Bring government to the people

Friday, December 22, 2006

Letter to Newcastle Chronicle & Journal - 3 Dec 06. Eddington disposesses North East

Dear Editor

Control traffic on the roads by increasing the cost. Do the same for rail. Don’t invest in a new high-speed north-south rail link. So how do we get around? Air?

Rod Eddington’s report is as parochial as Richard Beeching’s plan in 1960s, and probably for exactly the same reasons – Beeching’s paymaster (Ernest Marples, Transport Minister) was in road building, Eddington’s own background in air travel.

But Eddington takes it further; with its strong South East focus (see comments on developing ports, and on new runway capacity at Heathrow) it dispossesses the North East. We have to go to the South East because that’s where government is, and that’s where many companies have their head offices and the people who make the decisions on contracts and spend.

Surely a better idea than this short-sighted transport policy would be to spread the decision-makers around the country – move the few to where the many want to work? The 1500 most influential people, the people who make decisions on somewhere around £400billion spend, are Parliament, ministers and the most senior civil servants. I propose we move them, month by month, through the regions of Britain so they

1 get to meet their constituents and understand what goes on outside of London (and reinvigorate the people’s faith in democracy)

2 bring jobs with them as company head offices can move out of London and still have access to government (why do you think they spend all this money on lobbyists, if it isn’t profitable to them?)

What have we got that they want? How about water? Space? Countryside? Schools and public services that work? Isn’t that enough?


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