Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nissan - the Regional Dimension

Pete Barron, the respected editor of the Northern Echo, can be relied upon to choose his words with care. He knows his opinion, and that of his paper, matter in the North East. He is capable of dismaying politicians of all parties with his trenchent comment.

So his blog piece today on Nissan was particularly telling. Pete makes the point that without the robust support of Regional Development Agency One North East, it is difficult to imagine the investment from Nissan having been secured with such speed. The only alternative to an RDA is a myriad of local authorities pulling in their own directions.

The Tories, of course have a long-standing antipathy towards the RDAs - not because they are not effective - patently they are - but because of their own obsession with regionalism and the European Union. It's a classic example of a party's internal dogma working against what is in the best interests of the people it professes to care about.

Don't expect the Tories to change their spots anytime soon on the RDA's - hatred of anything regional is seared into the party's rassroots' political DNA. Maybe the Nissan development will help reinforce to North East voters, however, that the Tories have nothing to offer them at the General Election.


james said...

It's not only their opposition to regional governance - the Tories are also stubbornly opposed to an active industrial policy.

Sadly, this kind of investment doesn't appear out of thin air. As the business secretary rightly said, Nissan could have gone elsewhere if not for the work of the RDA.

I don't believe the Tories have any idea how to encourage growth in new low-carbon industries. That they would abolish incentives for manufacturing investment shows a lack of concern about job creation in the UK.

Mark Burton said...

As you'll know, I drive my car on LPG at the moment... I’ll definitely be looking at this car as an option when it hits the shops!