Anorak News | The Northern Line

The Northern Line

by | 27th, October 2004

‘TALK of the north-east becoming an autonomous region of the United Kingdom has been greatly exaggerated.

”Vote yes for fireworks”

Whether it’s out of apathy or not, the Guardian reports that the Government’s plans to construct a north-east regional assembly are hardly wowing the locals.

After a week of polling in England’s first devolution referendum, a pretty pathetic 17.8% of the electorate have bothered to exercise their right to vote.

How many of these have voted “aye”, and so supported the Government’s campaign, is not even hinted at.

But this may be because many of the area’s residents haven’t got the foggiest idea what they’re being asked to vote on.

Should they ask a Londoner what a regional assembly equates to, the message would be that you get a load of local politicians, an expensive new building to house them in and, if you’re lucky, a fireworks display at New Year’s Eve.

But even though a new assembly will at a stroke increase employment in the crucial local Government sector exponentially, many are still less than enthused.

So the Guardian looked up Newcastle on the map, went north and asked a few locals what they thought of things.

Well, make that one local. She’s called Denise Scott and is this morning perhaps something of a local celebrity among the region’s Guardian readers.

“I know nothing about this, no-one has told me very much at all,” says Denise, who was questioned by the Guardian’s fearless roving reporter as she stood beside a “colourful yes campaign caravan” in Newcastle.

But then onto the scene bounced Gateshead East and Washington West MP Joyce Quin, who told Denise about the new building, the jobs for wannabe politicians and those fireworks.

And Denise was impressed.

As was Ken Livingstone, the elected London mayor, who left his new building and firework planning in London to travel up north and tell Denise: “You’ve got to trust local people to run services better than bureaucrats in London.”

Bureaucrats like, er, Ken Livingstone and the other members of the London Assembly…’

Posted: 27th, October 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink