Posted tagged ‘mitt romney’

That was the local government week that was

March 30, 2012

New week; same rubbish picture

Another week and another big Government announcement that will have a large impact on local government. Thus, where the budget led last week the National Planning Policy Framework followed this week. As always on these big days we are indebted to the Guardian Local Government Network for keeping us appraised of what is going on. This summary of responses from key stakeholders was a useful quick catch up. As this comment from the Chief Executive of the National Trust demonstrates it also showed that the response was actually fairly positive:

There are a number of important changes that have been made to the draft, responding to concerns that we and others raised. All these changes improve the document and give it a better tone and balance.

Now the serious business of planning begins. The country needs huge effort at a local level to get plans in place that properly reflect the integration of social, economic and environmental goals, and protect places people value.

However, if like us planning is not your thing this wordle from @gaillyk summed it all up very quickly:

Whilst talking about local development this story from the USA tickled me. Yes, we have some lobbying of local authorities over planning issues but US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a lobbyist dedicated to helping him build his house. As Politico report:

At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator. There’s also a planned outdoor shower and a 3,600-square foot basement — a room with more floor space than the existing home’s entire living quarters. Those are just some of the amenities planned for the massive renovation of the Romneys’ home in the tony La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, according to plans on file with the city. A project this ambitious comes with another feature you don’t always find with the typical fixer-upper: its own lobbyist, hired by Romney to push the plan through the approval process.

No matter what happens with our more localised planning system please don’t ever let us learn that lesson from our American cousins.

Thanks to @williamoulton for alerting us of the impending end of the executive and scrutiny function and the replacement of it with good old fashioned committees. As the Local Government lawyer reports:


Councils are people too

March 1, 2012

Look at the size of my hand

Mitt Romney, a Republican candidate to become the next president of the United States has said, infamously, that ‘corporations are people too’ (a statement that has been magically lampooned in this campaign video).

If Mr Romney was British I wonder if he would also believe that ‘local authorities are people too’ and if so whether these “local authority people” would bear any resemblance to any other people we know?

On such a loose premise we present:

Birmingham Council as Sir Alex Ferguson

There are many councils but there is only one Birmingham Council and there are many managers but only one Sir Alex Ferguson. Striding like a giant amongst other local authorities Birmingham has a bigger budget than the European commission and a wider remit than almost any other local authority. Likewise, whereas Sir Alex Ferguson is just a football manager he is a manager who’s club has been in every major championship and who, if rumours are to be believed has a wider remit at his Manchester United than almost every other manager in the league.

Cornwall Council as Rick Stein

Whereas once there was a diversity of small local authorities in Cornwall it was viewed as more efficient for them all to be merged into one super unitary. I think Rick Stein would sympathise; I mean why have six fish restaurants when it is much better to have one unitary comprising of a restaurant, chip shop, hotel and bistro all in the same town.