Sunday, December 26, 2004

New regional super repository announced

We learn that the local government record offices of the North East Euro Region are to be amalgamated into a single new super-repository.

Interested in this new development, we sent Alethea to interview Dr. Axel Grindrod, the Dane who chairs the Amalgamation Committee.

How could this amalgamation be justified, we asked him. Very simply. It is a cost-saving exercise, he told us. We pointed out that the two local government reorganisations following on from the 1972 and 1992 Local Government Acts had also been advertised as cost-saving exercises but that subsequent to each, local government had become even more costly. We also pointed out that research into Public Records released under the 30 Year Rule confirmed that local government reorganisation in the past had actually been in preparation for regional government.

Clearly irritated at this, he replied I am not concerned with the past, we must look to a brighter future.

We moved on to the matter of the recent referendum in which the people of the north-east had overwhelmingly rejected proposals for an elected regional assembly and by inference regional government as well. How could the committee press ahead in these circumstances? Was the committee not concerned about public opinion?

Not at all. We can't allow public opinion to hamstring progress towards a fully integrated EU superstate. In any case, our future service will be electronic and it won't matter to the public where the actual archives are.

We enquired where the new regional repository would be built. We are considering three locations. Wallsend, Anholt and Freiburg im Breisgau.

Taken aback, we asked where is Anholt?

It is an island in the Kattegat, ideally situated near my home.

But surely, we asked, depositors such as churches will find it difficult to access or deposit records in such distant locations? Well, we must all make sacrifices you know. The concept of regions is crucial to the development of the EU and people must learn to adapt. People must learn to view themselves as European, not Geordies.

We enquired how Dr. Grindrod thought English archives compared to mainland European archives. Extremely dangerous he replied. You see, the problem with English archives, which we aim to address, is that they constitute the evidence of your Common Law, the origins of parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and expression, presumption of innocence, trial by jury and many other aggravating tendencies we find inconvenient in Europe.

Worst of all, your archives are a focus of attention for ancestral and academic research for the whole English speaking world and beyond. The British must learn to look in towards Europe, not outwards to the rest of the world. Delusions that English is the world's dominant language and the language of commerce and that England is the fountain of democracy must be disabused as soon as possible.

How did the EU intend to address these concerns in the context of archives?

By a combination of regionalisation which will help break down national identity, highly selective conservation programmes which will ensure only Europhile collections are preserved as evidence for posterity and carefully controlled research programmes which exlude research into dangerous systems like democracy. The cultural component of EU integration is high on our agenda and we will work hand in glove with other inetgrationist programmes to ensure British archives are completely cleansed.

Alethea thanked Dr. Grindrod for his time.

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