Tory shires join call for more cash and powers for England’s regions
November 30, 2014 6:50 AM   Subscribe

Grauniad: "The huge list of signatories to the letter – which also calls for an end to savage financial cuts imposed by the centre – demonstrate growing all-party frustration at a system that leaves local communities at the mercy of a central government with little or no understanding of each area’s particular needs. The letter states: “There is compelling evidence that taking decisions closer to the people affected achieves better results and saves money.""
posted by marienbad (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's a lot of truth to what's said in the letter but 1. this is what happens when you vote in the Tories and 2. the only way to pry control out of Westminster's hands involves force. I don't expect to see meaningful devolution south of the Scots border in my lifetime (alas).
posted by immlass at 8:10 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also in the Graun in this story, "Young Londoners flee capital for the regions", which chimes with my extended social circle. People move somewhere not-London, put a shitload of work into getting things done, and end up being active in the local community just because they moved in search of a certain quality of life.
posted by The River Ivel at 8:20 AM on November 30, 2014


Well, the process in Scotland is busily going sideways, so don't expect a smooth ride in England.
posted by scruss at 8:35 AM on November 30, 2014


In my experience of living in the Midlands is that there's just a slow and inexorable social, political and economic decline of the area.

Manufacturing jobs and their support structures of civic identity, pride and social cohesion have been on the decline for 30 years or more, but no-one still has any idea of how to halt the decline or what to replace them with.

The interesting thing, is that being just over 100 miles from London how strong the pull towards the centre is, with decent professional jobs all pulled into London people seriously have to question staying here to live and work.

While for those who don't have access to jobs in banking or the professions the jobs situation looks really bleak, with endless jobs in distribution warehouses, but little else or any hope of anything else either.

Meanwhile, local government lacks the resources and ability to actually do anything about it other than manage this decline, and like the private sector is looking to commercialise, cut back, lose jobs and give out contracts for formerly "essential" local services to the private sector who take these jobs away from local areas and local people into part time, casualised, contractualised arrangements.

All this taken together makes me wonder about the future of where I live over the next 30 years, the idea of high speed rail link to London and greater investment and link ups to places like Birmingham sounds good, but isn't much of a solution for people like us living in increasingly moribund market towns or rotting regional cities while the "best and brightest" are drawn to the bright lights and once there are never seen again.
posted by Middlemarch at 8:57 AM on November 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, the process in Scotland is busily going sideways, so don't expect a smooth ride in England.

Wow, who could have possibly seen that coming?
posted by rustcrumb at 9:21 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, uh, London has local communities and local governments too ( only 7% of London taxes are directly controlled by the London local authorities compared to 50% in NYC)

This is really about London (and surrounding areas) vs. rest of the UK, and has been a major issue since at least the Victorian era. Major decentralization/limit-London's-growth policies have been undertaken under both Labour and Conservative governments since at least the early 20th century (e.g the Green Belt). London has also grown and gotten more power under both Labour and Conservative governments.

I'd like to see devolution of power to the regions (which I don't think will need force to produce... the UK has undergone huge, peaceful transformations in its political structures in the post-WWII era ) but also more devolution of power to London's local governments
posted by Bwithh at 9:29 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, the process in Scotland is busily going sideways, so don't expect a smooth ride in England.

Wow, who could have possibly seen that coming?
posted by rustcrumb at 9:21 AM on November 30 [+] [!]


Scotland has gotten and is getting a pretty good deal, on balance, especially given the distractedness and in-fighting of UK government politics. (good enough that it will be a political controversy when dealing with English devolution)

The SNP turns out, shockingly, to be pretty bad at seeing things coming, so the Scottish people did well overall from the indyref result
posted by Bwithh at 9:34 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Many people had budgeted on oil staying high, Bwithh. Here in Canada, we have some issues with assumptions, too.
posted by scruss at 9:52 AM on November 30, 2014


The SNP turns out, shockingly, to be pretty bad at seeing things coming,

And the price has only gone down a penny at the pump.
posted by marienbad at 10:16 AM on November 30, 2014


The interesting thing, is that being just over 100 miles from London how strong the pull towards the centre is, with decent professional jobs all pulled into London people seriously have to question staying here to live and work.

Yeah, I'm not actually a fan of HS2 for that reason - I'm in Manchester and I fear becoming another London satellite. Conversely, HS3 - likely to do to Liverpool and Hull what I fear for Manchester - seems a great idea!
posted by alasdair at 11:47 AM on November 30, 2014


This is really about London (and surrounding areas) vs. rest of the UK, and has been a major issue since at least the Victorian era.

Or it's the UK returning to form - rich south-east near the European markets and good soil, poor periphery - which was how things worked for centuries, until the Industrial Revolution changed everything for a century. We've simply been heading back to normality since Edwardian times.
posted by alasdair at 11:52 AM on November 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


There was a good article from The Economist last year about how it's the small (100,000-200,000 population) cities that are worst off in the UK, further commented on in the brilliant blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
posted by ambrosen at 12:08 PM on November 30, 2014


That doesn't surprise me. I grew up in a small Midlands market town that's on a trunk line to London. About 30,000 people ballooned to 80,000 people by the time I left for Uni. I go back now and it's desperate, service jobs and lots of commuting to London.
posted by arcticseal at 1:23 PM on November 30, 2014


Midlands Posse Reprazent!
posted by marienbad at 1:35 PM on November 30, 2014


If people are looking for a reason behind the rise of UKIP, this is it.

None of the political parties are actually engaged or effective in giving any hope to the English Regions.

Wages here are utterly stagnant and falling, and the knocking back of people's aspirations to the level of warehouse operative fuels a lot of cynicism, resentment and hostility amongst working people.

There are high spots, there are still good jobs at the universities and some of the new foreign owned luxury car makers and those with good jobs or healthy retirement incomes from London can live a very pleasant life living in acres of attractive countryside, sending the kids to fancy prep schools and popping into London for the theatre and the galleries. But as they do the distance between the haves and have nots grows even wider and more stratified.

For most of the rest of us the economics of the area with low aspirations and low wages but rising prices and increasingly unaffordable housing and disappearing local services in schools / health / social care replaced by unaccountable academy schools, super hospitals and privatised care makes the outlook seriously bleak.

The demographics of the UK don't help much either, the ageing population needing more care and more help but based on a declining workforce, something that is due to get even worse as time goes on and affordable care becomes more and more difficult to obtain.

The falling out of the bottom of the economy and the decline of social cohesion is a structural issue but there are no votes in drawing it to people's attention so the major parties just go to another photo-op at Jaguar and make bland statements about investment in manufacturing.

Meanwhile in the real world is just too depressing, so people focus on the things they can see; EU immigration, community integration, and welfare dependency, the "lazy" young making fertile ground for UKIP's brand of frustration politics.

It's an interesting, if depressing journey.
posted by Middlemarch at 11:19 PM on November 30, 2014


I'm pretty sure the "Tory shires" refers to the Sackville-Bagginses.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:16 AM on December 1, 2014


« Older Again, Christopher Priest put it best: “Hire some...   |   It's like a fantasy nobody would want to have. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments