In an article by Toque entitled The Liberal Democrats’ Resolution of the England Question, which was the publication of a letter from the Liberal Democrat HQ in response to their question on an English Parliament, published on 27th April, I posted the following response:
“Ultimately, we want to move towards a federal United Kingdom – devolving power within England further and thus resolving this question”
Note the LibDem words carefully – “devolving power within England further”. Not devolving power TO England, but within England.
Why can people not see, or choose not to see, that this ‘Federal United Kingdom’ is the 12 Regions of the UK as mapped out by the EU.
9 English regions, each eventually to have the same powers as Scotland, NI & Wales, (those 3 already having regional status), each with a Regional Minister in Westminster to give the appearance of UK sovereignty, but in reality controlled by the Committee of the Regions in Brussels.
That is what is meant by devolving power closer to the people as espoused by the LibDems, and regularly by Dan Hannan MEP because the Conservatives in the UK don’t want it raised as an issue at election time. The regional NHS (9 English RHA’s already in place) and Regional police forces (nearly in place with talk of mergers again on the table), 9 Regional Fire Service Commands (already in place), Regional TV & Radio (already in place), and to use the LibDems own words ‘removing power from Westminster and Whitehall’.
At that point, currently estimated to be 2012, the UK will no longer have the power to negotiate to leave the EU, its powers having been devolved completely to the 12 regions. And a region alone could not negotiate to leave, as the original treaty was with the UK.
There never will be an English Parliament, there never will be a single voice for England alone, so long as we remain inside the EU.
The evidence is all around you, its there again in the LibDem response, you only have to see what is in front of you.
As a result of my assertions, I have received an email asking me to expand on this subject and to provide some more detail. This I am happy to do, and will begin to outline this detail below.
Lets take first of all my assertion that there are 9 English regions, each eventually to have the same powers as Scotland, NI & Wales, (those 3 already having regional status), each with a Regional Minister in Westminster to give the appearance of UK sovereignty, but in reality controlled by the Committee of the Regions in Brussels.
In June 2007 the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, announced the appointment of nine regional ministers. In the July 2007 Green Paper, The Governance of Britain, the Government proposed that regional committees should be established.
In this document, Regional Accountability at Westminster it was also laid out that 8 Regional Grand Committee’s be established, which are now in place. 8 rather than 9 as it was considered that London Region did not require one.
Here is what Wikipedia tells us about these Regional Ministers, and includes the Regional Map of England (Scotland, NI & Wales already having been established with Regional Government).
The Governance of Britain Green Paper, published in July 2007, provided the following objectives for regional ministers:
- to advise the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on the approval of regional strategies and appointment of Regional Development Agency (RDA) chairs and boards;
- to represent regional interests in the formulation of central government policy relevant to economic growth and sustainable development in areas that have not been devolved to the RDAs
- to facilitate a joined up approach across government departments and agencies to enable the effective delivery of the single regional strategy
- to champion the region at high level events and with regard to high profile projects (including through a programme of regional visits); and
- to represent the Government with regard to central government policy at regional committee hearings and at parliamentary debates focused specifically on the region.
It also stated:
“There are a range of functions that Regional Ministers will undertake. These are mostly clustered around the responsibilities of the Government Offices and the Regional Development Agencies, particularly in relation to economic development. Regional Ministers will be able to take questions in Parliament on the work of regional bodies, and on regional strategies.
That so far is the visible element of the EU Regional policy, but what is more important is the invisible elements, that which must not be made visible to the public until it is too late to change it.
The Governance of Britain Green Paper mentioned above is the UK Government complying and publishing its area of the more wide-ranging European Commission document European Governance.
So lets now get back to Regionalisation, across the entire European Union, and in particular to the UK, and we will see that not only the Liberal Democrats are committed to the regionalisation of the UK as part of the EU plan, but so are the Conservative party with the Big Society policy plan and of course the Labour party who have been implementing this since 1997.
