Coffee House

Why Ukip might not want power, even if it can win it

31 May 2014

It is ironic that Ukip – a party obsessed with a supranational institution – is mostly likely to gain its first taste of power in local government. Following last week’s elections they have an additional 161 councillors in England with concentrations of numbers in former strongholds of both Labour and the Conservatives.

The party’s path to local leadership will be tough as the electoral cycle is not in its favour. Most of the councils where they have new strength will not vote again for three years and those that do have more regular elections tend to elect on thirds, making for slow progress.

Nonetheless, it would take a brave psephologist to rule out the idea of a Ukip or Ukip-led coalition council somewhere in the country by 2016. For example, If Labour win power nationally, their vote will probably decline in subsequent local elections, and they will suffer at Ukip’s hands in places like Rotherham and Oldham. If the Conservatives remain in charge, the voters might wish to punish the government in areas like Basildon or Southend in Essex.

The transition from protest party to executive power can be extraordinarily difficult: look at the Greens in Brighton. So what should Ukip be doing to get ready?

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The main thing is for the party to decide whether it really wants power at all. Ukip has a ‘no whip’ policy and its local government spokesman has said that his councillors should be ‘independents on steroids’. This is supplemented by plans for local referendums on practically all major local decisions.

This kind of direct democracy may be tempting to offer as a party of opposition, threatening the current establishment. But it will make forming a stable administration quite difficult. This is a problem, because any Ukip council leader will soon realise that their real job is to administer cuts to their budget over which they have little control. Larger councils face perhaps a 30-40 per cent budget reduction from central government after next year’s general election.

Ukip council groups will need to be able to agree and stick to plans to cut back valued local services such as leisure centres, parks and theatres while also piling money into statutory services for the ageing. They will rapidly discover that the best way to develop their income is to allow precisely the major housing developments and out of town shopping centres that they may previously have opposed and may well lose local referenda on.

This kind of pressure would divide even some well-whipped and firmly established council groups. If they cannot impose discipline on their members, then the kippers could fall apart under the strain.

Nigel Farage’s proposals for making local savings amount to the usual call to cracking down on bureaucracy. But after four years of austerity, there is not a lot of fat left to be cut. Sacking chief executives will not fill a projected £14.5bn budget gap for England’s councils. Ukip needs a better plan.

The party will also have to reach an accommodation with the limited powers afforded to English local government. Councils cannot do much about immigration or the EU and, despite a certain amount of localism from the coalition government, they still labour under numerous inspections and well over 1,000 statutory duties to deliver everything from care homes to libraries.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be the fact that leading a council often drives even the most radical protest candidate into fits of establishment-style respectability. Local government is there to fill in potholes and take care of old ladies. What happens when the party of cheeky saloon bar rebels takes responsibility for bogs and bins will be the biggest test of UKIP’s viability as a long term political force.

Simon Park is the director of the New Local Government Network

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Show comments
  • CharlietheChump

    The same attack line appeared under D’Ancona’s name in the Telegraph. Coordinated?
    Surely not. . . .

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    I don’t understand why anyone’s bothering – the by-election is in the bag.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …is that the consensus of your sockpuppets, lad?

  • beenzrgud

    Gee, comments being removed after the fact. Haven’t seen that since I gave up commenting on Huffington Post !

  • Grrr8

    UKIP in power will expose the party for the venal incompetent malcontents that they are. Only the most diehard and brainwashed supporters will remain after that.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    Self-serving bollox from someone who doesn’t want UKIP interfering on his turf.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, he’s a quangocrat, no doubt.

      What is this “New Local Government Network”, and who pays for it?

  • Denis_Cooper

    Off-topic, I see that Merkel has changed her tune about having Juncker as the next President of the EU Commission:

    This is how it is being spun in Germany:

    “One thing is clear: Europeans want Juncker to become EU president. Schulz has the second-best result. A third person, someone who didn’t stand for election, should not get the job. Otherwise democracy turns into a farce. Maybe that was possible in the [east German] DDR or in right-wing nationalist banana republics. But not in the EU,” wrote Matthias Doepfner, the CEO of Axel Springer publishing house to which Bild belongs.”

