Home > Brexit, Brexit Manifesto, Restoring Democracy > Restoring Democracy Pt 3: Communities & locality first

Restoring Democracy Pt 3: Communities & locality first

Localism became a fashionable term during the Coalition years under David Cameron. Yet the Localism that we thought it was and the localism that it actually was are two very different things.

Like many of the miss-sold and misrepresented ideas about what serves the Public interest, such concepts are sold with sound bites cleverly constructed to give the impression that they will takes steps, if not leaps towards some form of natural justice. But they don’t.
For example, the creation of the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners and Metropolitan Mayoralties was presented to us as giving power back to local areas.
Yes, they give the appearance of having more money coming to benefit the areas. But this take on giving power back to us is a dubious representation at best. Worse still, instead of bringing power back in the direction of the People, it has instead focused it away from the lower levels of Government decision making – or rather those which are closer to us, and instead transferred it into the hands of one, rather than a number of Politicians.
Many People do not realise that there four different tiers of Government in this Country. (Five If you were to Count the European Parliament too)
They are from the lowest to the ‘top’, Parish & Town Councils, Borough & District Councils, County Councils (Unitary Authorities can include all of the responsibilities of the above) and Parliament or Central Government itself.
Like Westminster, Party Politics plays a significant role throughout these tiers of Government and we have the very same problems with Politicians at a local level as we do in London.
Far too many Local Politicians are motivated by self-interest, pursuing their own interests and furthering their own or particular causes.
In some ways, the injustice at work at local level can have an even more meaningful impact upon our lives. Because the decisions taken by bodies such as Planning and Licensing Committees can and do make changes to the environment that we experience every day around us.
When these local decisions are not taken in our best interests – as is all too often the case – the cost for all of us can be particularly high.
Federalism and the model of putting decision making in the hands of local people that the EU presents is even worse, rather than better. It gives the lie to this injustice even further.
Together, the real workings and methodology of Central and EU Government is to implement a set of rules that are so tight, the so-called decision making and democracy that tales place at a local level, is in fact no more than a tick-box exercise for the Officers and Politicians involved.
Removing the rot in Politics and getting good people into Political Roles where they will really fight our corner, will make an immediate difference to how decisions are made locally. It would make life much better for everyone involved.
But the real difference that could and should be made by good central Government – once we have removed the influence of the EU once and for all, is to genuinely give back decision making, influence and responsibility to us and put back as much of it as is possible, into the hands of Politicians and Representatives  at the most local level to hold.
There will always be policies and responsibilities that need to be accounted for at a higher and more appropriate level.
But that doesn’t mean that the Politicians at the top should be the only ones with real or meaningful control.
The reality is that today, the buck stops in London and in Brussels for far too many decisions. Laws are simply interpreted at local level – a process that leads to much misunderstanding and frustration for local People and locally minded Politicians that really don’t have the responsibility and influence on issues that are most pertinent to them – no matter what they are being told.
Getting decision making back to the point where it is as close to the People as possible is an essential part of giving us back a genuine feeling of community, re-enfranchisement and that we can have real and meaningful influence on the world around us.
A Good Government could begin giving us genuine localism by:
  •   Overseeing a clean, secure and permanent Exit from the EU .
  • Abolish the roles of so-called Metro-Mayors and transfer their powers back to more local control .
  • Abolish the roles of Police & Crime Commissioners, re-establishing the local Committee structure whilst taking measures to ensure that political influence is kept at the minimum and that Committee Members are drawn from outside privileged and insider networks.
  • Reverse all processes of centralisation within the Tiers of Government and/or restructure to ensure that decision making and influence is structured and administered in such a way that the emphasis is always upon the quality of service and experience of end-users – always ensuring that it is as accessible as possible, rather than simply being about money, the decision makers and the officers involved.
  •  Return final point of decision making to the level most near to the end user and only use frameworks as a guide unless there are very specific rules such as the minimum drinking age involved.
  • De-centralise powers that have been given to unelected and unaccountable bodies such as the Highways and Environment Agencies. Create more localised umbrella organisations where it is absolutely necessary to facilitate joined-up thinking, but above all ensure that no decision can be taken arbitrarily by any bureaucrat without local representation having genuine influence in the process and if necessary having a veto over changes to or that will affect local infrastructure or property.
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: