An Unnecessary Role

embracing false choices

Local democracy should be the Labour Party’s big idea

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Earlier this week, a rallying call for localism sounded from two unlikely sources. First, exhumed from the ‘Draft folder’, was the leader-that-never-was David Miliband’s victory speech-that-never-was in the Guardian. While inevitably attention focussed on his approach to the deficit as distinct from the current leadership, the speech made a clear, unambiguous localist statement:

“The government talk about localism. Without local government. We should be the people standing for more devolution of power for local government and come our next manifesto, we will.”

Meanwhile, the leaked Balls memos sketched Gordon Brown’s vision for local government focussed on the needs of families and children:

“The Local Government Revolution: solving problem requires local government that changes to be on childrens side. Not soft option – just spending more on children, paying teachers more, giving LAs new powers.”

It’s debatable how many local authorities would have relished yet another ‘revolution’ in children’s services, and Gordon Brown may not have been a natural localist, but there’s no doubt that both he and Miliband major viewed local government as a way of delivering social democratic aims. We do not yet really know how Ed think about local government and we do not really know how he would seek to answer the question that Sarah Hayward posed last week at ProgLoc – what is ‘Labour’ localism?

My new post at ProgLoc attempts to show how the Labour Party can benefit from exposing the plight of local government under the current government and proposes some possible solutions. As government bypasses local democratic institutions, fragments local public services and assails the reputation of local authorities, Labour can act right now to reinvigorate local politics, and pledge that a Labour government would secure for local government the independence and the power to re-integrate health, schools and welfare under a strategic, accountable and democratic authority.

Bookmark the site, if you don’t already.


Written by samelliot

June 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Posted in Labour, Localism

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