    It’s an interesting idea that “Europeans want Juncker to become EU president”, when the majority of people in the EU would be hard put to even say who he is, and only 43% of those eligible to vote in the EU Parliament elections chose to do so, and only about a quarter of those who voted, or say 10% of the total eligible electors, cast their votes for national parties affiliated to the federalist European People’s Party, and in most cases without having any knowledge of that affiliation:

    A more accurate statement might be:

    “Only a very tiny minority of Europeans have any clear view on who they would want to become EU president, but of that very tiny minority slightly more would prefer Juncker to Schulz”.

    but of course that would strip away the veneer of democracy which the EU Parliament decided to apply and expose the EU as being little better than the DDR.

    And, NB, Cameron does not have a veto on this appointment:

    “For Juncker to become commission president, he needs a ‘qualified majority’ of member states, with bigger countries having a greater say. The UK alone, even if backed by Sweden, the Netherlands and Hungary, would not have enough votes to block the move.”

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Are the krauts having a larf, or what? They’ve actually gone off and dug up somebody named “Juncker” for that job? What, couldn’t they find a “Bismarck” or a “Moltke” or “Hindenburg”?

  • Smithersjones2013

    By the way the name of the director of NGLN is SIMON PARKER not ‘Park’. Coffee House really can’t get the staff these days!

    As for NGLN itself it clearly is something of an establishment bureaucracy front organisation because it’s board is full of representatives from establishment councils (not least the socialist republics of Islington, Haringey and Lewisham) so of course Simon PARKER would say what he is saying here…..

  • DaveTheRave

    Ukip obsessed about a super national institution? We should all be obsessed about it, an institution which is brazenly totalitarian, asks voters to vote again when ‘they get it wrong’. None of the major parties (including Tories) are anti-EU. Ukip have filled that void. The warnings about the EU are there for all to see, our elitist politicians have been groomed into accepting more and more integration… We simply have to get out. Therefore Ukip will accept power as a natural consequence of obligation.

  • Smithersjones2013

    The party will also have to reach an accommodation with the limited
    powers afforded to English local government. Councils cannot do much
    about immigration or the EU and, despite a certain amount of localism
    from the coalition government, they still labour under numerous
    inspections and well over 1,000 statutory duties to deliver everything
    from care homes to libraries.

    Why do these establishment types expect UKIP councils to kow-tow to the dictats of central government when they are not in the local interest? Again and again establishment types seem to view UKIP in the same terms as the establishment parties but one of the main points is that they are NOT establishment parties and just as UKIP is driving a wedge between an interfering oligarchical Brussels and the UK so its not unreasonable to expect UKIP councils to have far less truck with with centralist Westminster interference.

    Lets take a case in hand. After the Euro results where UKIP won 11 out of 12 Kent council areas and where they are already the official opposition on Kent County Council its not beyond the realms of possibility that they could actually take Kent County Council in 2017 (OK a little after the period discussed). Now recently Michael Gove has refused to allow Sevenoaks to expand its Grammar School capability. Do you think such an issue will not be revisited under UKIP and do you think it will be so tamely accepted by a UKIP administration as it has been the Kent County and local administration?

    We have seen time and again how Labour fiefdoms have ignored Tory governments. Does anyone seriously think that UKIP won’t do the same when its in the area’s interests? The thing is not only will such actions serve the local interest but they will emphasise that UKIP is the different new type of politics that the people of the UK are crying out for…

    It really is time establishment types woke up to what is going on……….

    • Tony_E

      The problem for Ukip to see if they do something quite libertarian and sensible in Kent, it’s voters in the North will simply disappear. Grammar schools just aren’t a national vote winner when you look at the gain/loss column nationwide. If it were a winner, tories would have brought them back years ago.

      • Smithersjones2013

        You’re thinking like a centralist. UKIP’s approach is to allow Grammar Schools to be included where there is a demand such as Sevenoaks. Nobody is going to impose grammars schools on anyone who doesn’t want them. Thats what localism is all about.Giving those who want the power to change things in their local area the power to do so! If they are happy with their lot they don’t have to change.

        Anyway you seem to forget that places like Ripon in Yorkshire, Trafford in Manchester and the whole of Lincolnshire are grammar School Areas. Given Lincolnshire is possibly the second strongest UKIP heartland I hardly think it is a problem other than in those urban liberal Gulags that strangle and suffocate aspiration

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Tony Blair has just become their biggest advertisement!

  • Mike

    There’s loads of fat still left in local councils that can be cut. There’s too many fat cat execs left and as for gold plated pensions, stop subsidizing them out of council tax and make the future recipients fund them properly. hat would probably cut local council expenditure by 20% at a stroke !

    • Wessex Man

      You are quite right, who ever saw the County Council Cabinets hoving into view, or as with our lot the Cabinet in it’s entirity going off for a Council funded freebe to the South of France!

      • Wessex Man

        Tory by the way.

  • itdoesntaddup

    The most sensible thing for UKIP councillors to do is to make sure they understand what is happening in their councils and with central government finance. They need time to absorb that and learn both how to run councils successfully, and where the problems really are. That can really enhance their policy targetting and voter motivation targetting next time out. They are only ever going to secure power if they can demonstrate that they have accumulated knowledge and expertise to fix what’s wrong. It should be no surprise that they aim to walk before trying to run – unlike the Greens who fall flat on their faces trying to implement thoroughly impractical ideology.

  • SimonToo

    Surely one of the main aims of UKIP in local government should be to highlight how limited the actual authority of a local authority is, not to reinforce the illusion of general effectiveness that most local councillors choose to promote?

    • Wessex Man

      If you believe that you are sadly misinformed.

  • Denis_Cooper

    An alternative analysis of the current position in Newark would treat both Labour and the LibDems as being pro-EU anti-Tory parties of the left, with generally leftish supporters who are prepared to switch between them depending partly on whether they still agree with Nick or have come to utterly despise Nick.

    In May 2010 those two parties together gained 42% of the votes in Newark, Labour 22% and LibDems 20%:

    But according to the Survation opinion poll they now have only 32% support between them, Labour 27% and LibDems 5%:

    so those two pro-EU parties of the left have lost about 10%.

    Meanwhile support for the pro-EU party of the right, the Tory party, has dropped from 54% to 36%, a loss of 18%.

    So aggregating changes in support for the three old pro-EU parties, between them they have lost 10% + 18% = 28%; whle the anti-EU party UKIP has gained 24%, rising from 4% to 28%.

    Clearly the losses of the three old pro-EU parties, 28%, do not exactly match the gains of the anti-EU party, 24%, and nor would one expect an exact match except as a fluke, but equally clearly the 18% lost by the Tory party alone is not enough to supply UKIP with all of its 24% increase.

    One extreme view, until now pretty much the conventional wisdom, would have anti-EU UKIP picking up all of the 18% of support lost by the pro-EU Tories plus only 6% of the 10% lost by the pro-EU parties of the left, a right-left split of 3 to 1.

    The opposite extreme view would have anti-EU UKIP picking up all of the 10% support lost by the two pro-EU parties of the left plus 14% of the 18% lost by the pro-EU Tory party, a right-left split of 1.4 to 1.

    A middle view might have UKIP picking up 16% from the Tories and 8% from Labour and the LIbDems combined, a split between right and left of 2 to 1.

    Well, for what it is worth in view of the rather small sample, the pie chart attached to the Survation poll would put it at a 51:28 split, which is 1.8 to 1, higher than the 1.3 to 1 split exhibited when votes were cast in May 2010 but much lower than the 3 to 1 split which be concluded from the conventional wisdom; but that pie chart also has 18% of UKIP support coming from people who didn’t even vote in 2010 and whose left-right preferences are therefore undefined.

    So now the question is how much net benefit there would be for the Tory party if its leaders got their heartfelt wish and UKIP entirely disappeared from the political scene; and the best answer which can be extracted from the Newark pie chart is that the Tories might then regain about half of the present support for UKIP but Labour might regain about a quarter, so the net benefit to the Tories vis-a-vis Labour would be only about a quarter of the present support for UKIP; and that itself is on the unlikely assumption that there would be no increase in the numbers who decided not to vote at all in the absence of a UKIP candidate, or to give their votes to an independent or some other small party candidate.

