It is good news that our historic county names are coming back. But it is bad news for the quangos.
The communities secretary Mr.Eric Pickles said this week that the names
and Westmorland- and the dozens of other ancient county names- should now be used as much as possible to remind us that our proud local history makes us who we are are. We agree with all of that. Cumberland
But Mr Pickles forgets one thing: as well as local history of which we are proud, there is also national history, the sort of history made in
and Westminster . And we are not proud of that. Whitehall
Why should we proud of the part
and Westminster played in ending the power of these historic counties in the early seventies? Whitehall
These fine old counties vanished on the orders of Prime Minister Mr Edward Heath.
Mr Heath believed in big centralised government
And his 1974 local government act, as well as ending centuries of heritage, gave
all it needed to grab power from local communities. Whitehall
With all that local power safely tucked away in
, the quangos- unelected and non-accountable governing bodies- started to flourish. Whitehall
Quangos were safe to do exactly as they wished, in the knowledge that any power to check them had been removed by Mr. Heath.
Those of us who have fond memories of
and Westmorland hope that newly-innovated community efforts here in Cumberland mean that a start has been made to restore that power to local people. Cumbria
And, who knows, a start on the road to restoring full power to a revived
and Westmorland? Cumberland
These admirable community initiatives are going ahead in
Upper Eden-the Kirkby Stephen-Brough area- initiated and strongly supported by the government and local M.P. Mr Rory Stewart (Penrith and the Border).
Ironically, a quango in that area, has been upsetting Kirkby Stephen people with its apparently bossy ways.