Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Small Society

There's an extraordinary item in the Guardian today, claiming that senior civil servants are having grave doubts about the ToryDem government's plans for government. Or more accurately, they fear that the ToryDems' plan to do away with government as we know it and abolish the principle of ministerial (and hence governmental) accountability.

The article claims that ....
The head of the civil service has ordered an inquiry into the government's localism reforms amid growing concerns that its "big society" plans risk eroding the basic democratic principles of transparency and ministerial accountability.......
.....parliament's fundamental right to hold the government to account for its actions is being tested by the scale of the coalition's ambitions to devolve power from the centre to local communities and outsource services to charities and the private sector.
....the head of the civil service, has asked a senior colleague to investigate the democratic impact of the government's localism bill, which is intended to end Whitehall's domination of the political system and devolve power to local people.

I have always harboured a suspicion (but thought it too ridiculous to really believe) that deep within the Tory heart their lurks a lack of comfort with universal democracy and a hankering after simpler times, when we all knew our place in society, and that place was not to question our betters. They have never fully accepted the fact of 100% franchise, the assumption that we are all equal before the constitution and that we all have the right to be governed in the way we want and to challenge government if we believe that we are not being properly governed.

If the suspicions of senior civil servants in this matter is borne out, I have not been far wrong.

The most interesting thing about this article IMO is the lack of attention it seems to have received in the other newspapers and broadcast media. These are astonishing revelations (if true). They amount to an accusation that the ToryDems are trying to undermine democracy in this country as it has operated for over 300 years.

Surely, if the very foundations of our democratic structures are in danger being undermined, our "independent" press and the nuetral BBC should have something to say? And if senior civil servants are so concerned that they are ordering investigations into the perils of "The Big Society", then shouldn't we all be aware and discussing and judging these concerns?


  1. I should imagine it is true, but will have a limited effect in Scotland where day to day issues, apart from taxation and social security, are dealt with by our own government.

    The English Tories (and Mr Muddle) are bound to want to do that. They can lower taxes for the rich; they will have more time for other jobs, and their ministers will be able to poke their noses more into other people's business. Indeed even run the world again, just like in Victoria's day. By the time Big Ears is king we may have India again.

    More seriously, we really need to get rid of these idiots. Not one of them really has the foggiest idea what they are doing (exception Ken Clarke).

    Hopefully our people have been looking carefully at what the Tunisians did.

    They were rid of their lot is double quick time.

    That is the way to do it if they just won't listne, before they take the possibility away!

  2. The Tegraph has just published an article on the same lines, entitled ...

    "Why is David Cameron like Henry VIII?"

    continuing "... Britain’s leading constitutional watchdogs and a procession of parliamentary committees are lining up to accuse his government of grabbing arbitrary power on a scale worthy of the tyrannical Tudor himself."

    You can see it here:

    Maybe another dam waiting to burst, like the phone hacking scandal..???