    Because the LibDems blocked the boundary changes the Tories need to be well ahead of Labour in the national polls to have a chance of getting an overall majority – in 2010 they got 7% more votes, but that wasn’t enough – and because support for the LibDems has collapsed and much more of it has switched to Labour than to the Tories the latter are actually still behind Labour not ahead, albeit with a narrower gap than before, so how much would even the total destruction of UKIP help the
    Tories win the next general election?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      So basically, in a nutshell, what you’re saying here is that in 11.25 months, Call Me Dave’s head is going to be mounted on a spike.

      • Denis_Cooper

        That seems very likely.

  • Grey Wolf

    ”But after four years of austerity, there is not a lot of fat left to be cut.”

    Really? What about the useless quangos? I am not sure there has been any serious reduction in their numbers. Don’t become smug so easily. We need more jobs in the country and more well-paying jobs but they should be real, value-accretive jobs.

    • Athelwulf

      Perhaps Simon Parker has yet to see this whistle-blower site on the running (or otherwise) of the Environment Agency:

    • Colonel Mustard

      Government is funding “charities” to the tune of £13bn annually with no cost benefit case that I can see. There seems to be a lot of presumption in the budget about what cannot be shelved. The building of additional ministerial empires with increased spaddery means that Ministers are competitively bidding for budget, many of them involved in the self-lobbying racket. Coupled with this there seems to be a fantastic increase in the number of lucrative, taxpayer funded or subsidised “jobs” in the ideological “managing change” field and/or quasi-autonomous or so-called “fake charity” fields. The outcome of this is inevitably the increasing politicisation of society and the building of an unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucratic governing strata, often multi-tiered, which will drain public funds in order to tell people what to do, aggrandise itself and seek to expand its remits, thereby increasing public costs and the burden of regulation. Turkeys can’t be expected to vote for Christmas and every time quangos and agencies have come under budget threats they have gone public with scare stories designed to justify not just their existence but their expansion.

      There are historical examples of this type of society, None of them good for the people they tyrannise. We are in real peril unless this “shadow government” structure is cut down to size and disempowered.

      • Grey Wolf

        Great response!
        Cannot disagree with anything you have said.

    • HookesLaw

      There has been and continues to be serious reductions and savings. I’ve pointed it out before. Your remark shows what a bubble of ignorance you kippers live in.
      Watching you all talk to each other illustrates how dim you all are.

      • Grey Wolf

        I have made an assertion about Quangos which you did not address in your response but instead heaped abuse on me.

        • Wessex Man

          Hooky babe doesn’t do responses, only abuse, much like his master!

      • Colonel Mustard

        The issue is as much ideological as economic and it a serious one deserving critical examination rather than your usual abuse of anyone who is not buying what the Coalition is trying to peddle.

        In 2012 the IEA issued a paper on this subject and I quote:-

        “…the situation may be more serious than critics have realised. It argues that state-funding of charities and pressure groups constitutes a form of modern patronage, with groups whose ideology supports that of the political elite being given public money and a seat at the table while the rest of civil society is left out in the cold. In the past fifteen years, government – from the European Commission down to local councils – has given financial support to overtly political lobby groups who campaign for bigger government, new legislation, tougher regulation and higher taxes.”

        Abolishing quangos (are there any genuine statistics for this to show that it is not just shuffling the deck?) is just one aspect of the overall problem. Before coming to power Cameron promised to “sweep away” ALL of New Labour’s nanny state. Never happened. If anything Cameron & Co seemed happy to continue it, leaving overt Labour ideologues like Starmer in critical positions of power. Look at how Cameron defended Nicholson in a situation where he should have been ruthlessly purged.

        And it’s no good blaming the Liberal Democrats. By their very title (ok we know it is bogus) they should have presented no opposition to liberating people from the tyranny of quangocracy and fake charity la la land.

        This proliferation of the “post-democratic”, bureaucratic, unelected “state” has not been accidental. It is part of an agenda and a very shadowy one. A true conservative would be asking difficult questions about it, not buying into its premise.

