Posts Tagged ‘councils’

What are Labour councils for?

31/03/2011, 01:00:14 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Socialism, Herbert Morrison once helpfully summarised, is what the Labour party does. A partial assessment to be sure, but is there a more reliable compass for what Labour politicians in office should find themselves doing?

In a few short weeks, local authorities up and down the country will go red as voters give their verdict on 12 months of dismal Tory-Lib Dem cutbacks and recession. But what, when faced with reducing expenditure by a quarter, will Labour councils offer by way of a response?

Labour today launches its campaign for those elections with a blizzard of statistics and weblinks playing out the familiar annual ritual of showing that Labour councils are better value than Tory ones. The Tories will, naturally enough, produce rival spreadsheets next week showing the reverse. Plus ca change.

To accompany the usual political riffs, the party has also published a document entitled: Labour: Your voice in tough times. It suggests that: “…every Labour councillor you elect will be your community’s first line of defence against the damage being done by a Conservative-led government and its Liberal Democrat allies”. (more…)

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The Tories’ lust for cuts reveals itself in local government already, says Amanda Ramsay

07/06/2010, 02:16:47 PM

When David Cameron coined the phrase “Big Society”, no one really seemed to know what he meant. But take a look at new-style Tory Councils and see how the Prime Minister was sign-posting a well thought-out, ideological intention to take government back to laissez-faire, sink or swim politics, where the state sits back and does the very bare minimum.

It is at local government level that Cameron’s cuts will be fought out.  So expect to hear free-market buzz words like “outsourcing”, “privatisation”, “small government” and “consumer choice” as key parts of Cameron’s Conservative vision for municipal governance.

No wonder we’ve heard so much from John Redwood since the Conservatives formed their coalition with free-market zealots Nick Clegg and David Laws. (more…)

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“Who are you calling a loser?” asks Tim Cheetham

27/05/2010, 07:15:47 AM

Much less widely reported, amidst the twists and turns of the general election result, were the local election results of the same day. Holding the locals at the same time as the General can often have a big influence on the results. This can be a sore point to those of us in local government, as it indicates a lack of concern about what we do the rest of the time. Also because it leaves our fate disproportionately in the hands of our Parliamentary colleagues – and leadership – making their faults, faux pas and fighting a factor in our campaigns. This was underlined handsomely during the Euro elections last year (I’m looking at you, Hazel and James!).

What was most striking this time around was the contradictory trend at the polls. As Labour majorities fell and seats disappeared nationally, the opposite happened in local government. Labour gained control of 15 councils, almost doubling our total. Labour Councillors who have, for the last few years, been culled in their hundreds every May, found their numbers swelled by over 400 new recruits nationwide. (more…)

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