This truly takes the biscuit:
The core issue of significance today is the draft legislation that will enable communities to call a binding referendum if a local authority wants to increase council tax by more than the cap set by the communities secretary. As the FT notes:
Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, will outline initiatives that will, he said, attempt to “end the era of big government”.
No, this is about bringing the era of democratic government to an end. The neoliberal right wing frequently argue that democracy is dangerous – because it allows a majority to set tax rates and they claim this is prejudicial to the minority who pay most tax. And here is Pickles bringing this idea into the UK – saying that if a small minority do not like a tax increase proposed by a democratically elected local authority they can oppose it. The imp0lication is all too obvious. Democracy is not to be trusted, this says. And the right to veto the democratic wish of the majority has to be granted to those who might pay more than average tax as a result – with, no doubt, a minority being granted the right to veto.
Allowing the citizenry to call for a referendum is not a veto: it\’s an ability for the citizenry to call for a rethink.
Note that the veto only comes if the citizenry actually vote, in such a referendum, to veto the tax proposal.
Now as far as I\’m concerned this is pretty much \”meh\”. And I would also note that average turnout (when not coincding with a general election) for council elections is in the 20-30% range. So it\’s difficult to say that the majority are going to get trampled on here.
But look at what he\’s really saying. It\’s really rather Leninist (and hugely reminiscent of Trot tactics in student politics). Once you\’ve voted the peeps in that\’s it, you do whatever they say.
Whereas in realty, moving to a system of more referenda is simply a move from a form of representative democracy to a more direct form of democracy.
I suspect though that the reason he\’s screaming is because there are those one party fiefdoms whre the elections never change anything: but referenda might. Very conservative is our Dickie in oh so many ways.