Thursday, August 05, 2004

Lenin's "Useful idiots," Fred Brady but not Ray Mallon?

Northern Echo Letters
5th August

LENIN used the term "useful idiots" to describe the gullible and those most likely to succumb to propaganda and assist the state to remove their freedoms.

The issue of regionalisation is being sold to us on a false prospectus. It is not intended to bring democracy closer to the people.

There is no democratic dividend in fragmenting a cohesive nation state which has a transparent and fully accountable system of national and local government and replacing it with a system remote and untouchable - this is the antithesis of democracy.

Yet despite numerous correspondents citing proof (EU Directive 501/PC0083) that the project is EU led, only the superficial and totally trivial aspects of the debate are allowed to see daylight.
The editorial and articles (Echo, July 14 and 15) about the location of an assembly dwell on the merits of Durham, but as the power base for any assembly will be in Brussels, its domestic location is of no relevance.
Dave Pascoe, Press Secretary, UKIP, Hartlepool Branch.

THE campaign for a regional assembly has always tried to make the campaign, as far as possible, independent of party politics. The Conservatives as, the only organised opposition, have done all within their power to politicise it.

Predictably, they have presented themselves as judge and jury instead of culprit.

Indeed, for 18 consecutive years their hard right-wing policies exacerbated the plight of this region inestimably and one wonders how they believed this region would improve, when no one in their government was prepared to broach its growing problems?

So what is their alternative, other than the now normal maze of abject criticism?

If as I suspect, they have no alternatives, they are actually asking the people of this region to accept second best indefinitely.

We have choices: of vital decisions continuing made for us by civil servants in London. Or the choice to take control of £1bn of spending, to name but two.
Fred Brady, Sunderland.

IT was refreshing to see Ray Mallon put respect for his electorate before opportunism in considering it inappropriate to stand for the Labour Party in the forthcoming Hartlepool by-election.

In standing by the people of Middlesbrough, he has endorsed his own concerns about an elected regional assembly, which was that: "People elected to the assembly will feel duty bound to fight for their own particular backyard rather than the region as a whole. Instead of thinking strategically for the North-East, they will think politically to win favour with their own local party or voters".

It will be interesting to see where Mr Mallon stands now that we know exactly what the limitations of an assembly will be and if he thinks that a new breed of politicians will come to the fore as assembly members to fight for the region and not for their own backyard?
Martin P Rouse, Burnopfield.

IN the debate on an elected regional assembly, wouldn't it be better if we stopped being distracted by peripheral issues and started to debate the real issues including employment, public transport and housing?
What do those opposed to regional government have to say on these issues?
Martin Callanan claims we're being taken for granted and expected to rubberstamp these proposals. The Government didn't have to give us a referendum; it could have just set up an assembly regardless.
We are being offered a choice, a unique one at that. We must not let this opportunity disappear.
S White, Bishop Auckland.

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