Destroying Local Government
Mrs Thatcher neutered local government in the UK when, for some reason, people started voting in local elections on national issues. To consolidate their positions, the extreme leftists elected on the basis that they weren't Tories challenged the national government's authority. Mrs T would not stand for this and cut a swathe through local democracy. It destroyed the left's power base, but had far reaching implications for local accountability. I think it was her greatest mistake not to restore local democracy after the left had been crushed. Now New Labour is simply finishing off what remains. As I've mentioned here before, they have forced local authorities in the South to raise their local tax bills so that they can subsidize failing councils, mostly in the North. The Telegraph calls it The penalty of thrift:
There is a simple enough way to [assess whether the rise is fair]. Look at the percentage rise in your bill, and consider whether local services have improved commensurately. If your council tax has gone up by, say, 20 per cent, have you seen 20 per cent more policemen on your streets, or 20 per cent more dustmen? And if not, where is all the money going? If you live in a Labour borough, most of it will have gone on local administration; if not, it will have gone on someone else's local administration.
The most objectionable feature of all this is that we are destroying the concept of local accountability. Labour's re-jigging of the central government allocation has the effect of rewarding profligacy and punishing thrift: the worse a council performs, the higher its block grant.
Local democracy is absolutely essential to the health of any democratic nation. I hope the Tories are able to take advantage of this in the run-up to the local elections in a month or so's time.