Apart from electing 646 MPs - approximately one for every 70,000 voters - we elect some 23,000 local councillors. Unfortunately, they have about as much power as a dead Duracell on Christmas Day. Not only have councillors been neutered by the central State, but councils themselves are too big to be meaningful to many people. France has an elected local administration for every 1,500 electors - even the tiniest hamlet with three cottages and a dunghill has its Mayor - but 120,000 Britons are needed to get a government unit in its lowest form.
And those 23,000 elected councillors are dwarfed by 60,000 unelected people serving on 5,200 quangos. Yes, 60,000 people we've never had a choice in appointing, who serve on bodies exercising real power in the health service, policing, housing, prisons, training and economic development. Even your supposedly elected council must have its overall policy agreed by an unelected 'local strategic partnership' dictated by Whitehall.
In addition to those 60,000, there are a further 345,000 unelected school governors who have dismally failed to govern our state schools and 31,000 Whitehall appointees to central quangos.
What price democracy? Our elected representatives are powerless, whilst the central State's insidious agenda is advanced through thousands of unelected placemen. Make no mistake, this is the agenda of the metropolitan political class and a civil service out of control. The balance between central and local has been lost, and every one of us is poorer as a result.
Simon Jenkins points out that a third of the income of the 'big seven' comes from public sector work; in many ways they are the State's occupying troops. Where once the keep of the King's castle rose above Derby or Sheffield or Norwich as reminder of State power, now the steel and glass regional offices of PriceWaterhouseCooper perform the same function. And the most entrenched, the most negative, the most destructive, the most incompetent and the most antidemocratic of all the Whitehall departments is the Treasury, its malign effects magnified and multiplied by Brown's tenure.
Unless Cameron tackles the Treasury, he has no hope of making inroads into the quangos. He is concentrating on the 31,000 strong central quangos; maybe he will trim 3,000 unelected officials. In the meanwhile the Treasury will have created a further 2,500. The 60,000 local quangocrats will remain untouched.
School governors must govern schools, not Whitehall civil servants, and for this we must elect them. Local Watch Committees must manage local police forces, not the Home Secretary, and they must be voted into office. Who sits on the board of your primary health trust? Who governs your local hospital? You have no idea - but Whitehall does. Forget abolishing the Potato Marketing Board, David, and concentrate on how you can return power to the urban community, municipality and parish.