Attitude shows gulf in opinion

The Gazette, published on June 13, reported that Sir Alan Beith supports the concept of devolution for the North East of England.

The article further stated that this view was shared by Nick Clegg, the (so-called) Deputy Prime Minister. This attitude merely serves to emphasise how wide the gulf has become between the Liberal Democrats and the people of Northumberland and the North East.

Twice this view has been rejected by the people of the North East in general and of Northumberland in particular.

They were similarly rejected by our neighbours in Durham. In 2004 almost 78 per cent of the population in the region rejected the proposal of John Prescott to set up a Regional Assembly, these figures were reflected in Sir Alan’s own constituency, where the figures for Alnwick were 11,666 against and only 2,771 in favour.

When, shortly afterwards, our views were sought on whether or not district councils should be replaced by a single Unitary Authority the proposal was rejected by a similar majority. In this latter case of course, our views were ignored and overruled and the vast behemoth that Northumberland County Council has become was introduced at the expense of smaller, people-friendly, district councils.

Our neighbours in Durham joined us in rejecting these monsters and also had their views ignored.

Whilst standing as a Parliamentary candidate in Durham in 2010 I predicted that it would not be long before these two councils were amalgamated into a single body, thus bringing about a Regional Assembly.

I repeat that assertion now, and predict that within the lifetime of the next parliament if the government is formed by any of the Tory, Labour or Lib Dem parties (alone, or in any combination) that we will see that Regional Assembly come about by default.

Regional government of course, is a cornerstone of the EU’s aim to create a single country called Europe.

The UK Independence Party stands for local democracy. Local people need councils having real power with local people having real control over planning matters.

UKIP will introduce a bill enabling local people to force County Councils to hold binding referenda on matters that concern them.

This could range from planning issues, to control of unruly behaviour and even to the overturning of the hunting ban. Rural areas have been ignored by the other parties for the last 30 years as urban MPs many of who have no idea of the concerns of country people ride roughshod over our views. Country people should be able to decide on matters that concern them.

UKIP as a party is gaining members everywhere, and here in Alnwick and Berwick it is no different.

The branch is becoming more active with new recruits joining regularly.

The branch which condemns Sir Alan’s views on regional devolution meets in Alnwick and will shortly be involved in the selection of UKIP’s candidates for the European Elections in 2014.

The future lies with UKIP which is the only party that genuinely has the interests of the British people at heart.

The Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrats have failed the country, join us to save it.

Nigel Coghill-Marshall,

UKIP Alnwick branch member