        • Alexsandr

          the other issue with quangoes and agencies is that it puts government at arms length from ministers and parliament. For example, the Environment Agency should be part of DEFRA so the minister can be called to account. Not hived off to an unelected and unaccountable agency.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Yes, thanks. The very premise of “leading beyond authority” implies leading without accountability either. As we have seen with the NHS and the Environment Agency. I bet there are other examples too. And it seems that no matter how shocking the revelations of incompetence, corruption and suppressing whistle blowing the issues never get a proper open investigation or hearing but are very quickly buried, the implicated parties moving seamlessly into other “Association of CEOs” jobs or slithering into the House of Lords.

            These unelected gauleiters and apparatchiks conspire with each other to “get things done” with no democratic mandate for the direction of that change that I can see. And no-one seems to be holding them properly to account. Any attempt to challenge this regime gets fobbed off as a conspiracy theory. But it is huge, lucrative for those involved and costs the taxpayer a great deal of money.

            • Kaine

              It comes from a profound tendency in both major parties whereby they don’t trust the people, but actually they don’t trust any of their colleagues either.

              Now I have a different analysis than you of who won the revolution Colonel, and of the true feelings of the British people. But by all means let’s have the arguments made, the votes tallied and the answer acted upon, rather than the current ossification.

          • Grey Wolf

            Yes, that’s the whole scandal – the rise and rise of so called ”independent” bodies / agencies just so that public expenditure can be increased, favours can be awarded via non-jobs and responsibility can be shirked because there is an ”independent” unelected quango looking into it.

        • Grey Wolf

          Wow Colonel. Shouldn’t you be writing for Speccie. Excellent riposte.

      • Lucy Sky Diamonds

        Insult after insult does not win the argument. How about engaging with ex tories instead of shouting abuse?

      • Wessex Man

        Liar liar pants on fire!

        first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win- Mahatma Ghandi.

  • Denis_Cooper

    “Ukip needs a better plan.”

    So what about the other parties, do they all have perfectly developed plans for coping with future budget cuts?

    • Colonel Mustard

      Perfectly developed plans for sleight of hand, lying and emotive intimidation I should think.

  • Kitty MLB

    Nigel Farage has said when we leave the EU. He will leave politics.
    That is his goal and a honourable one. He’s not about the long haul,
    he is about independence from the dying elephant the EU- the names on the tin.
    Not everyday life of Westminster. Its others who are pushing him in that direction.
    Yet UKIP is not about Nigel Farage and will continue to grow without him.
    Also there is a difference between ideology and reality, have others have realised.

    • HookesLaw

      Leave the EU for what? Farage drops us in a mess and then retires?
      Leaving the EU and being like Norway (at best) is making a minimal difference. Just walking out of the EU leaves us open to being forced into Schengen to gain some sort of access to the single market and protect our inward investment and save our jobs being exported to Bulgaria.
      Just be honest and admit … you only like UKIP because it allows you to be open about hating blacks and homosexuals and every other minority you can think to blame for life’s problems.

      • Alexsandr

        the hooker saying we have to be in EFTA again. Which is patently untrue.
        I am sure he will get it some day. when he bothers to do some research

      • Denis_Cooper

        If the traitors at the top of the Tory party at the time had got their way we’d already be not only in Schengen but in the euro, and no doubt you would have applauded that.

      • Kitty MLB

        What on earth is all this about Hooky? I have never
        been homophobic, I deplore such people and I never
        see someones colour. I suggest you refrain from
        insulting those from your own party ( i’m Conservative, as always) more so then you.
        I just don’t support the EU. But I think we need
        a reasonable debate on the subject.
        ITS upto the electorate ultimately not Conservatives
        and not UKIP.

        • Grey Wolf

          HookesLaw is a sad man.

          • Kitty MLB

            Hooky’s heart in in the right place.He just
            allows words to runaway with themselves
            mind you I do that too.And he unconditionally
            supports the EU and I as a Conservative hope
            the electorate in 2017 votes to have the shackles removed and not just loosened.

            • Wessex Man

              you really are getting back into my good books again!

            • Grey Wolf

              What is the matter with you, Kitty? His ”heart is in the right place”. Not really. In the pages of Speccie, I’ve always found him taking badly informed partisan stances and then hurling abuses at people if they say anything to the contrary. He is like a poorly paid pamphleteer, always annoyed and indignant.

