Author: Jonathan Carr-West

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Free Cricklewood

This is my favourite local government story for a long, long time. Cricklewood is making a bid for freedom with a campaign to move the area from the borough of Barnet to neighbouring Camden. Apparently the Save Cricklewood Campaign is petitioning the Boundary Commission to make this happen. Now, I know there’s a lot of…

England & Wales Blog Post

How Burnham got it wrong

Andy Burnham wrote a piece in yesterday’s Guardian in which he tries to make some political ground out of this week’s mini row over the NHS. Burnham sets out what he sees as clear dividing lines for the next election. “Our commitment to national standards and structures in health remains strong. We know that, without…

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Charter Cities

Economists have been getting a bad press recently. Anatole Kaletsky recently argued in Prospect magazine that the discipline needed an intellectual revolution if it was to become meaningful and even the Queen is reported to have asked on a visit to the LSE how they failed to predict the recession. Perhaps this is unfair; arguably…

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Mandelson v Osborne round 3

The annual August spat between George Osborne and Peter Mandelson is becoming quite the new summer tradition. This year’s has centred on whether the Conservatives are now, as Osborne claimed this week, the dominant progressive force in British politics or whether, as Mandelson rather waspishly retorted, they were simply indulging in political cross dressing. Unlike…

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Is Denham going centralist already?

Oh dear… less than three weeks after his appointment it seems the new Secretary of State for Communities is already slipping into the easy language of centralism. Commenting on the long awaited CLG place survey released today, John Denham said, “There is a challenge here for both local and central government. I want to see…

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More cafe and gauloises

Well not quite, but I did spend Tuesday in Lille as the guest of a futures workgroup on participative democracy hosted by the regional council of Nord pas de Calais. I was there to give an English perspective and some examples of how local government has tried implement participative democracy over here. In the end…

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Engaging citizens in economic recovery

At LGiU we believe that empowering local people leads to stronger democracy and more effective governance. Of course we’re not alone in this: empowerment is central to how all the major parties think about local democracy and forms a major part of the current public policy landscape. But as the economy struggles towards recovery and…

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Snoopers Charter reviewed

I see that Jacqui Smith has announced a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and that councils will face new restrictions in their use of these surveillance powers. I’d like to think that this is because the Home Secretary was blown away by the powerful arguments in my blog post on this…

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Government and public trust

The excellent Democratic Society Blog drew my attention to recently published Eurobarometer research on public trust in government. There’s loads of really (yes really) interesting stuff in it, but it also made me think about the limits of this sort of data. Just under half of people really trust local government (47%) – but it…

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Snoopers charter?

Lots in the news today about councils use of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), to police minor infringements such as dog fouling and littering. The government has promised further guidance and stressed that Ripa should only be used to deal with serious offences. Most of this discussion has focused on civil liberties, but I…

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