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One of the problems with Labour's English regional plans was that the boundaries of the regions had been set by the central government. The people who lived in them have never been asked if they wanted to be in that region.
Maybe the Spanish procedure could be borrowed... From the Spanish Constitution of 1978:
Section 143
  1. In the exercise of the right to self-government recognized in section 2 of the Constitution, bordering provinces with common historic, cultural and economic characteristics, insular territories and provinces with a historic regional status may accede to self-government and form Self-governing Communities (Comunidades Autónomas) in conformity with the provisions contained in this Part and in the respective Statutes.
  2. The right to initiate the process towards self-government lies with all the Provincial Councils concerned or with the corresponding inter-island body and with two thirds of the municipalities whose population represents at least the majority of the electorate of each province or island. These requirements must be met within six months from the initial agreement reached to this aim by any of the local Corporations concerned.
  3. If this initiative is not successful, it may be repeated only after five years have elapsed.
Replace province with county, obviously. The Greater London Authority, Scottich Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly could be grandfathered in without having to go through the process again, but they could reform their statutes.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 08:17:01 AM EST
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Good idea, but far too decentralised to appeal to the control freaks in Westminster.

Incidentally the statutes which define the devolved areas and their powers are UK laws. They were not devolved, so changes have to go through the UK Parliament.

by Gary J on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 10:25:16 AM EST
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Well, of course. The Spanish Constitution makes the Statutes "organic laws" (i.e. second only to the Constitution) and they must be approved by the regional parliament, then the national Parliament, then the people of the region in a referendum.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 10:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is a good idea, who are the MPs we should write to about it?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 11:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only one who really matters is the Rt Hon. Tony Blair MP, 10 Downing Street, London. I doubt that such a major constitutional change would take place, in the short term, without his support.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was in charge of regional policy until earlier this year. I presume the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Ruth Kelly (an Opus Dei member) took over the responsibility.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4100061.stm

The regional remit is described as follows.

DCLG is responsible for regional policy within England, and aims to promote sustainable development in the English regions.

The Government is dedicated to increasing the prosperity of all the regions and to bridging regional disparities.  As part of this, DCLG is keen that action should be taken at the right level whether that is regional, cross-regional, sub-regional or locally.

There is great diversity within and between the regions of England and they face different challenges.  Therefore, the solutions - be they economic, social or environmental - will need to be tailored to the needs of the region. Read more about Regions....

http://www.odpm.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1139476

The stuff about elected Regional Assemblies is a long way inside the Departmental web site. I do not think it is a high priority.

by Gary J on Thu Jun 15th, 2006 at 05:40:54 PM EST
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