No tears as assemby goes

EVER since they were first established, this newspaper has been opposed to the concept of regional assemblies, and in particular to that for the East of England.

EVER since they were first established, this newspaper has been opposed to the concept of regional assemblies, and in particular to that for the East of England.

This body was unelected, but had considerable say over the way East Anglia developed - especially in the area of strategic planning.

There was talk of eventually moving to an elected body, but there was never any great desire for such a move and that idea died when the people of the north east decisively rejected proposals for an assembly of their own.

It is good news that the government has finally listened to the people of the region - and this decision is another example of Gordon Brown's promising start to life in 10 Downing Street.


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However it does once again raise thorny constitutional questions following the establishment of the Welsh Assembly and, in particular, the Scottish parliament.

No one would deny that, culturally, these are separate countries to England. But by introducing new political bodies that are not replicated in England, a serious democratic deficit has been introduced.

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The Scottish parliament has ensured students from that country don't have to pay tuition fees at colleges and universities, and that elderly people get free care.

Scottish MPs sitting at Westminster had no say in that decision yet they have voted to keep the charges in England.

The government has never come up with an answer to that dilemma - and it is an issue that cannot be ignored for ever.

NEWS that the Ipswich Film Theatre is getting substantial new investment will be welcomed by many cinema-goers throughout the area.

But the new operators Hollywood must guard against it becoming a pale shadow of the big Cineworld multiplex just 300 metres away.

The film theatre must continue to provide specialist cinema for a specialist audience - not just another opportunity to see the latest Harry Potter or Spiderman film.

Ipswich Film Theatre is the only cinema in Suffolk devoted to specialist films and it would be very sad if the changes there see a reduction in the number of these films being shown.

NEWS that the rail line between Bury St Edmunds and Ely is likely to be closed until the new year is a big blow to travellers from Ipswich heading west and north.

Journeys will continue to take an hour longer, and there is bound to be a temptation to leap into the car rather than taking the train.

Of course the engineering problems with building a new bridge at Ely are massive but everyone will hope that Network Rail takes the opportunity to install a wider structure, able to take two lines, which will eventually be able to carry an enhanced service for both passenger and freight trains from Suffolk to the rest of the country.

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