Saturday, 29 May 2010

A Day in the Spotlight for Local Government

Liberals and Liberal Democrats have traditionally believed in the devolution of power to the lowest possible level, and the Conservatives say that that is now their belief. It is therefore anomalous that the coalition proposes to hold the next general election on the first Thursday in May 2015, local government election day.

Elections for local government are often used as a substitute for a referendum on the government of the day, but this is surely a trend to be resisted. Council candidates of all parties and none deserve a campaigning period in which they can promote their local policies with the minimum of competition from the national scene.

Hence, if the coalition partners are serious about increasing the powers and independence of local government they should move the general election to a different date. Since June 2015 would prolong the parliament beyond five years and produce accusations of malpractice I suggest the second Thursday in June 2014, thus producing a four year fixed term for this parliament, and establishing a precedent for future ones.


  1. Off subject, Peter. If you have not seen it this FT article by Martin Wolf is very much in line with your thinking on the economic deficit.
    (You may have to register free to read it).

  2. Thanks, Jaime, for drawing my attention to that. It contains some very valuable figures for international comparisons. There's an article in the New Statesman by David Blanchflower which also makes the point that cutting the deficit now is both unnecessary potentially disastrous. See