The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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British Regionalization

Divide and Conquer

George Buchan
John Griffing

BritishRegionalization 

A trend intended to undermine national sovereignty from within has taken shape: regional devolution. Despite the predictable consequences of this trend, many supporters are not fully aware of its implications. That is why regional devolution must be explored in some depth, to better identify the inherent dangers of this paradigm, and its damaging impact on the proper functioning of national governments, which are the chief protectors of individual liberty and property, and the subsequent protector of national interests.

Previously, the debate over regionalism in the UK has been centered around the creation of regional assemblies with new powers in areas such as employment, transportation, housing, rural development, and spatial planning (zoning). Prior to their abolition by the newly elected coalition government, assemblies existed as unelected bodies, their members drawn from elite circles that included corporate executives, environmental consultants, and local officials serving fixed terms. Regional assemblies at their core were unaccountable to the electorate.

With the abolition of regional assemblies by the Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition government, and regionalism seemingly derailed, it would be tempting to grow complacent and assume that the war is won because of a victorious skirmish.

But the enemy is the same, and their domestic lapdogs have not stopped pressing the regional concept, even if their approach has been adapted in the face of public opposition. The re-branding by the coalition government via the abolition of regional “assemblies” and their replacement with more free market aligned “Local Enterprise Partnerships” should not be mistaken for victory against the effort to corrode local governance and reduce voter input.

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