Thursday, June 28, 2007

At last, a Minister for the North

I thought Nick Brown would get his old job of Chief Whip back in today's reshuffle. It would have been no less than he deserved for his years of loyalty to Gordon Brown and also for his less-than-gracious treatment at the hands of Tony Blair when he was made the scapegoat for the foot-and-mouth debacle in 2001 and then sacked from the government by phone the following year.

As it turns out, he has been appointed Deputy Chief Whip with a separate brief as Minister for the North, one of a series of ministers for the English regions appointed today. No doubt this will be like red rag to a bull to the conspiracy theorists who think regions are a sinister EU plot to break up the UK, but there has long been a Minister for London and the appointment of dedicated champions for other less favoured parts of the country is long overdue.

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John Lilburn said...

An english parlaiment or no union! Choose. There are only two options.

Chris Abbott said...

There has been no referendum on this. The North East voted 78% against regionalisation - nobody else gets a say. It's not the break up of the UK that bothers us, it's the enforced break-up of England.

english woman said...

shame on you Mr. Linford it is the break up of England and you know it ,Nations and "Regions"is all Brown talks about,When he isn't calling the English, British.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe brown is a euro sceptic as he has just abolished a country(England) to serve the eu.
Without any opposition from the conservatives it looks like the people v Parliament.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe brown is a euro sceptic as he has just abolished a country(England) to serve the eu.
Without any opposition from the conservatives it looks like the people v Parliament.

Anonymous said...

"The Queen has been pleased to approve the following Ministerial appointments.

Minister for the North East of England and Deputy Chief Whip (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household)
The Rt Hon Nick Brown MP

Minister for the North West
The Rt Hon Beverley Hughes MP [1]

Minister for Yorkshire and the Humber
Caroline Flint MP

Minister for the Olympics and for London [2]
The Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP

Minister for the South West
Ben Bradshaw MP

Minister for the East Midlands
Gillian Merron MP

Minister for the West Midlands
Liam Byrne MP

Minister for the East of England
Barbara Follett MP"

Hookie says:
"To hell with this treacherous scum ...Think of England ...rear rank fire"

JohnJo said...


It is not really anything to do with the EU directly. It is entirely down to adding strength to the only string the state has in its asymetrical devolution bow. "Look", they will say, "devolution for England....there is no problem"...

The problem is that they either create an impossible England or they do not offer real devolution powers to their artificial regions. Either way, the road they have started down ends in failure.

Paul Linford said...

Will someone please explain to me why helping less well-off regions like the North is incompatible with belief in an English Parliament?

I believe in both because I think that stronger political representation for England will benefit all the English regions, and that stronger English regions will in turn benefit England as a whole. The enemy here is not regionalism, it is the idea that you can have stronger political representation and advantageous financial arrangements for three parts of the UK but not the other.

And anyway, appointing Ministers for the Regions is not devolution. If anything, it represents a strengthening of the centre against regional axises of power.

JohnJo said...

Paul, helping the poor and disadvantaged is totally compatible with an English parliament. Indeed, it will be one of its fundamental purposes. The problem I, and perhaps others have with this initiative, is that we have been left totally unconvinced by the government's motivation for it.

Whenever we have argued for devolution for England they have thrown regionalisation at us as if it were an answer. It is the state that has been saying that the regionalisation of England is the answer to asymetrical devolution.

Please excuse us if we look at this initiative and think firstly that it is no answer to the English question and secondly that it is the only answer that the state is offering us.

Mark my words. Sometime, perhaps soon, we will be pointed in the direction of these new regional ministers when we again bring up asymetrical devolution.

At that point you will see what we are on about.