Hours after the result of the Scottish Referendum, Cameron announced his own recipe for the break-up of Britain in calls for an English Parliament. Meanwhile, Osborne was trying to create an argument for devolution to the regions to satisfy the requirements of finance capital at home and abroad. His rehearsed announcement has had the desired effect of creating a bandwagon among other parties and media in the run-up to the general election.
Regionalism is Separatism by another name and was rejected by the British people years ago when Westminster politicians tried to foist elected mayors on Britain’s larger cities. According to Labour’s shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, “The country wants to break the stranglehold of Westminster. They want power shifted away from this place on a grand scale.” But Westminster politicians such as Khan have no alternatives to rampant capitalism.
Strategic Authorities, such as the West Midlands, which had some control of roads, transport, police and planning were destroyed by Heath. We are left with a number of unitary authorities without the powers to co-ordinate services and integrate them with other areas. Why should setting up a body for one set of cities here and another there be acceptable, when money and resources are taken away from other areas? Why not a plan for the nation? Capitalism says such planning cannot be allowed as it interferes with market forces.
What would be the point of another tier of local government when it cannot produce coherence and fairness for all people? For example an integrated transport system requires a national plan, as does energy. Of course no plans actually exist because our politicians remove themselves more and more from governing our country; they would rather ‘let the markets decide’.
The only beneficiaries from regionalism/separatism are finance capitalists who feed off a weakened working class. They want us to fight among ourselves for what they decide to give us on a region by region basis.
It seems that the main parties will include plans for English devolution in their election manifestos. Romantic nationalists from places such as Cornwall and Yorkshire seem oblivious to the levels of enduring poverty, which separatism would do nothing to address. What all separatists conveniently forget is that it is only economic activity overseen by a progressive nation state that can solve these deep-rooted problems.