Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Power to the people

A very important speech from David Cameron on the state of our country in terms of the erosion of ordinary freedoms and the lack of accountability of those in power. He links the fury of ordinary people at the abuses of MPs expenses to the wider sense of powerlessness that many feel in the face of public institutions. Most importantly, he says that this is wrong. Power should rest with ordinary people and local communities wherever possible. Where this cannot happen than institutions must be truly open and accountable. This includes Parliament, where the legislation that governs our lives must be arrived at by an open, democratic process, not sofa government allied to the machinations of whips an pliable Labour backbenchers. So, David Cameron wants wholesale reform, from parliamentary process, our relationship with the EU, to an end to the fiasco of Regional government, with power devolved back to local Councils where it belongs. Local power means local accountability, including for the police, where many forces have worked an agenda almost designed to alienate them from local people instead of keeping the the old tradition of policing by consent. To be fair, Essex Police have by an large been an exception to this, but would the police forces who have devoted disproportionate resources to motoring offences instead of things like, say, beat patrols or combating burglary, really have done that if their leadership had faced a popular vote? Not in a million years.

Most telling was the government's answer. The BBC put up Jack Straw and he could only 'welcome David Cameron's contribution to the debate'. Here was a speech that picked apart the basic thesis of Labour central control and the target-stetting culture and a senior government minister had no answer.

This was a grown-up speech that treats the electorate as adults instead of the class-war soundbites of New Labour. All we need now is an election.

No comments: