Bring government to the people

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Do we need/want a North East Assembly?

So the surveys show that we want a North East Assembly. Yet last time we voted, we voted resoundingly against it!
So what has changed?
  1. last time we voted, we were very aware of the escalating cost of the Scottish Parliament Building (which was way over budget)
  2. the person tipped to become leader was causing widespread concern, and the post wasn't elected

Meanwhile, we've had an unelected body deciding our future all along - though I suppose with turnouts of around 40% at elections the "elected representatives" aren't terribly representative.

So why might we vote for a regional assembly this time?

Government spends about 40% of GDP (£400billion of a GDP around £1 trillion) - it is the country's largest customer. typically suppliers put their offices somewhere near to their most important customers so they can wine and dine them and cement the relationship, and the same is true of government - most of the big companies have their head offices (the ones where people make decisions) in the South East, and smaller companies have their offices near to these bigger companies. You can move civil servants out of London until the cows come home, until people who make decisions about spend move their suppliers will stay put.

So if we bring some of that spend up here, in the form of a Regional Assembly, it will bring jobs with it including some of the management and decision-making jobs and decisions on investment and activity which respects the North East as more than a source of cheap labour.

Government costs a lot - that is true. But can money spent by government ever be wasted? If it is spent with British companies, creating jobs in Britain, recirculating the pound from our taxes through an indirect route back to us - perhaps that is a whole lot better than sending this money overseas to Indian call centres and Chinese manufacturers.

And the North East has more of an identity now; I see the Duke of Northumberland's colours on taxis and cars all over the place - we have something to be proud of.

Ask for an assembly. Turn out and vote, or write in and ask. Devolve decision-making here, make it relevant, and stop this disproportionate influence that London has, so although it represents only 1/6 of the population it has 1/2 of the influence. Over to you


Post a Comment

<< Home