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The English Question and Regionalism

The following is a response to the article, The Real story of Prescotts Regions, written by Peter Davidson of Unlock Democracy.

@Peter Davidson,

I agree in large part with your position however when you write “a deeply embedded culture of control freakery characterised in a ‘we know best’ approach to policy formulation”, is that not also true for you and for supporters of devolution from within labour and the progressive left?

The insistence of the supporters of English regionalism to stick to the artificial government zones and ignore anything that does not follow this plan is almost as infuriating as the English Parliament brigade. “You can have devolution but only in the form we are offering” that is what you and the government seem to be saying. Then to top this piece of control freakery off, you are suggesting that peoples identities can be engineered and moulded to fit the artificial government zones they happen to find themselves in. Yes, of course, if you think the national/regional identities of people can be broken and remodelled to suite the geographical fantasies of pen pushers and accountants then I suppose you are right.

What we need to be offered is real devolution to the real regions.

You write “The government confirmed that referendums would be held where sufficient interest was expressed to warrant plebiscites. Eventually they settled on the three most peripheral English Regions (discounting the claims of SW. England to this title)”. Then call your article “The real story of Prescott’s regions”. Now I think you know that this is not the full story don’t you?

The government where hugely embarrassed by the Cornish campaign for devolution which culminated in the petition of 50,000 signatures for a Cornish Assembly. We showed sufficient interest but it seems not of the right sort. You blame Whitehall mandarins for blocking devolution to the government zones, Okay, but where was your support when a region, albeit one of a different size and cursed with a feudal duchy, asked for devolution?

You and other progressives had a golden opportunity to back devolution in Cornwall if only you had been a little bit more flexible. Prescott himself recognised this!

Taken from the blog OurKingdom:

The North Needs Positive Discrimination
Regions for England can work
The Real Story of Prescotts Regions

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