Sunday, 12 July 2009

Friends In The North? Out Of The West?

Although the idea of Harriet Harman doing anything about it is rather laughable, it is certainly the case that more members of the quangos responsible for nearly a quarter of all public spending in England live in four London boroughs than the whole of the North. Those quangos are responsible for spending more than £123 billion a year. Over half of all members live in London and the South East.

The solution to this is certainly not Hatty's beloved quotas, which in any case would only reach upper-middle-class people in the North, the Midlands and the West Country, just as they only reach upper-middle-class women and upper-middle-class members of ethnic minorities.

Nor is it an English Parliament, which like the once-proposed regional assemblies, would be a body firmly in the Blairite tradition, and just look at the devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales and London (which last still contains ten times as many quango members as Borough Councillors Assembly Members and the Mayor put together) to see what that would mean.

No, we need the restoration of the proper powers both of Parliament and of local government, and the reconstitution of both as genuinely representative.

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