Posted by: John | May 12, 2008

Putting flesh on Cicero’s bones

Excellent posting – also reminded me that the Tories are stealing some of this ground.

Devolution is the magic bullet that could provide a TINA moment for our supporters and those that might vote for us.

We have the policy or at least an aim of raising 75% of public money locally; it’s whether or not we can say the unsayable and show how this could happen.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Ensure central government has discrete roles – ie Foreign Policy, International Trade etc

2. Review Barnett and simply hand the requisite amount `lock,stock and barrel` to Local Govt

3. Mandate independent assessors to do a yearly check on each Council – looking at spread of resources across a local authority area, efficiency in spending money etc etc – then allow local electors to decide what they think of those evaluations. Let the press etc name and shame those that don’t stand by their most deprived citizens.

4. Strike out the law that allows directly-elected mayors without cabinets – reason: halt any trend towards mini-dictators

5. Get rid of at least 150 MPs and transfer that money/power to Councils

6. Beef up local authorities and create more city regions

7.  Make it law that PR is used in all local elections

8.  Turn Parliament into a tourist attraction – British citizens could get in free

9.  Move the Parliament to the Midlands or North

These ideas might be beyond the pale to some people –  if we don’t expound at least some of them though it’ll only be time before the Tories do – then we’ll be battered.

No-one that isn’t already Labour wants to carry on with this mildly-Stalinist central command type of relationship with local authorities – my worry is that, as with economic competence, the Tories just have to say nice words as a refreshing contrast to those looking for a new home.

Take for example the following words from a Labour election leaflet in May in our target ward (that was won from Labour): `The Multi Games Area on Lancashire Hill was the brainchild of the Lancashire Hill Tenants Association. It was nothing to do with the Council. It was the LHTA group who consulted with the youth and then found ways of funding it through government initiative.`

Has your jaw dropped? First, the idea that Lancashire Hill (which is an area of multiple-deprivation) wouldn’t be on the Liberal Democrat Council’s radar for extra games areas is a complete nonsense – since that very area was chosen for neighbourhood renewal scheme a couple of years back. Second, what business is it of the government where a council puts a muga! It’s time for the government to stop controlling money for local projects in its psychotic way and just give the money to local councils to do with as they wish.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog about the creepy relationship the Labour party wants to have with local people – in effect cutting out local politicians. It’s all about power and control.

Gordon Brown et al – you’re not winning, you don’t look funny, get yourself off our backs!


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