        • Wessex Man

          I’m coming round to like you again!

      • Colonel Mustard

        I like UKIP because it rebels against the bigotry that anyone who doesn’t buy into the European project and applaud as this once fine country is progressively ruined must be a racist or homophobe.

        The truly disgusting comments here are yours. You should read them aloud to your family.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        You’re assuming the EU will exist after the UK leaves. Once further poor countries join the EU in the next few years, can you really see the German and French tax payers carrying on happily paying to support them? The real question is whether France or Holland will beat the UK to be the first to leave the sinking ship.

      • Wessex Man

        Liar liar pants on fire!

        If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always chooose the open sea- sir Winston Churchill, House of Commons 1953.

        so so true today!

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        Liar. Cheat. Ignoramus.

  • cargill55

    Well this is certainly a new spin on the anti UKIP sneers of pretty much everyone involved in the bureaucracy and the establishment and the discredited political elite.
    UKIP , with many millions of supporters , does not want power.
    What a load of superficial, spinning , condescending claptrap.
    Get used to it , UKIP is here to stay, get stronger and dismantle the appalling system that you people have created.
    UKIP , sovereign, democratic Britain governed through common sense.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Actually I think there is an element of truth in it. Unlike the establishment, I don’t think most UKIP types, crave for power. I think though they are so despairing of the way this country is going thanks to the establishment that there is no choice but to take power to stop the establishment anduse it to put the country back on a sensible and realistic course. As part of that much of what UKIP is about (localism, withdrawal from the EU, creation of a federal UK with devolved home nation responsibilities including the creation of an English Parliament) is about the most radical redistribution of power and strengthening of democracy downwards in this country since the granting of Universal suffrage.

      As in all cases this is about devolving power it would be rather perverse to see UKIP politicians in the same manner as establishment politicians who at every turn attempt to grasp more power to them. So from that perspective it is reasonable to argue UKIP do not desire power in the same way as the establishment parties.

      Of course this is not what Baker is saying. His argument is that when all is said and done UKIP will become just another cog in the establishment. We shall see but if it does it will be finished as a credible party because it would have turned into a clone of the others. Personally I do not think that will happen

      • mightymark

        ” they are so despairing of the way this country is going thanks to the establishment that there is no choice but to take power to stop the establishment and use it to put the country back on a sensible and realistic course. ”

        Sounds a bit like the excuses given by most far right (usually military) coups?

  • Colonel Mustard

    The more that the two main parties ignore/deride the imperative for UKIP the more support for that party will grow. They are referred to by the cosy, complacent clique as a “protest” party but it would be more accurate now to call them a party of rebellion. They are no longer just “protesting” but winning a democratic mandate in local government and in the European parliament with two simple propositions that are in direct rebellion to what the two main parties are trying to peddle.

    Cameron is caught on the hook of his own disparaging remarks about UKIP and his unsavoury connections to UAF and Common Purpose, as well as his slippery “promises” regarding the EU. Miliband is resorting to the usual leftist tactic of pretending moral superiority whilst ignoring his party’s major contribution to the dissatisfaction that is feeding UKIP’s rise.

    Both are conflating genuine concern about excessive levels of immigration, the actual and visible consequences of which they know they are expected to resolve, with racism which is not the point. They are like two idiots trying to keep the lid down on a rising head of steam they have no control over as the electricity in the rest of the building fails. If you want dishonesty you’ll struggle to find a better example. Neither of them has talked about sustainable infrastructure, the provision of and pressure on public services, the failure of integration to keep pace with numbers or imported cultural diversity or the affordable accommodation crisis. Instead they prefer to boast their bien pensant credentials as “anti-racists” and pretend that these issues are not connected. They are fools.

  • Lady Magdalene

    WHY should local authorities provide recreational facilities such as sports centres. If there is a demand, then the private sector should fulfil it.
    There is plenty of scope for cutting bureaucracy in both County and Local councils. They could stop spending on their self-aggrandisement; their glossy self-promotional literature and they could stop paying massively inflated salaries to their Chief Execs.

