LOCALISM: to what extent can policing, health and regeneration be devolved to neighbourhoods and families?
This is a bit of a silly section. Admirer as I am of David Boyle, it is clear that he wrote this chapter and appears to be having a conversation with himself. Happily however, this is one area where I appear to be relatively in tune with my partisan superiors.
The Centre for Um’s Free Think website is currently looking at this area, although traffic to it would appear to be stony dead. Go over there and have a look – I have been valiantly defending Sarah Teather’s good name and fearlessly mocking Prof Corrigan’s deluded fantasies.
The real question for me here though is not policy but strategy. The party has always been in favour of radical decentralisation to one extent or another, and yet it never appears to be a campaign issue for us. Read our “top ten reasons to vote Lib Dem” and not one – not one – is a commitment to devolve power (indeed, as the Tax Commission admits, the local income tax pledge commits us to make local government even more reliant on central funds!).
So instead of answers, I have questions that I’d like the working group itself to answer:
- How do we sell localism in a general election, rather than hide it in our manifesto?
- How can we resolve the paradox of fighting an election at a national platform whilst effectively prescribing localised solutions?
- Does our commitment to localism extend to making it a core part of our campaign strategy, even if the polls say it is not an issue that the public are particularly interested in?
If the working group cannot answer these three simple questions, then I would humbly suggest not spending any more time on the subject.