Duty to involve, meh

Involve ask, “should the duty to involve be repealed?” it’s a tricky question, and a few people have chipped in with thoughts in the comments. Here’s what I want: local government that opens up to people not grudgingly, but willingly; a political landscape where politicians engage in conversations with the public as much as name-calling […]

Brighton, Hove and First Past the Post

We were following the elections in our home city of Brighton over on our new Twitter account @DemsocBTN, which we’ll be using for our local activities alongside the main @Demsoc feed. As you might have read in the papers, the Green Party won the most seats, and are likely to form a minority cabinet. The […]

Sustainable community flannel

Here’s an extract from a local authority’s community strategy that I’m reading. I’ve changed the name of the place, but haven’t made any other changes. [Our vision is that] Borchester will be a dynamic and lively district, there will be global recognition of its growing and diverse economy, which provides excellent opportunities for local people. […]

Pickles Unreasonableness

Here’s a strange pronouncement from Eric Pickles, reported in the Guardian: In what was seen as a marked change of stance, the minister [Pickles] said he was willing to block [voluntary sector] cuts that did not meet a test of reasonableness by inserting provision in the localism bill, currently going through parliament. It’s no surprise by […]

Creating democratic, scalable innovation

Skunkworks image on a Lockheed Martin hangar. Image via Wikipedia There has been a big response to Dave Briggs’s blogpost, Is there a need for a local government skunkworks?, some of which Dave summarises here. Dave’s point goes beyond the traditional technology-prototyping skunkworks, familiar from companies like Lockheed Martin, and I think he is really asking […]

Spaghetti law & the Localism Bill

The Localism Bill yesterday. Image via Wikipedia The Hansard Society are holding an event this evening launching a new report called Making Better Law (tag on Twitter is #betterlaw). The report appears to make sensible recommendations about the process of law-making within Parliament, including pre-legislative scrutiny and the procedure for Government amendments. One area it […]

Where are the real regions?

Image via Wikipedia Interesting idea, this mapping exercise from MIT, showing the connexions between phone calls around Britain. Limited by the fact that only geographical landline numbers are covered, of course. For comparison, here’s an more economics-focused analysis of the real regional boundaries in the UK, commissioned a couple of years ago by the LGA. Related […]

Local government politics: it’s a small world, after all

Turns out the Conservative local government heartland is not Surrey or Buckinghamshire but …

… Bradford, rather surprisingly.

This may be completely old news to everyone, but while I knew that Eric Pickles (Conservative Local Government Secretary) used to be leader of Bradford council in the 80s, I hadn’t realised that Baroness (Margaret) Eaton, the Conservative chair of the Local Government Association, was and is a Bradford councillor and was an associate of Mr Pickles during his time on the council.