Sunday, 20 November 2016

Brexit: and devolution: "suppressing democracy and imposing control by unelected elites"

Following the referendum vote, there should be all sorts of opportunities for realigning local government:
Futures Forum: Brexit: and local government
Futures Forum: Brexit: and devolution: "Devolution is a great opportunity after years of oppressive centralisation"
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the art of 'subsidiarity': or how to devolve power

Indeed, there is almost an obligation to listen to 'the revolt against the elites':
Futures Forum: Brexit: and looking beyond revolt: "If we’ve learned one thing in the last week, it is that communities – not Westminster - must agree what works for them."
Futures Forum: Brexit: and democracy: "Ordinary voters never took much interest. Perhaps they didn’t care whether they were ruled by a faraway elite in Brussels or ditto in Westminster."

There are possible directions to go:
Futures Forum: Brexit: ProgrExit and the Transition Town movement
Futures Forum: Brexit: and the case for more horizontal, collaborative and diverse networks

But we don't seem to be going int those directions.

The East Devon Watch blog reflects on a piece from a year ago:


19 NOV 2016

In an article on the London School of Economics website by Bob Hudson, a Professor in the Centre for Public Policy and Health, University of Durham, he argues that the current process has four major deficits and goes into detail about each one. The four are:

Democratic Deficit
Constitutional Deficit
Financial Deficit
Strategic Deficit
The four deficits of the English devolution process | British Politics and Policy at LSE

An interesting comment on the article from Malcolm Bell reads:

“The whole trend in contemporary government is to suppress democracy and impose control by unelected elites. The principle is established in the EU where the commission trumps the elected Parliament. Devolution to the regions is intended to develop this theme. The British government is rapidly changing to decision-making in the increasingly remote “executive” as the House loses control. It used to be said that we had an elected dictatorship, that is rapidly being replaced by an unelected dictatorship of the elite. Accountability is almost entirely a thing of the past, this is not accidental but deliberate policy.”

So much for sovereignty of Parliament!

English devolution: 4 deficits and “unelected dictatorship” | East Devon Watch

And the litany of the executive directing this realignment is long...

A new grouping met up last month to challenge this:
Futures Forum: Devon United: 'doing democracy differently' >>> >>> inaugural meeting: Tuesday 4th October
Devon United - Doing Democracy Differently | Facebook

With a report here:
Devolution: centrally-driven, centrally led, locally worthless | East Devon Watch

The EDW blog asked earlier this month:


8 NOV 2016

Owl has lost count of the number of tiers and organisations and partnerships currently interfering in so-called “local” government, see:
Unitary councils “save money” … yet a few years ago – they didn’t!

Which leads to the question: just how many tiers of government do we NEED and how many can we AFFORD? And how many is too many?

For example, the savings by eliminating district councils, regional super-authorities and makeshift arrangements such as Greater Exeter would almost certainly be huge. You could still have flexible cooperative arrangements such as Strata, without having all the paraphernalia and bureaucracy.

Anyone campaigning for the County Council who includes on their platform local government reorganisation, with County and Parish Councils as the only tiers of local government might well be very popular. It would be possible to combine such a package with maximum localism/subsidiarity. For example, if the District Council was dissolved, all its responsibilities, where practicable, could be transferred to the lower tier councils for truly local management.

Removing two or three tiers of government would almost certainly produce enough savings to eliminate local NHS cuts and debts at a stroke. “Save the NHS by cutting local government bureaucracy” would be a heck of a slogan!

And the elimination of all that bureaucracy and repetitive form-filling and buck-passing could bring enormous efficiency savings and productivity.

In East Devon we would probably be immediately £15-20 million better off just with the cancellation of the new HQ at Honiton.

Whilst many staff would be transferred to town councils to continue to do the jobs that they presently perform, there would probably be a loss over time through natural wastage of perhaps 100 to 200 jobs, representing a cost saving of £3-5 million per annum. Plus reduced operational running costs of around £2 million.

This means a cash windfall of about £300-400 per household to everyone in the District, and average council tax bills would be about £130 lower.

But the big benefit would be in greater efficiency and local connectivity. A huge democratic boost.


Meanwhile, there is the question of mayors - not that there is any question apparently:
Javid reiterates: no super-Mayor, no devolution | East Devon Watch

But how many in the 'executive' consider the whole shebang rather pointless anyway?
“Devolution is doomed, says Layfield inquiry member” | East Devon Watch

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