Double or quits

It’s been a long day, and it was damn cold in the office (10 degrees for goodness sake! with the heating on full), but I wanted to set down my first reaction to Millibands ‘double devolution’.

As far as I can see, it consists essentially of cutting out local democratic control of spending, services, resources, in favour of a direct relationship between central government and local ‘volunteers’ and activists, who will, no doubt, be selected by the government (who else will do the selecting anyway?).

This is neither democratic nor decentralising. Indeed it amount to a further increase in central control and a further reduction in democracy and accountability. As a consequence I now look at the proposed school reforms in a new light. Rather than schools being merely removed from the ‘shackles’ of LEA control, they will instead be controlled directly from DfES (there’s a phrase about pipers and playlists that springs to mind). And no individual school will be in a position to stand up to the dictats of the minister of the month. Freedom is slavery, eh?

The contest for ages has been to rescue liberty from the grasp of executive power.
Daniel Webster

2 Responses to “Double or quits”

  1. Jonah Says:

    Miliband’s comments aren’t exactly a new departure; but I think that you’re right to point to to the fact that it will be the state that will select the groups with which it works; as indeed it already does at local and regional level. It follows Alan Milburn’s piece in the Guardian a couple of days ago, and it’s something that I’ve written about on my blog :D

  2. Pete Says:

    I think the problem may be that essentially they just make this stuff up as they go along. Nothing is ever really thought through, and because they seem to lack any real ideological or moral underpinning, it is utterly directionless.

    The Milburn state would only be small in terms of direct employment of service providers – there would still be a vast army of overseers and enforcers – and no democratic accountability at all.

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