There’s a hackneyed phrase from the Bible that says ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do.’ I think this applies in the current government crisis, where everybody is shrieking for change, not only in Westminster, but in the EU and Local Government, yet they have not got an idea of the cost in disruption, financially and in many other ways, even if they seem to have knowledge of what they really want. Across the world there are so many different types of government from dictatorships to our four-tier system, if you include the Queen, which indicates the variety of ways it can be viewed. I have worked for a consultancy, been a consultant, a contractor, been a civil servant in Local Government, the Northern Ireland Government, the Imperial Civil Service, been self employed and unemployed, and a serviceman. In all these experiences I have found that the detachment of central government is the most serious problem to the function of the country. One of the problems is that a proportion of those in control at the higher levels and in Parliament is more concerned with their own advancement than they are in the general welfare of the public, and so detached that there is little communication with the grass roots. So it is essential that if there are any changes these points should be taken into account. So let’s do so.
If you take the analogy of a ship, there is a captain in total control, and a series of departments interacting, but with their own responsibilities. This is a system that works from the time the ship leaves port, until it reaches its destination, and it has worked for thousands of years. Local government is rather like a ship, it is virtually autonomous if it is not subjected to government checks and balances at every turn. If things go wrong the local people are the only ones who suffer, not the whole country, and the remedy is in their own hands. Once Central Government imposes its influence, this introduces another time factor, another set of checks and balances that have already been dealt with, in other words, apart from the financial side, it is a total duplication. If the taxes are local, sensibly drawn up and applied, then central government has a smaller input on how the money is spent and from whence it comes. The government always has the right to take the council to task if it misbehaves, but it seems there is no one to take the government to task because it is so remote from the man in the street. This is not so with Local Government.
If we’re going to change things then let us go back to the good old days, when we knew our councillors, knew that of few of them were not too trustworthily, so we were alert, we were consulted and we consulted in our turn. I believe that this is the cheapest, most effective, and easiest way of changing our governing system, for the sake of the man in the street, not those who control him. If you have councils up and down the country, properly run, and fulfilling all the requirements of the local people, then the burden on central government is cut down to size, and a requirement that 600 plus MPs would no longer pertain, not to mention the burgeoning civil service, and the spin doctors. Government is there, like the captain of the ship who supervises, coordinates and deals with problems without the ship, and if the system is applied to government as a whole, it will be more efficient more easily vetted and more economical.