Not dealing with the Question
In November I wrote to my MP (Mathew Green) about the lack of any democratic mandate for regional assemblies. Although he agrees that It is most important that funding decisions of the sort currently made by regional government are made democratically, by accountable, elected representatives. It would seem that the official line is that these assemblies do constitute the democratic voice of local people. As I have and the other locals have no means of controlling who is represented on these quangos, it seems that the new EU version of democracy is spreading like a virus through all systems of government.
Dear Mr Green
As you have helped me in the past I thought it appropriate to send you the enclosed letter from a contact, who clearly states some of the objections many of us have about Britain’s lack of democracy. Yes we can vote for whom ever we wish, but there seems to be a point beyond which we cannot affect a particular policy, all main political parties are intent upon.
The people of the North East have just completely rejected the case for the regionalisation in this country, we in this area will now not have the opportunity of making our own feeling known, because the government will not now chance another rejection of their policy, this means we are left with the regional assembly as an unelected and unaccountable government Quango, this is not acceptable because these assemblies were intended to be the nucleus of an elected regional assembly, we have not asked for this, yet we have to pay for the assemblies their offices in Brussels and everything else that goes with them. So to quote the enclosed letter WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY?
Dear Mr Prescott,
Why is the government trying to force â€œdemocracyâ€ on to the people of Iraq and now, even the Palestinians while this government is intent on destroying â€˜democracyâ€™ here in the United Kingdom?
The people of the North East Counties have spoken loud and clearly that they want their own Local and District Councils to remain because they truly â€˜bring democracy closer to the peopleâ€™ and our Counties and Councils should have the power and money that have obviously been available to the Unionâ€™s Regions.
The democratically elected Members of Parliament are forever (whinging) on about the â€œunelectedâ€ House of Lords (even though, having removed the hereditary peers had the opportunity to â€œelectâ€ peers yet preferred not to) now is the time to remove the undemocratic unelected Regional Assemblies, closing the existing Government offices in the regions and scrap the Regional Development Agencies altogether.
According to Hansard the Electoral Commission have spent Â£100,000 of taxpayerâ€™s money on the â€œYesâ€ and â€œNoâ€ campaign. The Boundary Commission a further Â£6 million, another Â£5 million on your Departmentâ€™s â€œYour sayâ€ campaign, quite apart from various â€˜visitsâ€™ from those in high office to help the â€œyesâ€ campaign. Yet we are led to believe that you are going to ignore the peopleâ€™s referendum, and continue with the Quango set up in 1998. (All a waste of money and time- to which you and your department should be accountable) The peopleâ€™s vote was a rejection of this country of England being split up into Regions, a democratic vote by the people, which you sir, appear to be ignoring. Do you wonder why people do not wish to vote at elections?
The Prime Minister made a great play on the word â€œdemocracyâ€ whist he was in America at the White House; he wants Iraq and now Palestine to have â€˜democracyâ€™, and the latter a â€œstateâ€ in its own right as long as it embraces â€œdemocracyâ€.
So what is this â€œdemocracyâ€ that we are so proud to share with others and want others to have too? Is it all that it is â€˜cracked upâ€™ to be? We have fought and many have died fighting for freedom in this country, and many of our brave soldiers are laying down their lives now, fighting for strangers we have never met, so that they too can have a slice of freedom and this magical â€˜democracyâ€™ they have heard so much about. To be able to vote freely for their leader. To actually â€œtake partâ€ in what they are being led to believe, is the running of their Country.
It is not democracy when government does not listen to the people. It is not democracy when people we vote for cannot stop EU legislation from destroying our industries. It is not democracy when our Prime Minister signs for a new constitution for this Country when he knows without doubt that the people do NOT WANT IT. It is not democracy when a Government deliberately sets about destroying the very peopleâ€™s Common Law Constitution that even the Government are supposed to observe and protect. It is most certainly NOT democracy to deliberately continue further and deeper integration into what you know will eventually become a federal State of European Union in the full knowledge that it is against the wishes of the vast majority of the people in this country. It is not democracy when a National Government puts the undemocratic European Union before their own Country. Even as you sir, are doing now by ignoring the democratic votes of the people so recently taken.
