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THE DIFFICULTY OF REVIVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT

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The leader column of The Yorkshire Post (24 June, p18) argued that the way to solve the 'problem' or regional econo...
The leader column of The Yorkshire Post (24 June, p18) argued that the way to solve the 'problem' or regional economic imbalances is not to create yet another tier of bureaucracy but to reinvigorate local government.

But it also said that such a task is not as simple as it might seem. 'Voters are so disenchanted with the conduct of their local councils that many have lost the habit of going to the polling booths.'

It argues that voters will not be 'fooled by administrative gimmicks such as cabinet-style government. They will see the new system for what it is - a further erosion of democratic accountability. The result will be an even sharper decline in voter participation and a loss of legitimacy for local councils.

It continues: 'The prime minister has it within his power to arrest this decline and to make local councils more open and responsive. But for all his fine talk of devolution, Mr Blair is an instinctive centraliser. He prefers decisions to be made among a close circle of friends and advisers.'

The article concludes with the question: 'With such a ruthless role model, is it any wonder that many Labour council bosses are emulating their leader and dividing the spoils of power among a handful of their cronies while excluding the media and the public from scrutinising their deliberations?'
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