When we speak of the European Union we think of the Council of Ministers, the European Commission and the European Parliament as the only players. It is true that these bodies form the Executive, Civil Service and Legislature, but there are many more bodies which work alongside the EU in formulating, presenting and implementing policy and EU directives, regulations and decisions.
One such body is the Committee of the Regions (CoR) of which I have spoken before, originally set up as an advisory group, it is now taking on institutional and legal powers afforded to it by the Lisbon Treaty and holds plenary sessions representing the 277 Regions of the EU. We shall return to the CoR later.
Another body is the Assembly of European Regions (ARE or AER). This body is represented by delegates of all 277 Regions of the EU, and although holds no constitutional or legal position, is fully funded by EU taxpayers, and its remit extends to 33 countries, including those now linked by the Mediterranean Union (EU and North African states bordering the Mediterranean).
In 1996 the Assembly of European Regions issued a Declaration on Regionalism in Europe. That document states:
Item 3 of Preamble: The regions are an essential and irreplaceable element of European development and integration.
Item 5 of Preamble: Recognising the importance in Europe of the process of integration and regionalisation.
Item 7 of Preamble: Convinced that states with strong regional political structures, ie. with legislative powers and their own finances can optimally resolve their economic and social problems.
Item 9 of Preamble: Being aware that the regions, within the national legal order, are an indispensable element of democracy, decentralisation and self-determination, by allowing people to identify with their community and by increasing the opportunities for their
participation in public life.
Item 13 of Preamble: Considering the relevance of the Council of Europe’s draft European Charter of Regional Self-government (1996) and the European Parliament’s “Community Charter for Regionalisation” (1988).
Item 14 of Preamble: Convinced of the significance of this declaration, which reflects a political will and the aspirations that the regions wish to promote in Europe, while respecting the diversity of their situations which call for a variety of solutions;
Seeing any of the 3 main party policies yet? The document continues and lays out rules under which Regions shall exist, the definition and concept of Regions, and how States shall devolve power to them.
Article 1.1 The region is the territorial body of public law established at the level immediately below that of the state and endowed with political self-government.
Article 1.2 The region shall be recognised in the national constitution or in legislation which guarantees its autonomy, identity, powers and organisational structures.
Article 1.3 The region shall have its own constitution, statute of autonomy or other law which shall form part of the legal order of the state at the highest level establishing at least its organisation and powers.
The status of a region can be altered only in cooperation with the region concerned. Regions within the same state may have a different status, in keeping with their historical, political, social or cultural characteristics.
Article 1.4 The region is the expression of a distinct political identity, which may take very different political forms, reflecting the democratic will of each region to adopt the form of political organisation it deems preferable. The region shall resource and staff its own administration and adopt insignia for its representation.
The document is 13 pages in length and I suggest that you read the full document to understand fully just how the UK is to be broken, as it will explain why England in particular will never obtain its English Parliament.
Article 3.1 The apportionment of powers between the state and the regions shall be determined in the national constitution or in legislation in accordance with the principles of political decentralisation and subsidiarity.
Under these principles, functions should be exercised at the level as close to the citizen as possible. (see appendix)
Appendix to article 3, paragraph 1
Examples of the existing regions’ powers:
– regional economic policy,
– regional planning, building and housing policy,
– telecommunications and transport infrastructures,
– energy and environment,
– agriculture and fischeries,
– education at all levels, universities and research,
– culture and media,
– public health,
– tourism, leisure and sport,
– police and public order.
Article 5.3 Under national legislation, the region shall be entitled to levy its own taxes and determine sources of tax revenue. For this purpose, it shall set the criteria for determining its taxes, duties and
dues. Where the law permits, it may decide to charge supplements
on state taxes.
Article 6.1 The principle of solidarity entails the existence of national
systems of financial equalisation.
The aims and procedure of financial equalisation shall be prescribed in the national constitution or legislation.