We have lost the true â€˜democracyâ€™ and freedom we once had and I â€˜prayâ€™, I really do pray, that it comes back naturally without having to fight once more for both. The people are beginning to fight back as shown in the democratic referendum on the North East Counties last week. It was a â€˜legitimate and legalâ€™ fight, please remember that fact.
Slowly, over the years in government through the so-called democratic vote of the people, the Government have systematically overruled the law above the law, the very basic foundations of this country, its Constitution, yet the present government would eagerly take on board an EU constitution that, even as a democratically elected Government of this Country, they would no longer have the power to alter one dot or comma of that EU constitution. So where, since we have democratically elected this Government to represent us, is this magical wonderful democracy now?
To The Rt Hon John Prescott MP
Deputy Prime Minister,
House of Commons,
Copy to Hon Bernard Jenkin MP,
Shadow Secretary of state for the Regions
Mathew Green MP Ludlow
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
16th February 2005
Your letter expresses concern over the lack of democracy created by having unelected Regional Assemblies.
You are right to oppose the continued existence of unelected regional government.
Unelected regional government has existed in the UK for over 20 years. It was set up by the Conservatives, who established regional quangos as a means of distributing regeneration funds. These bodies are directly responsible only to the Secretary of State. Liberal Democrats oppose unelected bodies making funding decisions â€” thatâ€™s why, when the government announced plans to set up elected regional bodies, we supported them, but only on the grounds that these bodies were given real powers, and that regional assemblies were small and efficient. We also argued that regions should accurately reflect local needs and priorities. Most Shropshire people do not think of themselves as part of the West Midlands, an arbitrary region whose boundaries were determined by the Conservatives. I have argued that, if we were to have a regional assembly in our area, it should be a Severn Valley region, comprising Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
It is most important that funding decisions of the sort currently made by regional government are made democratically, by accountable, elected representatives. Many of these decisions and programmes could be run effectively by local councils. If we are not to have directly elected regional assemblies, I would support the redistribution of the functions of regional government, to the most appropriate level of government â€” whether that be local or, in some cases, central.
I hope my comments help to address the concerns you raise. Additionally, I have passed on your letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, asking him to comment on your views. As soon as I receive his response, I will of course contact you again.
Mathew Green MP
Office of the
Deputy Prime Minister
Creating sustainable communities
Phil Hope MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
26 Whitehall, London SWIA 2W11
Tel: 020 7944 4400 Fax: 020 7944 4339 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Green Esq MP
House of Commons
London SW IA 0AA
16 MAR 2095
Thank you for your letter of 23 February enclosing correspondence from your constituent Mr Ken Adams of Address Removed, regarding regional assemblies and regional government.
Regional assemblies are not government quangos, but voluntary bodies. Most are funded in part by local authority subscriptions (or benefits in kind, such as office accommodation), and in part by government grant for the undertaking of specific functions on behalf of Ministers, such as regional spatial planning, and scrutiny of the Regional Development Agencies. They are responsible to their members, who include Local Authority elected members and other stakeholders representing a wide range of regional interests including business, environmental groups, and the voluntary sector.
Voluntary regional assemblies exist in all eight English regions outside London, including the North East of England. The referendum held in that region in November was on proposals for a directly elected regional assembly which if it had been established, would have exercised a number of executive functions in the region not undertaken by the existing voluntary regional assemblies.
There are and will continue to be issues which must be dealt with below the national level, but which need to be co-ordinated over an area larger than any single local authority. We want to continue the progress that has been made by the existing regional! Assemblies, who now play a valuable role on housing planning, transport, economic development and skills and training issues across their regions. If the people in the regions are to have a voice and an input to the development of strategies that cross local authority boundaries then clearly we need the regional assemblies to continue to work for the benefit of their regions.
Further details about the work of the West Midlands Regional Assembly are available on their website: www.wmra.gov.uk I enclose a short extract for your information.
- Regional assemblies – Comment – Times Online
- Unelected Assemblies to Stay for Good.
- BBC Promoting Regional Assemblies
- Euro Regions to be Scrapped
- Hull and East Riding
- The BBC iCAN not belive it!
- An Exchange of Letters with my MP
- No Sir Jeremy
Originally posted 2005-03-22 09:26:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter