Sections of the UK civil service are to be privatised. Unions have raised concerns about the impact on staff pay and conditions. Such a move also raises serious questions about accountability to the public and democracy.
In the wake of the 2012 local elections and other recent developments, we can see that local democracy in England is in a perilous state. Voter apathy shows that. Simon Barrow looks at the issue in its wider context, and suggests that deep change is required that goes well beyond single-fix 'solutions'.
Personality politics, half-baked solutions and populist pretensions by tired political fixers are being used to disguise real, significant problems with local government, says Graeme Smith. He hopes that the shallow rhetoric of ‘people know best’ can suffer a similar fate to that of elected mayors, in favour of renewed democracy and a decent appreciation of expert knowledge in its proper place.