Saturday, 22 January 2011

Political Class panics at Localism Lite reforms

Cameron's Localism Lite, the mildest and most minimally-radical reforming of the grip of the Central State that one can imagine, with no financial devolution, no new democratic structures and no meaningful devolution of power, is nonetheless causing panic amongst the Political Class. Central Statism is so engrained in the civil service, the structure at the heart of the State, that the least erosion of central command and control sends them into a spin. If you're a Central Statist, it's a matter of doctrine that;

  • The government is responsible for everything that anyone does
  • Parliament's primary function is to scrutinise government, and
  • Named ministers must be accountable for anything that happens in their area of responsibility. 

So, in the case of dogs biting postmen, the Central Statist believes that this is a failure of good government, a possible cause for ministerial resignation, and reveals insufficient regulation and enforcement from the centre. 

On the other hand, many of us believe the government ought solely to concern itself with matters of governance that can only be handled on a national scale; defence, treaties and international trade agreements, air traffic control, a system of civil law and the like. Dogs biting postmen is so faint a blip on the national radar that government shouldn't even have cognisance of it. The manager of the local delivery office and the local bench of magistrates are more than adequately capable of dealing with such eventualities. Not a single second of parliamentary or civil service time should be wasted on oral or written questions on the incidence of postman-biting by domestic dogs, the number of days sickness absence by postmen in each of the last three years as a result of dog bites or the number of dogs put down after biting postmen for the same period. Yet such nonsense is the bread and meat of the Central State - and it's the erosion of this pettiest of micro-managing that the Political Class fears. 

So Gus O'Donnell, High Priest of the church of the Central State, has been panicked into holding an enquiry into the impact of the Localism Bill on parliament's ability to concern itself with trivial issues, badged pompously and hubristically as "an erosion of parliamentary democracy", spurred on by Margaret Hoxha, Labour's doyenne of petty State regulation. 

If Cameron can't scotch even this minor impediment to true democracy, throw away your hopes for any meaningful reform. It's looking like only a sharpened hatchet will free the grip of the fingers of the Central State from our lives. 


Jeremy Hartley said...

It's those Bilderburgers again. Using Greenpeace activists and Marxists.

English Pensioner said...

No politician ever will relinquish control short of a revolution. Last week we were told of the government's plans to de-centralise responsibility from NHS Trusts to local GPs, this week we are told that they are going to remove the responsibility for ordering Flu vaccine from the GPs as they'd made a mess of the situation by not ordering enough.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that localism in Britain is dead. Localism took ill under the Thatcher government when she said that "there is no such thing as society". This doctrine was siezed upon by Labour as it built up its leviathan state and assassinated localisms many friends uncluding post offices, pubs, village schools, libraries and other meeting places. Then after a few years in terminal decline, localism died. What you can smell is the rotting corpse because there's no money left to bury it.

If you want to know how localism's twin brother is doing, I can report that he's hale and hearty and living in France where he thrives; and has found the elixir of life, donated freely to him by the good people of all the small towns, villages and communes. And God help any French politicians who tries to administer the same British poison over there!

Coney Island

Mac the Knife said...

"...spurred on by Margaret Hoxha, Labour's doyenne of petty State regulation. "

Hoxha? Any relation to the late, unlamented Enver perchance?

malpas said...

I wo0uld like to speak on behalf of postmen - in my distant youth I was bitten by a dog whilst weighed down with 40 pounds of Xmas mail. You cannot dodge about like that.
It hurts and the dog just smirked.
If the state doesn't do something you might not get your christmas card so there.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Does Cameron actually want to bring about any meaningful reform of anything?

Is he not, at heart, just another Central Statist himself?

formertory said...

..."Margaret Hoxha"...

Oh, nice one, effendi. I did enjoy that - best laugh of the day so far.

Anonymous said...

In the late 60's I was a temporary postman, over the Christmas holidays, when I was at University in South Africa. I was once attacked by a large dog (well, it ran at me, teeth bared and growling ferociously). I shot it with my 9mm Beretta semi-auto pistol, both rounds from the double-tap in the head.
I reported this to my supervisor on my return to the distribution centre. He congratulated me and removed that address from the "Danger" list!!