    • Colonel Mustard

      They have transitioned from the simple provision of services to being “preachy” as the vanguards of “social change”. The glossy, colour printed guff that comes through my door from them is like a combined party political leaflet from Labour and the Greens. The fact that they are still churning this unnecessary “marketing” bilge out in the digital internet age with money squeezed from council taxes is an outrage.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        … and in multiple languages

    • SimonToo

      Since the arrival of running water in most people’s homes, the councils have had to find a use for the public baths which they used to provide in the interests of public hygiene.

    • Kaine

      I rather think the provision of amenities should be up to the local people themselves. Who are you to tell residents who like their local, municipal swimming baths that it must be flogged to Virgin or Fitness First?

      The blindness of many conservatives to the undemocratic nature of the untrammelled market is especially surprising given their obsession with democratic accountability on a European level.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Yes but at least it doesn’t lead us to national insolvency.

  • lgrundy

    “Local government is there to fill in potholes and take care of old ladies”.

    Thirty years ago maybe. Now Local government is just another transmission belt for socialism, imposing hard-Left, socialist ideology and political-correctness on both the local community and the councillors themselves. Fortunately it’s UKIP councillors, like the brave young lady in the report below, who are taking a stand against this:

    UKIP councillor refuses to attend equality training.

    • Colonel Mustard

      A very significant issue. The result of local government being flooded with “agents of change” who see their role as “leading beyond authority” rather than delivering services as public servants.

      • ButcombeMan

        Indeed. It might be a good idea for UKIP to make it a membership rule that anyone who, after joining them, attended a Common Purpose brainwashing course, would be excluded from the party, along with ex BNP members.

        • Common Purpose

          Successful leaders like Farage have learned to lead in roles or circumstances where they have
          clear authority. In UKIP they need to move beyond this and now need a different approach to leadership –
          the ability to Lead Beyond Authority. Far from exclusion of our graduates, UKIP needs to come to us for definition if they wish to come anywhere near reaching their stated goals.

          • ButcombeMan

            Very Funny. Comical. I laughed out loud.

            For those readers who do not realise this, Common Purpose, so called “graduates” are often at the very core of public sector cock-ups.

          • Tom M

            I think you should come down from your cloud and live in the real world.

          • foxoles

            Leading Beyond Authority = Sticking Your Nose In Where It Has No Business To Be.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            UKIP needs to come to you with a warrant, and an escort down to the magistrate.

            • Michele Keighley

              Wouldn’t make any difference – the magistrate is probably a CP graduate – many are, as are the regional police chiefs. And as a graduate is expected to advance the career of other graduates you are now infested with CP slugs at all levels of government – national, regional and local

          • Fred Smith

            You almost had me going there.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Hello telemachus. You really ought to stop this silly little game of posting under false names, even if you are a friend of Julia Middleton. I have told you before a “charity” has no business posting propaganda or ‘advertising’ on a political website, especially anonymously. Another formal complaint will now go to the charity commission.

            Incidentally, if anyone is wondering about it the statue in the avatar he is using is ‘Captain on the Helm’ at the Navy Pier in Chicago, the spiritual home of Common Purpose and where it all began:-



            Some interesting CP videos here:-



          • Colonel Mustard

            Hello Mr Anonymous Common Purpose Propagandist

            Could you please explain the process by which a “charity” sells management training exclusively to government?

            Why do you not have to compete openly in a tendering process?

            Who in government has decided that Common Purpose meets its management training needs and on what basis?

            As a profit making “charity” with tentacles – I mean branches – all over the world why do you think it is necessary to monitor free discussion of Common Purpose on political blogs and to post rebuttal propaganda?

            Who are you really and what position, if any, do you occupy in the “charity” Common Purpose?

            Do the Spectator know that you are using their blog to advertise?

          • Inverted Meniscus

            But their goal is not to replicate the fascist Labour Party.

          • Michele Keighley

            How’s Julia MIddleton these days? Still thinking CP can deliver on A21 then???

        • global city

          Given that the whole point of CP is to build an anti-democratic, Fabian style theft of power, it should be criminalised and banned.

      • moraymint

        Yes, the the bureaucrats are imbued with a common purpose 😉

        • dalai guevara

          … of selling gold to the masses on a high and peak oil fear when renewables contributions are destined to rise?

