Posted tagged ‘ed miliband’

All politics is national

April 4, 2012

But not in Britain it ain't

The Americans have a saying that: ‘all politics is local’. By this they mean that unless a politician really understands what is going on locally they will ultimately be unsuccessful. In Britain, George Galloway apart, our politicians seem to have totally forgotten this maxim and follow the principle that all politics, not matter how local on the face of things, is national.

To be honest, nothing annoys me more than sitting down for my annual local government election Dimbleby all-nighter and being greeted with Nick Robinson explaining to his hapless voters that ‘whilst these elections are local elections, and we should remember that, it is a massive night for (insert name) as he seeks to demonstrate that his party should form the next Government.’

And it’s not just political journalists but politicians as well. Local elections have become, at least in the minds of those that operate nationally, simply a proxy in the ongoing war between the two and half main parties we have in the UK.

Every year I as the election period approaches, alongside trying to remember what Purdah means, I have a secret hope that our elected politicians will treat these local elections as what they are; local elections.

This year seems likely to provide me with yet another disappointment.

On Monday Ed Miliband launched the Labour campaign for the local government elections. Did he mention how Conservative or Liberal Democrat councils were not delivering good services or praise Labour councils for their innovation? Did he at least mention any of the big issues that affect local government?


The Local Government Chess Board

January 19, 2012

But where are the Knights?

‘Do you ever get the feeling that you’re just a pawn on a big chess board?’

So asked Sarah Norman during a discussion of public sector job losses and the attempts by the Government to move those jobs to the private sector; either by moving the service into the private sector or by losing public sector jobs and replacing them with a growing private sector.

However, the wider question Sarah asked is a profound one.

I think we expect our leaders to be something akin to chess players, making their small moves but always doing so with an overall plan and a view of exactly what is happening across the whole chess board.

So as we like to do with profound questions here is the We Love Local Government guide to how our leaders, and others in local government, play chess:

Eric Pickles: Mr Pickles is a chess player with just one strategy. He’s learnt it really well and is consistent and well drilled in its delivery. However, if people try to deviate from the ‘cuts’ strategy it can flummox him and make him make mistakes. However, those that underestimate him and dive straight him, not seeing the wider strategy, often end up with their king lying face down.