Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Meanwhile, Back in Scarborough

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Meanwhile, Back in Scarborough

Article excerpt

It is a long way from saxophone nights in the White House to the Labour Party local government conference in Scarborough. But if the global riffs of Blintonomics cannot be understood in Britain's town and county halls, it will be a case of No Way rather than a Third Way for the progressive politics represented by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. The Prime Minister is due to address the Scarborough conference this weekend.

Before the election Blair said: "The future must lie in the centre allowing localities to have more power, to encourage new initiatives . . . and for localities in turn to understand that they have to use power with prudence and responsibility."

In his Scarborough speech he is expected to develop his ideas on how councils can be made more accountable, through more frequent elections and possibly even referendums on counciltax increases. Efforts will be made to increase the turnout at local elections by changing the day of local polls and placing ballot boxes in popular spots, such as supermarkets. Ministers are also keen to change the role of councillors, as well as the councils. Too much time, they feel, is spent in endless council committees. The current committee system should be revised, making less demand on the time of councillors. As at Westminster, committees should scrutinise policy, rather than make it. Council leaders could be paid a full-time salary. And in rerum for greater accountability and improved performance, the last government's rigid controls on spending will be eased but not replaced.

These moves will disappoint those who favour an urgent return to full tax-and-spend autonomy in local government, for which there is, in principle, a highly attractive case. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.