Friday, November 23, 2007

[micro-control 6] regional government proceeds apace


There's just too much material.

Rather than present one mega-post, it's best to do it this way in bite sized pieces. I really want to present all the quotes on the Surveillance Society but this piece on regions had to be looked at first.

Before getting to the main article, this piece by Ellee Seymour [follow link] on Mandelson’s reneging on ACP trade agreements in favour of regional agreements sets the thrust of the EU.

Now. Simon [one of the Anons] said on 07 November 2007 and I've slightly abridged where some points have been made before and left out interpretations – you can make those yourself:

Treaty of Rome and in the acquis commaunitaire.

The Preamble of the 1957 treaty includes this: ‘to strengthen the unity of their economies and ensure their harmonious development by reducing the differences existing between the various regions and backwardness of the less favoured regions’. The treaty clauses are peppered with references to regions.

The 1960s was a decade of advance for the EEC’s regional policy. In 1961 the European Commission held its first conference and set up three committees to look at running regional policy across the EEC.

These reports formed the basis of the 1965 First Commission Communication on Regional Policy. The Commission emphasised that its authority on regions came from the treaty of Rome and said every country must draw up regional economic policies.

The First Community Economic Programme of 1966 to 1970 emphasised integrating regional with national policies.

Working parties of senior civil servants from member states met regularly to advise on regional policy.

In 1969 in a second more substantial statement, the Commission said that all economic and social policy had to be determined at the European level or the region but NOT by nation states…and I quote ‘if member states were to remain responsible for regional policy then development of the Community would be jeopardised’.

The EEC began to give grants on a regional basis ensuring that the member countries would eventually change their systems of local government to receive crumbs from the Brussels’ table. That has a name – it is bribery.

So when we signed the treaty of Rome we signed up to that EU statement ‘if member states were to remain responsible for regional policy then development of the Community would be jeopardised.’

Do you remember a debate about it in the Commons? No - there wasn’t one. But there is no doubt that both Wilson’s, Callaghan’s and Heath’s govefrnments all knew.

Now fast-forward 30 years. We are in what Brussels calls the Post Democratic Era.

The London Assembly is an example of the extreme centralisation of power that is taking place in all 12 British regions. I was going to stand for the Conservatives for the London Assembly, but when I investigated what I would actually do should I be elected, I realised the best I could achieve would be to write to Ken Livingstone and he could then throw my paper in the bin.

Ken appoints all 15 members of Transport for London; all 16 members of the London Development Agency; nearly half of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority; the board of the Cultural Strategy Group; the London Health Commission executive and just over half of the Metropolitan Police Authority. He has a role in the appointment, discipline and removal of senior police officers.

Let me concentrate on the lobbyists. Because there are not enough seats for all of them [in the regions], new organisations represent a mish mash of lobby groups simply to produce a single member to ‘represent’ them in the assemblies.

For example, every region now has a Council of Faiths to represent Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Bahais, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Druids and Pagans. That produces one man to sit in the assembly. In the South West Assembly it happens to be a Quaker from North Somerset.

A new network of Economic Partnerships represents councils, health trusts, universities, and government quangos. Again one person represents these different groups inside the Assembly.

Add in the CBI, the TUC, ethnic minorities, Help the Aged the UK Youth Parliament for those aged between 11 and 18 and too young to vote but not too young for the Assemblies. And on and on.

Even more bizarre, an organisation or council can be represented in the Assembly through several different stakeholders, so diffuse is the structure. It’s a veritable cats’ cradle.

But it isn’t democracy. It isn’t transparent. What happened to one man, one vote?

So far the Assemblies have limited powers. And to lobby for money the regions have permanent offices in Brussels. So too do the county councils. There are over 150 such offices in Brussels representing regions across the European Union.

For what is happening in this country is also happening across the EU. Every country is divided into regions, sub regions, and sub sub regions, interlinked by roads, railways, electricity cables and gas pipelines to ensure dependency on neighbouring regions and to cut across national borders, all induced by grants from Brussels.

Who defines a region? The answer is Eurostat, the EU’s statistical service in Luxembourg. These boundaries have been used since at least 1961 in Community legislation. And it’s all done by population.

[An interesting sidelight is the nomenclature used, as the first commenter on this post indicated.]

Last year this system was enforced throughout EU by regulation - every local authority has to use it. The excuse was the enlargement of EU. Her are the populations for the regions:
Region 3 million 7 million
Sub region 800,000 3 million
Sub sub region 150,000 800,000
Every county council will be abolished. Devon County Council is now a sub sub region of the EU, UKK43, pending its abolition.

England, of course, if ths goes ahead, ceases to be.

Elsewhere in the EU:

President Mitterand in 1982 created 22 regions with limited powers. But President Chirac campaigned in 2002 on decentralisation assuring electors that the first article of the French constitution, France is ‘a single and indivisible republic’, was sacrosanct. If it succeeds the map of France will revert to the way it looked in mediaeval times.

Portugal voted ‘no’ to regions in a 1998 referendum. But the next year regional development agencies were imposed on the Portuguese: Unelected partnerships of local vested interests or stakeholders.

Poland had to change to join EU, applicant countries now have to. In 1998 its 49 provinces were abolished and 16 regions introduced.

The only ones not to change are the 16 German Lander.

Notes
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

NUTS to that!

MJW said...

‘if member states were to remain responsible for regional policy then development of the Community would be jeopardised’.

By operating at a regional level the EU gets to permeate right through the workings of each nation’s government. So it’s not just the senior political class in each member state that looks to the EU gravy train for a financial boost (usually at the end of their careers), but local politicians also get in on the act via lucrative positions on EU funded quangos and similar public sector bodies. It means the EU’s influence goes much deeper than central government, avoiding the problem of a hostile administration being elected.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'm beginning to understand more. I'm not saying I agree, mind!

jmb said...

I found this the most interesting of these posts, so far. Not saying the others weren't, mind you.

Lord James-River said...

They're certainly not interesting to write as they're grim and are the result of wading through bureaucrat speak by the truckload.

However, I think a blogger has to do a certain amount of serious work to be taken seriously. Credit in this series is partly mine but largely rests on the badgers and ferrets who dug out the material.