          Welcome back moraymint – what is your story today?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …that you’re a socialist nutter with a huge count of sockpuppets trolling this site?

            • dalai guevara

              Ah yes tovarishch, how could I forget that the foreign coal/nuclear merchant would turn up within minutes of being confronted yet again with superior intelligence?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …can any other of you socialist nutters translate this nutter’s gibberish?

                • Michele Keighley

                  He thinks he is going to be one of the new world order, make a fortune out of inefficient ‘green energies’ like his hero Al Gore, be in a position of authority to ensure he can bring you normal nutters under control and …. here’s the best bit …. Rule The World.

                  PS I am not a socialist nutter but I met so many of them at uni that I think I’ve got it right :)

      • Alexsandr

        yes. look at the ‘street scene’ people at my local council. despite the fancy name they manage the bin emptying. When contacted they just seem to be there to defend the din emptying contractors. No regard for the poor b*ggers who pay their wages.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Back in 2010 a Newsletter from the EU’s Committee of the Regions stated:

      “It is not widely known that the EU’s 92 500 local and regional authorities are responsible for implementing two thirds of European legislation.”

      Much of which completely by-passes Parliament, by the way.

      I can’t find that Newsletter on their site now, but this is what they say in their “Key facts”, and note the bit right at the end:

      “the four levels of governance – EU, national, regional and local – cooperate
      closely to ensure good European governance”

      “50% of EU citizens believe that their locally and regionally elected
      representatives are better able to represent them at the EU level.

      The Committee of the Regions brings the EU closer to its citizens

      Since 70% of EU legislation has a direct regional and local impact:

      EU citizens must be involved in the construction of the EU.

      The elected authorities closest to citizens should be able to communicate
      their views during the preparation of EU legislation.

      Since its establishment in 1994, the CoR has worked to bring citizens closer to the European Union. In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty strengthened recognition of the Committee of the Regions’ role.

      Local and regional authorities at your side

      The Committee of the Regions is the EU’s Assembly of Regional and Local

      Its 353 members – regional presidents,
      mayors or elected representatives of regions and cities:

      live and work in the regions or cities they come from,

      are in touch with their electorates’ concerns,

      speak for their voters at the very heart of the EU decision-making and
      legislative process and keep them abreast of EU developments,

      host meetings and conferences of the Committee of the Regions in their
      regions or cities.

      Areas of competence: a direct impact on citizens

      Successive Treaties have broadened the Committee of the Regions’ role.

      Since the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force, the Committee of the Regions has to be consulted throughout the legislative process involving the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in the following areas:

      economic and social cohesion,

      trans-European networks,


      education and culture,


      social policy,

      the environment,

      vocational training,


      civil protection,

      climate change,


      Three fundamental principles: subsidiarity, proximity and partnership


      decisions in the EU must be taken as close as possible to the citizen,

      the EU level must not take any action which could be carried out more
      efficiently by the national, regional or local authorities,

      the Committee of the Regions has the right to bring an action before the
      Court of Justice of the European Union if this principle is breached (this right
      is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty).


      all levels of governance must be “close to the citizen”,

      transparency in the work of national, regional and local authorities is
      essential to ensure citizen participation in the democratic process.


      the four levels of governance – EU, national, regional and local – cooperate
      closely to ensure good European governance,

      these four levels of governance are indispensable and must be involved
      throughout the decision‑making process.”

      • Colonel Mustard

        It is difficult to see how people are brought closer to the EU by installing four tiers of “governance” (a sinister term anyway) over them. In reality most people have no consultation in the “governance” process beyond the infrequent elections and those most likely to get involved in the dialogue are political activists and the dreaded “change agents” with their single issue lobbying.

        Far from being a democratic process it is a recipe for tyranny on a scale not seen since the middle years of the last century.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          It’s not planned to be four tiers. The middle two (national and regional) will be bypassed and eventually eliminated, leaving only the top and bottom two (EUSSR and local apparatchiks, organized in a one-way fashion, obviously).

          A recipe for tyranny, absolutely yes.

    • rtj1211

      Please list the 80% of councils which fulfil this definition.

      • Wessex Man

        pleasename the 20% who don’t.

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