The fact that the UK declined to adopt the Euro was a matter of huge relief at the time, and even more so now that we are facing Brexit. We saw clearly with the Greek crisis the disadvantage of countries with vastly different types of economies using the same currency, without the possibility of adjusting exchange rates – and Bernard Liaetar, who was involved in designing the Euro, expressed from the start a keen interest in the development of regional currencies.
LETS (Local Exchange Trading Schemes) are a way of creating a “people’s currency” by mutual exchange – with the possibility of “fiat” input where necessary to support the administration and social funds. The catchment areas of a currency may be a village or town, but with online systems, they can extend their boundaries. Therefore LETSlink UK is interested in developing county-wide and regional currencies, in a “layered” arrangement which enables trading to occur over different catchment areas depending on the nature of the trade, e.g. borrowing cups of sugar (neighbours), babysitting (walking distance), therapy (worth at least a bus ride), accountancy (worth a car drive).
Thus we organise at county and regional levels, and would like those who are talking about new constitutional arrangements – following Brexit – to think about balanced regional development. This does not mean a “northern powerhouse”, it means a devolution into feasible regional areas. This is necessary due to the current imbalance of delegated powers, with England having no devolved government. One group, the constitutionalists, www.ICUK.info, has already proposed equal status in a confederation for the four nations of the UK . i.e. England, Wales, Scotland and (northern) Ireland.
However, this arrangement would result in unequal representation, due to the relative sizes of the populations. Scotland has 5.29m, Wales has 3.06m, Northern Ireland has 1.81m, (and Eire has 4.60m), whereas England has 53.01m. (Because of Brexit, and the recent problems in the power-sharing executive of Northern Ireland, there’s a good chance that Eire may reclaim Northern Ireland to reinstate a united republic of Ireland.)
Subtracting 8.67m for London, the remaining 44.34m divided between seven proposed regions (Southwest, Southeast, East Anglia, Midlands, Northwest, Northeast) indicates an average population in each of 6.33m – larger than in each of the existing devolved nations. So it would be good if those looking at post-Brexit arrangements would also consider devolution into regions, treating Scotland, Wales, and (northern) Ireland as regions alongside seven regions of England.
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