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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Simon Jenkins backs 'Leave'

The UK, goodness knows, can learn a great deal from other European nations. Not least of which is how local democracy can work in practice. Simon Jenkins wrote a seminal work about Localism in 2004, which, together with the outcome from Helena Kennedy's 'Power' enquiry, was reiterated in a 2009 book by Carswell and Hannan. All agree that local democracy in the UK is pants, the worst in Europe. 

Here the town hall is an attractive building the size of an English public library. All of the (few) staff are named, and known, and available at the end of a phone. If you're not happy, you call the B├╝rgermeister, who will pop round to see you. They provide water, sewerage, refuse, minor road maintenance and a host of local services and the minutae of state administration all for about €350 a year. For a Localist like me, it's heaven. 

Simon Jenkins has a pedigree not only as a writer and Localist, but from having run the National Trust, which has around 4.5 million paying members. All the main political parties in the UK together have a paid membership of fewer than 450,000, just 10% of the NT's members. And it's not even the members, but the establishment grandees of those parties that are so pro-European - a tiny minority. 

So when Jenkins devotes his Guardian column to recommending 'Leave' he does so from an excellent pedigree. He writes;
" If politics were about truth, Cameron would stun the nation tomorrow by backing no.......

The yes tribe is composed of the insiders, the metro-progressives, the established order averse to change. The no tribe consists of the outsiders, the provincials, the instinctive radicals. On the left this is a divide between the old-style statist socialism and the new left of perpetual dissent. On the right it separates the “natural party of government” and the professional class from the grassroots, the insecure and the dispossessed. Neither tribe is happy with the present EU, as it fails in its core purpose of holding together a disparate continent in the cause of liberal democracy."
Worth a read.


Anonymous said...

My comment is a bit personal in more than one way Raedwald...

Firstly, I have a longstanding health issue that means that instead of availing myself of the local bogs in one of my many daily emergencies, I now have to avail myself of the services of one of our local coffee corporates... Good job I don't go out at night. There was a massive petition to try to stop the local municipal corporation to leave the toilets open, but they closed them, every single set... Apparently they were much more useful boarded up, or used as the "friends of the park" meeting house.

Our local council has slowly closed down every public service, bogs, libraries, nursing facilities, they have replaced the effective sodium street-lights with relatively useless but cheap led street-lights...

Mind you they do a great line in diversity training, so that's good.

Secondly, a couple of years back, my son organised a dinner event, in an attempt to encourage local people to join or at least support UKIP... It was surprising how many of the 500 people did not realise that the NHS is a profoundly communist outfit that does not deliver, and has never delivered on its supposed purpose... Rather it has bred a whole nation of lefties, devoted to stringing us all along with that promise... All we need is another modernisation and even more nationalisation... blah blah.

Thirdly I would like to pay tribute to my old Dad, who died at 4:00 this morning. He was an early UKIP organiser. About a week ago, in one of his senile ramblings, he told me that he was very pleased to hear that the country had just voted to leave the EU, I did not realise the significance of that, and other things he was saying at the time... He obviously knew his time was up.

So I hope for all of us, that he was right.

He invariably was! :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way, I think I have written here in the comments of my belief in localism and direct democracy...

So if we should vote to leave, we will have a massive new challenge to wrest power from those that believe in nationalised everything.

Perhaps we should do what the Septics did in the 18th century... And point out in no uncertain terms that there WILL be NO taxation, without REPRESENTATION, and be prepared to stand our ground...

Even if the Merkins have forgotten their titanic effort, all those years ago.

Oldrightie said...

R_W, sorry about your Dad. He appears to have left a grand legacy in your good self. His last words may well be the prescient utterings of a good man.

Raedwald said...

RW - May I add my condolences. And let's hope the old boy was right.

meltemian said...

Commiserations R_W, we must do everything we can to make sure he was correct.

Anonymous said...

Condolences RW. Sounds like your old man was a little like mine. If you'd asked him about Cameron and his supposed 'negotiations' he would have replied 'he's full of the stuff that makes the grass grow green in Texas!' Which is a strange saying for a Glaswegian :-)

Ed P said...

Only EUR350 per year? How can they afford to translate all the public documents and notices into 27 languages? How many Diversity Officers can they afford?
I don't know how you can live in such a backward county!

Jeff Wood said...

Ed, I get an even cheaper deal here in Italy, though I am sure that the Comune get a sub from the Province. Helps keep my grumbles about national taxes to a low rumble.

Local democracy helps keep the EU nonsense at bay: we keep the rules we feel like keeping.

It helps that the Comune is only a few minutes away, and my main contact there is very easy on the eye.

