WMTPA friends at the West Midlands NO! campaign have been active in their protest against the ‘City Region’ plans by beating the authorities to the punch and registering the proposed name of the ‘Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region’ themselves.
The City Region, which combines West Midlands’ councils and quangos alike, will no doubt become increasingly prominent, particularly with the demise of the West Midlands Regional Assembly. Like the assemblies, City Regions create another tier of government and threaten to sap even more of our money.
The campaigners at West Midlands NO! aren’t the only ones who are sceptical (to say the least!) about introducing the Birmingham, Coventry and Black Country City Region. Sandwell councillor Bob Piper (Lab) also challenges the idea on his website, asking ‘What is a City Region…and who wants it?’:
“So what is it, and what will it do? Well, it is going to be a City Region Company Limited by Guarantee... or, a Quango to anyone else. It seems to consist of the Leaders and Chief Executives of the It is expected to meet in private (except its AGM), and as far as I know it won't publish its minutes or agendas, and it won't have any sense of democratic accountability.”
Stuart Parr, also a WMTPA activist, states that as the electorate hadn’t been consulted on the introduction of our new City Region it was a natural step to register the name without consulting those involved with it’s creation. The powers that be left themselves wide open to sabotage by releasing the name publicly without securing it.
Mr. Parr, along with many of the West Midlands NO! supporters, comes from Telford – a city that not even mentioned in the title of this new body, despite being part of the area it presides over. Apparently the title ‘West Midlands City Region’ would have been unsuitable as the Stoke area is to have its own.
Seems like there are certainly going to be plenty of them…
Unfortunately this protest is unlikely to derail the City Region ambition, which will no doubt resurface under a pseudonym and live on to endlessly consult and “promote the interests of the citizens of the City Region” as is its ambiguous remit.