Friday, February 25, 2005

The Balkanisation of Britain

The subject of this blog is regionalisation.

We fear that many local government archivists and their counterparts in the private sector, quite apart from archivists in the civil service, are ignorant both of the real basis of regionalisation and of their part in its advancement. Possibly some are more witting and are secretly happy to collaborate with European integrationists.

Sadly, the place of the historical county and diocesan system in England and Wales, the basis for so long of archival organisation and local identity is under threat. The many archivists in a headlong dash to perform best regionally are no doubt ignorant of this too, quite apart from their users.


The UK Euro-Regions: note England is not mentioned

The extent to which regionalisation has crept into planning for archives development is summarised on the National Council on Archives web site.

To regard the artificially and recently created regions as legitimate expressions of local, cultural or economic identity in the UK is grossly misleading and inaccurate. To understand the real purpose of the regions, we need look no further than the origins and purpose of the EU itself. In any case, UK government files released under the Thirty Year Rule have confirmed the last great round of local government reorganisation of 1974 was conceived as a means of enabling future regional government.

Jean Monnet, the founding father of the EU, stated: Europe's nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.


Jean Monnet

Now we know why economics is so often given as a justification for increasing access to archives. This economic driver is mentioned powerfully in the report of the Archives Task Force, Listening to the Past, Speaking to the Future. Recommendation two of the report is actually to: Position UK archives as key contributors to local, regional and national social and economic objectives and a key policy statement contained within the report advocates An archival heritage unlocked and made open to all citizens in a way that engages them and empowers them to use archives for personal, community, social and economic benefit.

Professor Frank Furedi has noticed how economic factors are crucial in the drive towards political correctness and in the dumbing-down of cultural heritage read more

So a pattern is evident: archives and cultural heritage, disguised as regional economic tools, will drive European integration through diminution of real national or local identity and the undermining of traditional academic critique. Ignorance and deception, both among the general population and among an intellectually emasculated academia will thus enable European integration by subterfuge, at least in the UK.

EU institutions are more frank, in the tradition of Monnet. The Assembly of European Regions states in its declaration of 1996: the regions are an essential and irreplaceable element of European development and integration (see below). Similarly, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions works to promote a united Europe that is based on local and regional self government and democracy. No mention is made of national democracy (see also below).

Further reading:

Economic and Social Research Council

EU Committee of the Regions

Assembly of European Regions

Assembly of European Regions: adoption of the Laeken Convention

Assembly of European Regions: Declaration on Regionalisation

Regional Assemblies.co.uk

Council of European Municipalities and Regions

Letters to The Times 2 April 2005

The Bruges Group

historiasiglo20.org an honest Europhile web site proclaiming Monnet's unashamed integrationist agenda.

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