Blame John Prescott for devolution defeat over regional assemblies – Yorkshire Post Letters

What now for Yorkshire devolution?
What now for Yorkshire devolution?
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From: Michael Clarke, Howe End, Kirbymoorside.

THE Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank’s Arianna Giovannini suggests (The Yorkshire Post, January 4) that the lack of giving “proper power” to the regional assemblies was the reason why they were rejected in 2004.

John Prescott was an architect of regional devolution when he served Tony Blair's government as Deputy Prime Minister.

John Prescott was an architect of regional devolution when he served Tony Blair's government as Deputy Prime Minister.

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She rather misses the point. More likely the voters had very little confidence in the ability in those chosen to take it forward, highlighting the one major problem in the democratic process, in that those we choose to make decisions on our behalf are not always chosen for their expertise.

The IPPR North is hardly awash with imaginative, creative thinkers but staffed by “researchers, economists and academics” who produce endless publications and strategy documents which have very little outcome, but provide an excellent source of discussion for other “researchers, economists and academics”.

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Much as I admire John Prescott as a true conviction politician, I would hardly seek his views, other than how to avoid eggs.

My experience with past regional assemblies has found that they create a feeding frenzy for local government’s upper management – and those few members of the private sector who remain have a vested interest in the outcome.

Rather like the IPPR North, they provide endless opportunities for talking shops and avoid any sensible outcome.

Those with the necessary expertise and flair normally flee, never to return, when faced with extreme bureaucracy and the inevitable delay in coming to any sort of resolution in order to keep the expenses flowing.

If a fraction of the HS2 budget was invested in more accessible video conferencing and speedier internet, then the need to save half an hour in getting to London, or giving more time to chill before another “power point” presentation in Manchester, would not be needed.

You never know the public might even be able to contribute and bring a little Northern common sense to any proposed future assembly, and produce the sort of shock given to the elected decision-makers recently.

Hoping for a new Churchill

From: John P Hall, Follifoot, Harrogate.

REGARDLESS of your political persuasion, people agree that Sir Winson Churchill was Britain’s greatest Prime Minister. What made him special was his intelligence, imagination and great foresight. People who have shown extraordinary foresight are often rather unconventional. They take calculated risks. They aren’t afraid to be bold.

In 1912, then an MP for Dundee, he proposed that English regions should be governed by regional parliaments and powers devolved to areas such as Yorkshire, Lancashire, Midlands and London.

In Boris Johnson, we have a Prime Minister who is intelligent, unconventional, bold and a risk-taker. He has yet to prove he has the foresight. As London Mayor, he successfully led the assembly and must realise the great potential that Yorkshire has to kick start the economy after Brexit.

Yorkshire can firmly establish itself as a global brand and deliver economic benefits for not just Yorkshire but all of the UK.