The Rising of the North?


The Rising of the North?

By Duncan Whitmore

In a recent essay, we suggested that one of the possible outcomes of the COVID-19 hysteria could be a greater push towards decentralisation of the British state:

[T]he provinces of the UK are beginning to assert more independence and have tailored their own responses to the COVID-19 outbreak. Both government and the mainstream media refer increasingly to “the four nations”. It would not be a bad thing if this was to drive us towards full political independence for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Moreover, the greater emphasis on tailoring responses to specific regions – such as “local lockdowns” as opposed to the London-centric uniformity that was imposed back in March – may create a demand for more regional governance over other areas of policy, particularly when the repercussions from the lockdowns are more keenly felt.

It seems that those repercussions are now starting to bite. The introduction, this past week, of the Westminster government’s “three tier” approach to COVID restrictions has led to a considerable degree of regional backlash, particularly in Liverpool and Manchester, which either are, or could be moved into, the highest tier of lockdown. Such a category is barely different from the general lockdown back in March, resulting in the closure of pubs and bars (unless they can operate as restaurants – a seemingly inconsistent exception), travel restrictions, and no household mixing either indoors or in private gardens. One amusing, but incisive response from locals was the re-branding of a forcibly closed Liverpool pub to “The Three Bellends” in honour of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and Dominic Cummings – a case, you might say, of a picture telling a thousand words. Continue reading

Foul language used by “Minister” for “local government”


 David Davis

While idly scanning the DT in Tesco today I saw this.

The really really offensive, totally Stalinist words which he actually, even as an artificial-human-being, uttered, are these:-

Local Government minister John Healey said that local councils should charge more for basic services such as off-street parking, despite people in many parts of the country experiencing inflation-busting council tax rises.

 
  

In a speech to the Local Government Association, he said: “Only one in five councils are using charging to the full potential. Not just to cover costs but to shape their area.”

In a clear sign that he believes motorists should be targeted, Mr Healey said that charging more would result in “reducing congestion, improving levels of health and exercise, encouraging the use of local shops“.

It is quite unclear to me what a “minister for local government” does, or ought to do. Unless it was something to do with “bringing government close to the people” – a notion which I should have thought everybody would recoil from in stunned horror – then he has no function.

“Shaping of one’s area” is the job, as seen by libertarians, of individuals who own it (that is to say, the area.) Or at a push, it is the responsibility of voluntary private institutions freely entered into by the said individuals, so that together they can agree to deploy more (of their own) resources towards an agreed plan.

The language used by this John Healey person is unforgiveably disgusting and wicked, in its impicit reduction of the lives, bodies and needs of real people to statistics in a Utopian planning resource. Yezhov comes to mind. Healey (not Yezhov) can however be forgiven, possibly, for he appears never to have had a real job. About the only thing going for him is that he “campaigns for medals to be awarded to Suez Canal Zone veterans”.