Power needs to be transferred from the centre to individual areas, says LGC’s editor
The Scottish referendum led to a widespread mobilisation of the electorate – 85% of eligible voters went to the polls. The issue was passionately debated and a conclusive vote ensued.
It led to the positive side-effects of politics being debated beyond a narrow ruling elite and greater membership of political parties, with the Scottish National Party now claiming it is the UK’s third biggest.
Those south of the border will inevitably feel jealous. Recent elections have hardly set the pulse racing by presenting the public with a tantalising array of options.
The political class is disconnected from the rest of the population and, in a centralised system, local votes relatively rarely bring about a sea change in policy or practice.
Scotland needs to inspire England. There needs to be a similar change in mindset here.
In both urban and rural areas there is a clamour among local populations for them to get greater control over their lives. People are desperate for more control and to be closer to power.
Although, on these pages, the case for devolution is expressed by three council leaders, an elected mayor and an academic, it could equally be expressed in any street by any member of the public.
And it could be expressed by many business leaders seeking flexible systems that adapt to local needs.
Power needs to be transferred from the centre to individual areas. When England’s micromanagement finally comes to an end, it might just find that its politics rejuvenate.