I READ with interest your articles relating to the forthcoming referendum.
The basic idea which our Government is acting upon was a ploy put forward by Romano Prodi, former President of the EU. His idea was to make it easier for him to subsume the nations of Europe in order to ease the way towards a single federal state.
Our constitution was altered to grant devolution for Scotland and also Northern Ireland, I believe. Wales was given only an assembly and England nothing.
This is not acceptable to those not granted devolution and sooner rather than later the English will demand a fairer constitution. Unless there is a level playing field friction will occur.
To divide England into nine regions, each competing with the other and at the same time not having the powers of devolution like Scotland, will just further exacerbate the issue.
A vote for Yes will stir up resentment and must be stopped.
- TE Gray, Brompton, Northallerton.
WE can have an assembly of people with love of the region and a burning desire to improve its image and the livelihood of its people. That is the main power our assembly needs and can have. Government departments prefer a quiet life. They won't get it if we elect men and women with fire in their bellies.
John Prescott did not invent the idea of a North-East assembly, the Government reluctantly yielded to pressure for a referendum from individuals in this region lobbying for a common cause following Scottish devolution.
We realised that as far as Whitehall is concerned we are as far away as Scotland. We have to get our act together or be disadvantaged by our northern neighbours.
The No campaign claims that the assembly will have no powers but will require a building as expensive as the Scottish Parliament. This deliberately distorts what is on offer to the North-East and suggests a lack of really sound points of opposition.
The motives of those taking an non-constructive approach are not obvious but they are unacceptable if it is something to do with party politics. Vote Prescott out if you want to but let us have our assembly.
It is important to vote yes in the referendum but our obligations will not end there. In the subsequent election we must resist place-seekers whose only claim to office is previous experience as MPs, MEPs or councillors. Regional government is a fresh challenge. The Yes campaigners are not seeking a home for tired carthorses.
- Eric Shuttleworth, Darlington.
WITH only a short while remaining before the referendum vote, interest in the assembly seems to be at its height.
Considering the television debate, I thought the Yes campaigners made their point very well and seemed to have the stronger case.
Less convincing is the No campaign who are dismissing the assembly out of hand with nothing being suggested in its place.
I find the idea of the region being given the chance to run its own affairs very attractive and one that should not be missed.
- LD Wilson, Guisborough.
ON November 4, the people of our region will vote on whether an elected regional assembly should be set up.
But the problem is we do not know what we are really voting for as the Government has only set out a draft Bill on what a regional assembly would do. That means in effect that the Bill is only a list of proposals that has not yet been agreed by Parliament, so it may change later.
That is not good enough. Why on earth should people vote on something that can actually change at a later date?
The Socialist Labour Party therefore believes that under these current proposals this will in fact be a very small insignificant regional committee with no real powers to make a difference to people's lives here in the North-East.
We therefore say No to a regional committee but Yes to a democratic local assembly that has real powers to make decisions in our area. - John Taylor, Redcar.
THE Teesside area has had a number of reorganisations in the past 25 years.
From being independent, boroughs were brought under the umbrella of a new authority, Teesside. Later Teesside was abolished. A fourth borough was incorporated, and Cleveland County was created. Later Cleveland was abolished. The four boroughs became unitary authorities. Back where they started.
For each change, great savings and greater efficiencies were promised. The actual result was rapid increases in council taxes, until they are among the highest in the country.
The proposals will make all the North-East unitary authorities subservient in a two-tier system. It is inevitable that taxes will increase in these areas. Proposed council changes in Durham and Northumberland will take local government further from the people.
No government has ever voluntarily passed its power or authority to other bodies. It is inconceivable that this Government would do so.
The proposals are only in a draft Bill and may be changed in Parliament, without reference to those being asked to vote. We are asked to vote for a pig in a poke. One which will, after the first year, prove very expensive.
- F Jarvis, Redcar.
I WAS interested in the statement by John Tomaney from the Yes campaign, in the BBC TV debate, that "the regional assembly would on day one provide a free bus pass for pensioners".
In Tyne and Wear we have concessionary fares for pensioners. This year it is estimated that the Passenger Transport Authority will make a loss of over £45m, which has to be paid for by the council tax payers in Tyne and Wear.
The Government has said that there is no additional money for a regional assembly, so if they were to provide free bus passes across the region, the substantial costs would have to be paid by the same council tax payers.
There is no mention in the Government White Paper or in the Bill about free bus fares for pensioners, not has it been mentioned by any of the ministers who have visited the region.
I think that this is just a last minute attempt to persuade pensioners to vote Yes, believing this to be a fact. I think that John Tomaney underestimates the intelligence of our pensioners.
- Ken Walls, South Shields.
Darlington and Stockton Times
A civilised and orderly debate but few votes
HOW often do public meetings start and finish on time - particularly the finish?
Skelton Community Forum, an umbrella organisation of 21 local groups in East Cleveland, which only started in January, scored a commendable 10 marks out of 10 for its meeting on the proposed North-East Regional Assembly on Tuesday.
Des Mowbray, forum chair, opened the meeting prompt at 6pm and ended it at 8pm, as scheduled, with a 20 minute tea/coffee break (30p each as the forum "needed funds").
The only cross words came from David Walsh, Labour politician in red striped shirt with red tie loosened at the neck. He told Michael King, chairman of the local Tory party, to "just let me finish" answering his question.
Mark Brooks, suave Londoner dressed neatly in a dark blue suit, blue shirt and blue tie, introduced himself as the new Conservative candidate for the parliamentary seat - and promised to be "as apolitical as possible."
Both speakers scored political points, of course, but not too many. At the end of the meeting one of the 20-odd audience sought a vote. But only two voted Yes and three No.
Perhaps that's an indicator of how the North-East currently feels about the flood of information coming through letterboxes about the proposed assembly.
The assembly debate organised by the BBC and aired on Sunday was less well organised. The debate was certainly more acrimonious but contributors from the floor were not encouraged to identify themselves, which rather devalued their comments.
...and the Hexham Courant click here
- ► 2011 (51)
- ► 2010 (174)
- ► 2009 (115)
- ► 2008 (179)
- ► 2007 (210)
- ► 2006 (392)
- ► 2005 (445)
- Independent on Sunday gets it right
- BBC Scotland Interview
- Nick Raynsford versus Neil Herron
- Poor Assembly Members could not be removed by the ...
- Yorkshire Post hits the nail on the head...nice on...
- BBC Press Office 2002
- It's all to play for. Its all to play for.
- More news...not good for Prescott!
- No NESNO rant. This time mutual respect.
- ...and this man is an MP!
- Will Prescott be moved upstairs?
- Electoral Commission...where are you?
- Clash of the Independents...Respect not Rants
- North East No Campaign agrees..."Yes Campaign are ...
- Will Mallon rise to a real challenge?
- Yes Campaign attempt to out NESNO again.
- Couple of good letters...
- NESNO Score points as Yes Stunt backfires
- NESNO's Tooley and Daley do well in Alnwick
- Have the Bookies sussed the job?
- Pensioners Group move from Yes to No
- Sunderland born Yes 'Celebrity' furious about Yes ...
- BBC Daily Politics Show Today
- Today's News...McConnell Visits North East
- Multiple Breaches of Purdah Period as Labour get d...
- Guardian Readers offside as well!
- Letter : Independent
- Another Electoral Commission bollock dropped...oh ...
- No Postal Ballot problems? ...here's another!
- The real cost...what the Yes Campaign won't tell y...
- BBC Politics Show...the Mallon rant
- Yet another electronic coincidence
- We wait with bated breath Mr. Younger for a respon...
- 98.5% say No...but we have an excuse
- More Letters...
- People's No Campaign Harnesses the Grey Vote
- Perhaps the Electoral Commission forgot to read th...
- Electoral Commission..."No problems with North Eas...
- Noes growing by the Day
- Sunderland Echo Supplement
- Blatant Disregard for the Purdah period.
- Rebellion in North Grows
- No Problems with all Postal Ballots? ... here's on...
- Another electronic coincidence?
- More Referendum News...
- NESNO hits the front page again.We Couldn't Possib...
- So many Noes to pick from
- NESNO and No Campaign asked to leave debate
- Group urges reform of the Barnett Formula
- Presscott's desperate measures...reality dawns
- Yes Campaign losing the debate by attacking the me...
- The tortoise is overtaking the hare.
- Desperate times for Presclott.
- Prescott's English devolution dream gets wake-up c...
- Now Sunderland encouraged to say No
- Is this what you call a close victory?
- Who paid for the Ministers to speak as Labour Part...
- King Edwards are the best
- A Reminder of a positive alternative from the No C...
- Ministers Guilty of an Offence?
- NESNO Research : An Alternative?
- BBC Debate TV tonight
- Sample of Recent Letters
- News Update...No winning
- Oh how we laughed!
- BBC Question Time
- Professor Tomaney walloped by NESNO's Graham Robb ...
- Yes campaign now start to lose their 'perceived' g...
- Another cock-up by the Electoral Commission
- Sir John Hall despondent in Hexham.
- An elephant and burning notes was all we needed to...
- Times Condemns Prescott's Plan
- Ministers Commit Offences
- Another Undercover Elephant?
- Second Burglary at No HQ
- Where are your balls Mr. Younger?
- Hain Breaks the Rules
- Minister Peter Hain or Labour Party Member?
- Analysis of the Assembly cost
- Council Cock-up
- Sample of Recent Letters Across North East Press
- Break-In News...Update
- Referendum- Gate
- Burglary at No Campaign Offices
- Naughty North Tyneside
- House of Commons Select Committee
- Support outside the region
- Penny drops for one NE newspaper
- Week end round up
- Oh Mr. Younger...will the Electoral Commission 'le...
- Electoral Commission under the spotlight...again
- Hexham Courant
- Designation Farce Continues.Another 'foot in mouth...
- Daniel Day Lewis was 'The Last Mohican.' Is Peter ...
- Neil Herron on Radio Liberty
- ▼ October (95)