On the meaning of localism


Clegg\’s announcement, ironically, came shortly after local government secretary Eric Pickles made clear that, after two years of a council tax freeze in England, he will intervene if authorities approve rises above 3.5% next year. Using new legislation, he will order local referendums to get approval from electors for any increase above this level. Localism? Forget it.

Is there some trange version of lefty land where asking the locals is not localism?

8 thoughts on “On the meaning of localism”

  1. Nope. All versions of “lefty land” are sufficiently strange for this sort of thing to be entirely normative.

  2. The problem is, Comrade Pickles is insisting on asking the locals a question on a subject where the proletariat isn’t to be trusted to answer correctly.

  3. I see his point, that central government is interfering with a decision taken at a local level. I have some sympathy – if people don’t want to pay more council tax, they shouldn’t vote in socialist councils.

  4. if people don’t want to pay more council tax, they shouldn’t vote in socialist councils.

    The problem here is that no matter who you vote for (left, centre or centre-left – there is no right), they are bound by the laws and regulations covering Local Authority activities.

    Since these laws and regulations are essentially socialist (certainly redistributive) in nature, you always get socialism even if you’re council is completely Tory.

    The only way that they can do stuff is at the margins (such as with Westminsters late night and Sunday parking charges), with stuff with is not explicitly regulated by law.

    If you want localism then you have to set local councils free to do whatever needs to be done within their constituency. This also means that fundraising needs to be done in the local constituency.

    Vast swathes of the country’s local councils would become bankrupt within a matter of months.

    However, maybe this would be a good thing as from the ruins you could build a real localized democracy, but I doubt our political elites in Westminster would like that very much as there is no such thing as devolution of political power, only dilution.

  5. I hope his legal powers extend to determining the question to be asked in the referenda.

    Otherwise it’s going to be something like:

    Do you want (a) adorable muppets to go hungry and your granny’s carer to get the sack or (b) those rich bastards to pay a bit more?

  6. @ John Galt
    Lots of lefty regulations tie them hand and foot but paying incompetent divisional directors (No, I don’t mean CEOs) more than the Prime Minister is not one of them. So they do have the option to sack penpushers and keep the real workers who are, in many cases, seriously underpaid while the overpayment of managers raises the average level of public sector pay above that in the private sector.

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