The limits to devolution
DOI link for The limits to devolution
The limits to devolution book
A recurring theme within this book thus far has been the ‘watershed effect’ of the devolution referendum in the North East of England. With an overwhelming ‘no’ vote on 4 November 2004 the regional electorate sent out a very clear message to those advocating the greater devolution of power and decisionmaking to the English regions. In various ways it was a quite remarkable result. Campaigners for an elected regional assembly had outspent their opponents by a wide margin;1 central government and the Labour Party appeared committed to an elected assembly; and informed opinion was that the move to elected regional assemblies had built signiﬁcant momentum. All signs indicated a ‘yes’ vote, and even when private polling before the election indicated a victory for the ‘no’ camp, most regional commentators assumed it would be close. However, despite the ‘no’ campaign being under-resourced and lacking in signiﬁcant visible support from politicians, not a single local authority district registered less than a 70 per cent ‘no’ vote, as the overall electorate voted by a more than 3:1 margin against an elected regional assembly (Rallings and Thrasher, 2005).