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Views of the week: 3 June 2010

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LGC rounds up the best comment, analysis and opinion from the past week.

David Aaronovitch in The Times on rejuvenating Labour

Labour must become proactive in reforming politics and, in effect, lead the campaign for a “yes” vote in the referendum on electoral reform. Labour should try to amend the bill so that councils, too, are elected by alternative vote: there should be no councils on which only one party is represented.

Politics has to try to protect ordinary people through the periods of insecurity and uncertainty that such changes bring with them. There are, I know, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who believe this too. But when I look at the electoral map, and how the big, lush areas are mostly coalition and the poorer city ones are mostly Labour, it makes me realise that another possible kind of coalition needs to be built, and that a changed Labour would probably need to be at the heart of it.

Pick of the Blogs

The coalition agreement: communities and local government

Mark Park from the Liberal Democrat Voice

Traditionally, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives have taken fundamentally different approaches to local government. Now, “radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy” are promised.

Regional spatial strategies’ powers are returning to councils, more power in the planning system is going to communities - who will also be able to save local services by taking them over, the Government Office for London is to be abolished, and there is to be a general power of competence.

More controversial are the financial proposals because, despite the general pledge for increasing financial autonomy, the agreement also says that “we will freeze council tax in England for at least one year”. Add to this the cuts in local government funding and the outlook looks very, very tight.

Full blog available on www.libdemvoice.org

Twitterati - Welfare reform

savechildrenuk: As Iain Duncan Smith sets out UK government’s vision for welfare reform, we say incentives - not sanctions - best way forward.

DarkLochnagar: I would have more respect for IDS if he lived on unemployment benefit for a month.

KharmaSutur: Yup. Government’s going to create thousands of unemployed. Money not there for IDS’s better ideas.

msgracefh: IDS wants a review of work capability of everyone on incapacity benefit. Anyone gonna tell him this has been happening since 2008?

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