Thursday, 10 March 2011

Why do politicians fear de-centralisation?

The increased powers of the Welsh Assembly should be welcomed by the national government as a further step towards a much more progressive society where decisions are made closer to the places where the effects are felt. The traditional Downing Street reaction of a polite welcoming but several comments from senior insiders regarding the break up of Great Britain, was to be expected.
I would ask those in Downing Street and Westminster to think why people have requested the powers and why they want to do things differently.
I heard one commentator say 'We used to rule the world - now we don't even rule our own island'. He was disappointed with the fact that people did not want to be controlled by London because he felt they did an amazing job.  That is the problem!  London thinks it is doing an amazing job - very few others do.

Our government has lost touch with the people it serves and lacks the moral and emotional authority to make decisions on their behalf. We, as a society, have given up on influencing those that make decisions as history has demonstrated it to be a pointless task. Decisions are made by people who most people will never meet, see or listen to and there is no connection between the two.

It is only by bringing decision making closer to the point of impact, will we start to re-engage people in the democratic process. More power and control of money should be given away by central government back to local governments who are closer to the effects of decisions.
Does central government really care if social housing is managed correctly, or if rural roads are maintained, or if local youth groups have decent facilities to meet in?  No - they don't. They will only ever meet a few success stories once every five years during an election and then only if their seat is in a marginal.  They don't have to deal with these problems on a week to week basis, local councils deal with them on a daily basis and are in a much better position to create effective solutions for them.

The fact is that there will be a solution that works in central London, a different solution for the north of Scotland and a different one again for mid Wales. The 'single solution' generated by London, will work for some, will do ok for others and will be a waste of time for the rest. A better solution is for central government to become smaller, Income tax goes to local government with National Insurance going to national government to pay for genuine national services. When I try to think of a service that cannot be managed and paid for locally, I start to struggle, with the exception of the armed forces.

The over all effect of this change would mean that National  Government would become less relevant and smaller, with Local Government and services becoming more important. The biggest barrier to making this change happen, is the vanity of the politicians, who would ultimately cease to exist. This is why politicians do not like de-centralisation and why we, the people, should push for it at every opportunity.

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