Yorkshire Post reporter, Kate Proctor, records that Labour Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, Jon Trickett MP, has denounced the Government’s devolution plan for Yorkshire as a ‘dictatorship’, but there are those of us who see it more as a mare’s nest!
Jon Trickett MP, Labour Shadow Communities & Local Government Secretary
Kate has reported: “Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth in West Yorkshire, said promises of passing power from Whitehall to English regions by Chancellor George Osborne are nothing more than an PR exercise. He doubts that devolution in Yorkshire has a long term future, and that pledges of city deals such as Sheffield’s, will wither away within a few years.”
His comments come as he prepares to launch Labour’s own devolution plans, which Mr Trickett – a former leader of Leeds City Council – described as being ‘bottom up’ and in complete contrast to Mr Osborne’s offer. “They say they want to remake the North of England, but this is about remaking George Osborne’s image,” said the shadow front-bencher, who supported Mr Corbyn throughout his leadership campaign.
The Government’s plan to give more powers to those areas which accept a directly elected mayor has ignored the views of the people, he argued, and he wants to ensure there is a referendum with local voters before a mayor is installed.
Ahead of the Government’s Devolution Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons tomorrow, he said: “You can’t impose mayors as a condition for devolution. “We will insist that there should be no top-down imposition. How can you have a democracy by imposing a particular form of governance. “It’s what you would imagine in a dictatorship, not a democracy. If people don’t want them, why should they have them?”
English Democrats very much agree with Mr Trickett’s sentiments but are disappointed that Labour’s proposed alternative is no better; like the Government’s arbitrary tinkering with England’s local government the Labour Opposition has no plan to create a national parliament for England to determine this and other matters actually devolved in the rest of the UK.
Conservative Governments have form in denying the people of England any direct participation in deciding how we are governed, the arbitrary annexation of the erstwhile English county of Monmouthshire to Wales in July 1972 without an official peep from the Labour Opposition is one case in point! Older voters may also recall how the Heath Government denied us a referendum a few months later when passing the European Communities Act in October 1972.
Consistent with its previous unfair treatment of the English, this Conservative Government has made no provision for any referenda to be held of those affected by its current schemes! Despite having devolved local government matters to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Labour Party continues to deny equality to the people of England. Unlike the rest of the UK, England is subjected to persistent tinkering by many elected representatives who, at national level, subordinate our interests to those of the rest of the UK, to the minority.
The result of this disparate, apparently whimsical meddling in England’s government is the creation of a local council hotchpotch; this writer believes that this is the deceitful intention of Cameron, Osborne & Co and that they are bent on fragmenting England. Whether due to incompetence or doctrinaire design, the result will be a huge unholy administrative mess from which the current culprits will have absolved themselves from responsibility by having departed this particular political scene.
For those of us seriously concerned about public order in England and our policing, Schedule 2 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill (MAYORS FOR COMBINED AUTHORITY AREAS: POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER FUNCTIONS) presently traversing the British Parliament is of particular interest. Without detailing all the legal mumbo-jumbo in its present state, the British Government’s Bill makes provision for its ‘devolved’ mayors to “exercise police and crime commissioner functions”.
One can only speculate at this stage about the consequences, the effect on the organisation of the individual Yorkshire police forces, the effect on the 2016 Police Commissioners etc.
English Democrats prospective candidates in the 2016 Elections for Police & Crime Commissioner are:
David Allen (South Yorkshire)
Alan England (North Yorkshire)
Therese Hirst (West Yorkshire)
More of the Yorkshire Post piece can be viewed here: Yorkshire’s devolution offer a ‘dictatorship’