Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The regions need their voices heard this May

In the run-up to this year's general election, it has been noted that historic regions are not being given fair hearings regarding electoral broadcasts. Specifically, regional party Yorkshire First stated that it is unable to get a political broadcast because 89 candidates nationally are needed for any party (except for parties exclusively standing in Scotland or Wales) to obtain one, but there are only 50 constituencies in all Yorkshire's ridings (the other four in the Yorkshire and Humber Region, Brigg & Goole, Cleethorpes, Great Grimsby, and Scunthorpe, lie historically within Lincolnshire). Other regional parties, such as the North East Party and particularly Mebyon Kernow, are also unfairly affected by this normally fair sounding regulation, which should only be used for parties intending to stand nationally rather than in just a particular historic region.

I am of course a Green Party member, supporter and activist, but I believe in fairness and better choice for the people of Britain, and I also believe this general election can be a good chance for Britain to move away from centralisation (by the way, we should have regional assemblies in England, not an 'English parliament' or 'English votes on English laws', as I have said earlier), and realise we are, and in a way always have been, a federation of many different cultures and societies, in the same way many other nations in Europe are.

Localism is important not only for representation but also to protect and cherish local culture and local environments, and to help resist globalisation. More importantly, it needs to be bottom-up and involve the voices of local people-not just council leaders who could potentially have vested interests in forwarding a 'devolution' plan which could end up being rather undemocratic in practice (e.g. in Greater Manchester) or in expropriating or damaging natural resources/habitats in that local area.

On a final light note, I believe that in Britain we should fly those local flags again (e.g. the Wyvern flag of what was once Wessex) in addition to the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish flags.

Alan.





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