Today's Voice of the North
The Journal 02/02/2005
Another roar of pain from your front page on Saturday:” A Vision of 2030-forecast paints a bleak picture of North-East.”
This follows hard on the heels of the story of the closure of our last pit and every day brings more stories of doom for the North East.
These are just the kind of issues an elected assembly would have been able to tackle and give priority.
However, the people of the North-East, frightened by scare stories from the “No” brigade about higher local taxes and jealous at the thought of fat cat councillors, voted “No”.
Meanwhile, the people who led the “No” vote have disappeared into the woodwork satisfied to have squashed the assembly initiative-and having put nothing in its place.
Their parting shot was that they would set up a think-tank. This would exclude the talent from other groups in the region.
Paul Linford on your inside pages appears vaguely in favour of an assembly but happy the vote went against it.
I quote him: “ A case for the North establishing an elected assembly to take up the cudgels on the region’s behalf…” and “a properly empowered assembly as opposed to the fig leaf on offer last November.”
The point is the offer was there and we failed to grasp the opportunity. It would have been a launching pad. Increased powers could have been worked for and developed and it would have been a body to negotiate through rather than only via our representatives in Westminster who also have as part of their duty national and international concerns.
It is unrealistic to expect our MPs should show favouritism to the region in a national forum. Think of the delighted cried of “corruption” which would emerge from the Tories.
Yet another media war would erupt leaving little time for the real business of government. I would like to say to the “No” think tank and all those who voted “No”: what are you going to do now to help the North-East? What have you to put in the place of the assembly?
May I just add I am not a member of the “Yes” campaign but an ordinary taxpayer, born, bred and working in the region-and I am disappointed in it.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
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