Earlier this year I posted on regionalisation under the heading: “The ‘dark’ secrets of devolution“, in which I raised the matter of Gordon Brown’s Ministers of the Regions and the subsequent appointment of Greg Clark as Minister of Cities under the Coalition government. The subject of that initial post has re-surfaced with the news that in respect of the forthcoming mayoral elections, Cameron would like to create a ‘Mayoral Cabinet‘ Digressing slightly, other than the report in the Yorkshire Post; a mention on the BBC together with the obligatory press release quietly slipped out by the DCLG, I don’t recall any mention of this ‘Mayoral Cabinet’ in our national media – strange, perhaps it was covered by a selective ‘D’ Notice? Boris is, it would seem, not too happy with this idea of a ‘Mayoral Cabinet’!
Readers will notice that every one of the cities mentioned in my linked post, coupled with the press release by the DCLG, are all designated EU regions within the NUTS designation (level 3), which has incidentally changed slightly (note NUTS 2006 – NUTS 2010 opens in an Excel document). Let us now turn to the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and how, in their own words, it’s members represent the regions and cities of the European Union. This committee has 344 members comprising an equal number of members and ‘alternates’, of which the UK provides 24 of each – the full list of current members can be read here. Readers may also be interested to see how these appointees, because that is what they are – you didn’t think they were elected, surely? – come to be in place (pages 59-61). It is also worth noting that in accordance with Article 4 of the CoR’s Rules of Procedure all members are immune to prosecution. The content of Article 2 should be noted in that in common with all EU committees/bodies it is a requirement that members work in the general interests of the EU – which means ignoring national interests. - Don’t you just love the EU’s idea of democracy and accountability?
It may be recalled that Cameron decided that he was going to abolish Regional Development Agencies – and yet he has, in effect, replaced them with Local Area Partnerships which carry out some of the functions previously carried out by the regional deveopment agencies which he did abolish in March 2012. Coupled with Local Area Partnerships (LAPs) Cameron also created Local Area Agreements (LAAs) which in effect implement the other functions of RDAs that the LAPs do not. What Cameron is doing with elected mayors is continuing the regionalisation of our country – and, to a certain extent, James Delingpole missed this aspect when writing his post: “Why is Cameron covering up for the EU” – because with his plans for elected mayors that is exactly what Cameron is doing.
If Cameron was not intent on furthering the aims of the European Union where regionalisation is concerned, why would he appoint a Minister for Cities? If Cameron was not intent on furthering the aims of the European Union, why would he not have shelved the idea of city mayors? If Cameron was not intent on furthering the aims of the European Union, why have we not had any announcement that Gordon Brown’s Ministers of the Regions have been thrown out of office? (if we have, I’ve missed it)
In the Foreward to “The Coalition – our programme for government” Cameron promised to “…extend transparency to every area of public life…”. Not one word of regionalisation, nor the European Union, enters anything Cameron is proposing – once again the man is shown to be a liar!