Devolution, not dismemberment

Richard Weight calls for the dismemberment of the United Kingdom and is dismissive of the role regional assemblies could play in responding to the "English question" ("Raise St George's standard high", 8 January). I disagree with him on both counts. A wide range of institutional and cultural links exist between the constituent parts of the UK which I believe benefit the whole and whose severance would impoverish us all.

As for English regionalism, it is not true to say that "the only people who seem really excited about English regional assemblies are the Celtic elite". He clearly hasn't spoken to the Campaign for a Northern Assembly, the Campaign for Yorkshire or the many Londoners who want enhanced powers for the Greater London Authority.

The case for regional government in England rests in part on the UK being one of the most centralised states in the developed world. On grounds of improved public service delivery, economic development and political accountability, regional devolution is long overdue.

Lord Newby, Centre for Reform
London SW1

This article first appeared in the 22 January 1999 issue of the New Statesman, Goodbye to all that boiled cabbage