Friday, September 11, 2009
Labour Surrendering Policy Initiative on 'Localism' to Tories
I have long supported such a move and believed that government should be much more local than it is with a much bigger proportion of funding for services raised locally. Simon Jenkins has also banged this drum and today invokes the localism of Scandinavia where so many services were devolved in the 1980s to the local level with great success:
'Denmark's localised health service is amoung the most popular in Europe.'
Jenkins points out that instead of moving towards localism our systems, even the devolved Celtic fringe ones, have been accruing more power to the centre and accelerating the decline of trust.
Labour used to be the party which colonised urban local government last century but now it stands bereft of power locally and seems set to repeat the trick centrally as well. It's depressing to see the Tories move in to suggest radical new ideas in an area which properly Labour should be addressing.
The tory localism is about putting the powers to reduce massively local government spending and services at legal arms' length.
I've written on this at some length at http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2009/09/04/a-dismal-prospect-for-local-government-the-local-the-logic-the-legal-the-left/ and spoken to the New Local Government Network about it. I imagine Gerry Stoker is currently weighing up the best way to manage a massive u-turn there (they supported it initially) while retaining what's left of his reputation for integrity in matters of local government.
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