RW, serious sympathy. My Dad is in his 90s, so I won't have him much longer. He is my personal hero (I have seen him perform) and he will be a loss.

Anonymous said...

..and Tim Montgomerie (Times) has cancelled his membership:

'Enough. I’m quitting the Conservative party'

Paywall, obviously, but the opening paragraph is enough to get the juices flowing:

'This charade over the EU is the final straw and it follows abject failure on immigration, deficit reduction and inequality'


Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your condolences...

He would have been 93 next month, end of an era.

Cuffleyburgers said...

@R-W - Can I add my condolences.

@Jeff Wood - in my part of Italy the local democracy is an expensive incompentent farce shot though with vanity and doubtless too corruption, certainly laziness.

They fall over themselves to implement EU directives, and there is no sense whtasoever that they consider themselves under local control.

The idea for example that they should be obliged to justify their spending in periodic public meetings would I am sure be met with mystification.

No no, maybe you are lucky wherever you are. Here it's a disaster. The roads are crap the rubbish collection oddly is good but expensive. And we periodically get phoned to say that log fires are banned because of airborne particulates. Useless bastards.

On a par I would say with blighty.

Luckily I didn't come here to enjoy the public "services" (which mostly consists of the public being royally "serviced" from behind)...

G. Tingey said...

A couple of corrections.
You know what's wrong with the NHS?
Appalling communications at the most basic level.
I've had various up-close-&-personal encounters with them recently (twice for me, twice for people close to me) & every damned time, if there's been a fuck-up it's because of no or poor communication.
And I mean right down at ward level.
Fix that & you would save millions.
Disagree re "communism" - its incompetence.

As for the EU ... well ...
I note NOBODY AT ALL is talking about the things that really matter.
Not even "immigration" really matters, compared to the numbers Germany, Italy, Greece are getting.
What makes me spit in rage & cower in fear simultaneously are:
No accounting for the money
Therefore the gross corruption
Also, therefore, the interference in local matter that is no concern of the EU
The lack of accountabilty & transparency
The deliberate slow abolition of Common Law
The vile tyrranical & autocratic "European Arrest Warrant" - contrary to the Bill of Rights.

Of course, excuse me, but Raedwald himself is in an EU country which is stuck with all this shit, same as us, but without even our slim chance of escape ....

Raedwald said...

Watch it Tingey ... I can always come back ;)

Anonymous said...


I remember when I lost my father,

I think back and realize how much sense he did speak and then muse, why I didn't listen just a bit harder? And dear God! how I miss his counsel and imparted calm wisdom and that, all those years, a 'Bodleain' well CambUL of learned accumulated knowledge, it just disappeared, gone in one last great sigh.
Two months before, he knew he was on his way out the ambulance duly came, frail and wan he insisted on walking out to meet it. Of what I don't know but in anticipation he took his fags to the hossy, he never touched them again, stiff upper lip and he died uncomplaining, as our lot do. Bless him dearly, I miss you Dad, I do.

Cherish the memories.

My sincerest condolences to you and your close kin on your very sad bereavement.

Anonymous said...


I have just spent over an hour writing a reply to Tingey, Mr. R, only to lose it at all at the point of publication...

Will I ever learn to copy before I fire? I doubt it.

Anyway, here is a much shorter reply...

Many thanks for putting me right Greg...! (sarc).

anon 2 said...

R-W hope you'll accept my condolences also.

Our greatest generation they were, and it has been our very great privilege to know them. So, as others indicate, we'll never forget them: we are ever grateful for the memories, and for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

r_w, "Will I ever learn to copy before I fire? I doubt it."

That's two of us then.

I was told of a way to resurrect posts (somehow) but I forgot to take note of and just where that particular thread was, I read too much and over too many blogs. And still, it probably is not possible on sites like this one (blogspot).

I have lost long replies - the same on disqus, when using the reply facility on comments, though most times erm usually I write the post first on my PC then copy and paste - you never lose it then!

G. Tingey said...

Yes, well.
I remember my uncle Frank, who (correctly) told the Army in 1915 that "I'm his younger brother - 1year younger" -perfectly true, but he was still under-age.
The older one survived from day 3 of the Somme to the end - not a scratch.
Frank emigrated to AUS, 1922, re-volunteered 1939 - served in mid-East, went back towards AUS for re-fit & ship put into Singapore, just before Jap arrived ....
He was listed as "missing in action" though the evil IJA had captured him on Sumatra in April '42.
He survived the Railway.
Yes, um.
My father was too old for fist draft in '39, & was then sent to go & make explosives, rather than fire them ( He was a professional Organic Chemist )
Some people reckoned they would rather be shot at ....