau Geste"
defends the fortress, all on his own, running from one embrasure
to another, firing a shot from each!
These two reasons are essentially the same.
The plan is intended to take care of the urban aristocracy, and
of the urban plebs, and hope that the country-bumpkins will
stay "fell-in" behind; but "what potential for
new arrangements," you ask, do "city-regions" offer?
Well, not much. They are being proposed as a
stop-gap, until the EU can get its claws on the national taxes
of the member-governmentsor, that is, until the member-governments
feel confident of wrenching those taxes entirely to the EU's purposes.
Let us not forget that the EU is, above all, its member-governments,
even if the Commission does, on a year-by-year basis, run everything.
Once in possession of 5% of GDP, the EU will
have all the money it needs to rule Europe with a rod of iron.
No more stop-gaps then.
5. the impact which new regional and sub-regional
arrangements, such as the city regions, might have upon peripheral
towns and cities;
The general impact of the new regional, and
sub-regional, arrangements is likely to be as already experiencedremote,
centralist, arbitrary, divisive, hypocritical and intensely unpopular"city-regions",
or no "city-regions".
Peripheral communities, in particular, haveand
will continue tobecome more isolated from the country as
a whole, more disparate in their standards of living and more
dependent upon artificial bias in the Barnett Formula. They will
continue to become selectively de-populated, with large tracts
of derelict housing, and selectively over-crowded, with house-prices
beyond the reach of local people.
There is no substitute for genuine, local self-determination
and national support for essential industries and infrastructure,
neither of which EU-regionalist bureaucracy does, can, or is intended
"City-regions" will merely make matters
worse, by further fracturing national co-ordination, duplicating
functions and creating fiefdoms.
The sole, and admittedly immense, success of
regionalism, has been "to avoid the unpopularity [ieobscure
the un-democratic reality] of government by a remote bureaucracy
in Brussels". These are the exact words of the FCO/Cabinet
briefing-paper, released, under the 30-year rule, in 2001, which
explained to ministers, in 1974, why regionalism had to be encouraged.
It was the only saneif secret, treacherous
and criminalreason ever put forward for creating the hideous
travesty of democratic government, which now disgraces our islands.
6. the desirability of closer inter-regional
co-operation (as in the Northern Way) to tackle economic disparities
It's breathtakinghaving carved up the
country into dysfunctional lumps (thus exacerbating economic disparities)
"HMG" now suggests cobbling some of the bits together
again, in a different orderin order "to tackle economic
It appears to be unaware that joining odd scraps
of a corpse do not bring it back to life. In fact, it knows this
all too well. As with the proliferation of QUANGO's, which "elected
regional assemblies" were supposed to save us from, so here
also we see problem tailored to solutionthe insane ratchet
of error generating error, hypocritical, beneficial crises and
the wanton throwing of good money after badall because,
in the minds of those who hold sway, national democracy must be
destroyed, and global technocracybriefly preceded by pan-continental
bureaucracymust take over.