Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/370/6070
From The Socialist newspaper, 13 November 2004
Why the North East said 'no'
THE NORTH East of England gave a crushing 'No' vote to New Labour's
plans for a Regional Assembly. The referendum's turnout was over 47%,
with a massive 78% voting against. The government has since been forced
to shelve plans for similar assemblies across England.
So why has the North East given such a big thumbs down to the idea of
a devolved assembly? New Labour realise that people from the North East
feel alienated from decision making in Westminster. They thought that
offering a Regional Assembly would make people feel that they could have
more input into decision-making in the region.
However, people could see through New Labour's slick proposal. They
understood that the devolved assembly on offer would be a toothless body
with no real power.
Furthermore, it would take away a tier of county and district
councils across the region - an assembly would be even more remote than
Council workers we spoke to were correctly fearful that by wiping out
county and district councils there would be job losses. Yet, strangely,
UNISON (the public sector trade union) were promoting a 'Yes' vote.
Undoubtedly, many who voted 'No' were worried about spiralling costs.
People looked up the road to see the escalating costs of the Scottish
Parliament - the Parliament building alone shot up a staggering
ten-fold. Workers understood they would bear the brunt of such costs.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the large turn-out was the distrust of
political parties. John Prescott became a regular visitor to the North
East - his visits during the course of last year are estimated to have
Workers are becoming turned off by career politicians. Many drew the
conclusion - if New Labour is putting this forward it must be wrong!
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In The Socialist 13 November 2004:
Withdraw The Troops
Big events will shake Bush win
How Could Bush Win?
A balance sheet on Nader's campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
Civil Servants Strike
Civil servants show Blair they mean business
Great display of solidarity
Defend Pension Rights
We won't work till we drop
Fight for your future
Why the North East said 'no'
Organising against low pay
Support Jag workers' fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Massive vote for social change in Uruguay
Slovakia solidarity appeal:
Film director's Murder sparks racist backlash
The Socialist 13 November 2004 |
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