North East abolished
Does the North East still exist? In fact what about the West Midlands or any other "region" to that matter?
It may seem like an odd question to pose, but the unions say the scrapping of regional quangos by the coalition Government amounts to as much. The regional development agency gone, the regional Government office gone, regional strategies, gone.
Of course, we all live in different "regions" but robust Communities Secretary Eric Pickles does not hide his dislike of all things regional - hence them being consigned to the bin. Now he might argue that regional identity is not about the structures, but of course they can reflect and enhance that regional identity,
In fact the headline of the Communities Secretary's announcement says it all.
"I do not believe the arbitrary government regions to be a tier of administration that is efficient, effective or popular. Citizens across England identify with their county, their city, their town, their borough and their neighbourhood. The case for elected regional government was overwhelmingly rejected by the people in the 2004 North East Referendum. Unelected regional government equally lacks democratic legitimacy, and its continuing existence has created a democratic deficit.
"Let me be clear: The Government Offices are not voices of the region in Whitehall. They have become agents of Whitehall to intervene and interfere in localities, and are a fundamental part of the 'command and control' apparatus of England's over-centralised state."
That's what Mr Pickles has to say, but here is what Labour has to say on the matter. They are furious and so are the unions.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "In the same week the government has made great play of strengthening local communities, Eric Pickles announces a power-grab that will hand more control to Westminster. We're not talking about another tier of regional government here, we're talking about ensuring central government has a regional accent.