Thursday, 30 April 2009

Mayor and boroughs challenge Whitehall

In a move which I suspect will cause a small frisson of concern in Whitehall, the Mayor of London and borough leaders signed up yesterday to a 'charter' that committed them to devolving governance in London down to the lowest level at which it can be effectively exercised.

In the London City Charter, boroughs are asking for control over the appointment of Met police borough commanders, to control NHS budgets for Primary Care Trusts, to manage London bus routes in their boroughs, and return planning powers to local level.

OK, it may not make you run cheering into the street in your pyjamas, but it's a significant shift from Red Ken's soviet style centralism and offers real hope for further decentralisation. I suspect getting this far took some arm twisting by London Councils of the more recalcitrant borough leaders and there are plenty of leftish sops in the verbiage.

Meanwhile the Whitehall mandarins are offering Cameron's team the working Leviathan central State, hoping like good doggies that their new master will still let them sleep on the bed and continue their steak diet.

If Boris can force a working model of devolved responsibility through, if I were a civil servant working in the Government Office for London, the Thames Gateway, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Homes and Communities Agency and half a dozen other Whitehall-in-disguise quangos and agencies I'd start to be getting a little concerned. Proving that Whitehall is not needed and not wanted in London, and that Labour's corrupt and foul gerrymandering such as Blears offering party members in Erith and Thamesmead 'special' Olympic funding if they backed her horse has no place, will be a major achievement.

3 comments:

Elby the Beserk said...

Fuck London. What about the rest of us? Here in the South West we are tyrannised by a government that no-body voted for except in Bristol. No-one wants Labour's filthy ways, and they know it - which is why the South West is ignored for investment (all the south west councils bar Bristol are in the bottom fifth of the school capitation tables, and public transport is either conceptual or grotesquely expensive - £5.60 for a bus ride the 13 miles from Bath to Frome, I was charged yesterday).

Mass devolution is needed. Top down control freak government is a disaster, especially when executed by fucking moron knobheads like Brown and his thugs

Anonymous said...

A good start.

When do we get directly-elected local police chiefs?

John Page said...

I knew about Jowell. Blears too?

Don't many bus routes cross borough boundaries? Sounds like a recipe for endless liaison meetings.