Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Just when you think we're getting somewhere, Devonwall and South West regionalism both rear their ugly heads

You'd think things were all fine and dandy, the Cornish have recognition now, the government might just keep it's hands off Cornwall's Euro money and the Cornish Assembly campaign gathering pace. But no were dealing with Westminster so nothing is ever that simple.

Devonwall may well come back to haunt us, it seems the powers that be are still intent on redrawing parliamentary boundaries. Much like the Euro funding u turn, it's not exactly clear what is going on. With some of the ruling coalition telling us Devonwall will return and others saying it won't. So perhaps I'm scaremongering about nothing, but with this lot and their other great policy ideas, I wouldn't be surprised. I don't think it's a coincidence that people are talking about it.

On to the other lot and their "great" ideas, rebranded New Labour have rebranded their old regionalist ideas. Digging through the archives we find John Prescott promising regional powerhouses through the regional development agencies in 1998. 16 years on we now find Miliband taking a break from eating bacon sandwiches to promise pretty much the same thing as Prescott, though I reckon the latter looks most normal when eating a bacon sandwich, a sign things do change?

Rebranded and jigged the idea is now "super councils." Hard to see the detail on this one but the Welsh Assembly Government (Labour) is currently at the moment planning their own super councils aka council mergers. Hopefully this isn't being rolled out everywhere because I don't think many in Cornwall saw the creation (again by Labour and the Lib Dems) of Cornwall Council as super in any way.

LEPs are clearly something Labour is considering as Labour's Lord Adonis told the Western Morning News:

“I wouldn’t want to anticipate what would be the ideal LEP arrangement for the South West. But you’ve already got large LEP regions there and they do embrace real economic geographies. So I don’t see any reason why in principal you couldn’t have combined authorities in the South West.”

A Devonwall LEP on the cards? or perhaps I don't know maybe we could call it the South West Regional Development Agency? 

Again we find Cornwall wanting devolution and pretty broad consensus around the idea that Cornwall needs some form of devolution. Although I'm sure we could all argue about the details, but we won't ever get a chance when devolution/ localism/ regionalism is something forced on local government by central government. We need MPs in Cornwall that will convince central government that we want devolution here and that we want to decide on what terms. Or else history will repeat itself over and over again and we will see government after government rehashing Devonwall style ideas and them telling Cornwall what's good for us. Resulting in no real power being ever devolved and constant rehashing of existing bodies.