Friday, November 05, 2004
Will Prescott roll with this punch?
The writing had been on the cards for some time with regards to the referendum to set up a North East England Regional Assembly. Nevertheless, the margin of victory for the 'No' campaign was huge. This is a massive blow for John Prescott, who had staked a lot of political capital on the outcome of this vote. However, as I have commented elsewhere, and as Francesca also says, he had failed to learn the lessons of the Welsh Referendum and the National Assembly for Wales and left himself wide open to the accusation that his proposed new body was nothing more than a talking shop. If he had put forward a meaningful body with real and clearly defined powers and campaigned on the issue rather than on his own spin then I believe he might of had a chance of getting it approved. As it is, the timidity and control-freakery that characterised this sad attempt at devolution was its undoing.