Account shall be taken of the uneven distribution of the financial burdens borne by the regions, on the basis of objective criteria. However, financial equalisation shall not dissuade those regions required to make equalisation payments from making appropriate use of the sources of tax revenue available to them.
The needs of municipal authorities shall also be taken into account in the calculation of equalisation payments.
Equalisation shall take the form of transfers from the state to the regions, and between regions.
The implementation of Article 6.1 has of course already taken place and explains why taxpayers funds to Scotland & Wales are higher, whose Regional governments then disburse them differently to the English regions, and why we see the disparity in the NHS budgets between these regions where Scotland & Wales spend far more per capita than England, as they also do with Education.
There is a lot of mention in that document that refers to the Constitution. You would be right in saying the UK does not have one, well not yet, but whilst we have all been focusing on the election, those Civil Servants in the Cabinet Office have been beavering away writing a Constitution for the UK ready for the incoming government.
Now you may say that this is only a declaration from a non legislative body, and if that is as far as it went, you would be right.
However, here is the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the ‘Recommendation of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe on a European Charter of Regional Self-Government’, which in turn had adopted the Declaration of Regionalism in Europe and by which time had also adopted the Council of Europe’s draft European Charter of Regional Self-government (1996) and the European Parliament’s “Community Charter for Regionalisation” (1988)..
What followed next was that the European Commission passed this all into European Law with its Regulation, European Parliament resolution on the role of regional and local authorities in European integration (2002/2141(INI))
As this was passed as a Regulation, it was not required for an Act of Parliament to be raised and was therefore introduced into UK law on Tuesday 14th January 2003. (I would remind readers at this stage that EU laws are passed in 3 ways and introduced into UK law using different methods, which I have written about previously).
So, now it is UK law that Regionalisation must take place, Labour have been implementing this since 1997, firstly with the attempt at Regional Parliaments (voted down but since replaced with Regional Grand Committees), and with the introduction of Regional Assemblies, Regional Development Agencies and the Regionalisation of the Military and all the emergency services, media, NHS, and just about every other government body.
We see now at election time the 3 main parties including it in their party manifestos, but in such a way that regionalisation is never mentioned, England is never mentioned, the EU is never mentioned and the demise and marginalisation of Westminster are never mentioned.
Gordon Brown speaks of the Countries and Regions of the UK in which he means Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the 9 English regions.
Nick Clegg speaks of devolving power closer to the people, on immigration he has a regional placement plan, and
David Cameron talks of the Big Society, again devolving power closer to the people, elected Regional Police chiefs, cutting down the number of MP’s.
If you want to see the 3 main parties other policy items laid out in the EU agenda, you can see it here, in the The European Commission Work Programme 2010. The only argument between them is how to implement them. The real work as I said earlier is being handled by the Committee of the Regions, for it is they who now direct regional and local government policy implementation.
and remember, that all the while these EU structures have been put into place in the background, you have been paying for it. The UK has been paying its up front EU dues, it has been paying its EU tax called VAT, and it has been paying for the Committee of the Regions, The Assembly of European Regions and for all of the local government restructuring that has been going on for over 10 years, over and over you have been paying.
Let me reiterate. Whilst we remain inside the EU, there are 2 chances of an English Parliament, Bob Hope and No Hope.
If anyone wishes to campaign for an English Parliament, the only way in which you will achieve that ambition is for the UK to leave the EU. It is not too late, the election is still a week away.
Many of the smaller parties and Independents are committed to leaving the EU, and of course The Albion Alliance are asking candidates to sign a personal pledge on working for a referendum simply because we just don’t trust our politicians or parties to do what they say they will do, because we know that they are following an EU agenda, not a British one.
For some strange reason, the Labour government in the final weeks before the campaign blocked publication of its plans for an elected second chamber.
The Guardian tells us: “So in the public interest we are publishing the plans in full on the website”. Click here to read them.
You will note that these plans involve the election to the second chamber on a Regional basis.