Die, regional politics! Die!

January 30, 2007

Regional politics has no relevance any more.

In many democratic nations like the USA and South Africa politics and political leadership is still contested on a local, regional and national level. Is it not time to reassess the need for regional politics as merely a drain on resources?

Going through the main areas of government it is difficult to find reasons to maintain the regional structure. Although in the USA the regionally elected senate fills an important role in their checks-and-balances, much like the house of lords in the UK, their state governors seem redundant as do our provincial MECs in South Africa.

In the USA, a federation of 51 (I include, sadly, the UK these days) semi-independent states, the politics involved in dissolving these would be nigh impossible politically, but probably not so difficult logistically. In South Africa I doubt whether there would be more than a couple of years of logistical snafus, at least no worse than we have at regional level now. So in what department do we, in South Africa, need regional governance rather than just local and national?

Health. Health is best represented at local level, regional level health does not work. In a country where the only transport is public for much of the populace local health for all basic care is what is needed. For advanced care a third-world country cannot afford to run a wide-base of programs- cancer treatment, major surgery, bubonic plague* on a regional level and should centralise to one or two national points. Regional is unnecessary.

Security. You generally face two levels of crime: petty and organised. Housebreakings, muggings and so on are best dealt with on a local level- people are needed close to ground zero and information needs to be quickly and easily shared between officers and stations in localised areas. Organised crime seldom operates purely on a regional level and tends, in our era, towards national and international frameworks. Here you need analysis of large amounts of information, expensive, sophisticated search equipment and a national police service with international information sharing.

Housing. This is a big issue in South Africa but again works best on local and national levels. Regional housing MECs are too far from the problems to quickly and easily resolve them without the power or clout of the national body.

Education. Primary and secondary education is most definitely a local concern and tertiary education more easily handled nationally.

Public transport, roads, fire. Again regional is unnecessary. Local transport would need co-ordination for standard work-home-social movement and national for intercity/town movement. Fire needs to deal with individual needs and national disasters.

Ultimately, there may end up being the occasional national department which needs subdivisions dealt with differently, like the parks board, but that, for example, could be done within the ‘national’ framework with appointees per park.

I know that in my dealings with government that national-level politics are beyond the influence of the individual. For that you need a lobbying or interest group to affect change. But a local ward** councillor voted for directly- not always on party lines, which South Africa used to have has to listen very, very carefully to his constituency. Constituencies are small and word spreads easily. With the ward councillors appointing a mayor in a separate vote you have a mayor beholden to the interests of the local ward areas.

With localised politics the needs of a community can get quicker redress. With national politics you get a cohesive economic, transport and education policy to direct the country’s wealth and talent in a single(ish)*** direction. If you allow local tax collection (rates, etc) to go directly to local government you remove the national departmental drain on those funds as they filter back down. poorer areas would obviously benefit from more support from the national body than the wealthier.


*- well, what the hell.
**- voting geographic constituency of ‘x’-‘x+10%’ number of voters
***- this is politics, after all.

political posts all at http://midnightjester.newsvine.com


3 Responses to “Die, regional politics! Die!”

  1. are you saying that gloalization would be better replaced with comunism ruled by a sort of municipal goverment? if you wanta here more of my ramblings please mail me cause I need an outlet!

  2. one other comment when you should know I already believe your right (not sure if I spelled that proper šŸ™‚ ) but in the case of health and education since it is universal should be a joint effort seeing how two heads are better then one.

  3. I could write on this thing all day if I didn’t have to work lol

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