Vote for real local government

The local government elections are less than two weeks away. Voters will choose parties who will implement the European Charter of Local Self Government or parties who won’t. Successive Conservative and Labour governments have shown that they won’t. If you want local self-government, vote only for the party most likely to defeat both Labour and Conservatives. If your chosen party is not running a full slate, leave the rest of the ballot blank.

The European Charter of Local Self Government (which the UK  ratified in 1998) commits the government to allowing Local Authorities to share tax raising and spending, as in every other developed country and in Britain until the 1980s. The Conservatives abolished local tax-raising powers in response to an outbreak of local Marxism in Liverpool. They fought against the European Charter and refused to ratify it even though diluted for them (1). Blair ratified it but made no move to implement it. The Council of Europe, monitoring implementation, walks on eggshells when chiding the UK government for failing to abide by the Charter (2).

Why will voting against Labour and Conservatives advance the cause of local self government? Because increasingly those two parties use local government as a training ground to test the loyalty of their party cadres (3). Depriving them of that will decrease Labour/Conservative hegemony and lead to proportional representation. Both Labour and the Conservatives are in agreement with Karl Marx that a totally centralised government is needed, either to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat or to prevent it.

The obsessive Conservative reductions in Local Authority spending will implode when the scandal of privatised for-profit tax gathering from new-build home buyers leads to compensation claims against the government. Read my submission to the government’s consultation on Developer Contributions, dated 14 April, on the website of the Homeowners Rights Network. You will be amazed at what we have uncovered.

To understand what real Local Government accomplished before the Conservatives and Labour suppressed it read my article in Freedom, the journal of anarchist thought.

The election results of each London borough in 2014 which can be downloaded from the column on the left of this page show which of the wards are considered ‘safe seats’ by Labour and Conservatives. These are the more lightly-shaded ones. The two major parties are less likely to campaign strongly there, and so are vulnerable. The data also includes other fields not normally shown: the turnout (generally lower when the ward is boringly ‘safe’) and the number of candidates put forward by minor parties for the three (occasionally fewer) seats available. The latter information is useful for comparing vote shares, which increase in proportion to the number of candidates.

(1) Bogdanor, V., The New British Constitution, p. 236
(2) See and UK monitoring report
(3) Bogdanor, op. cit. p. 240

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