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Labour is falling in love with localism – but is it ignoring the individual?

7 July 2014

1:44 PM

7 July 2014

1:44 PM

Today’s New Deal for England announcement by Labour doesn’t just underline how much of the political action is in the regions at the moment, but how the party is coming to terms with some of the mistakes that it made when it was last in government.

The significant devolution of power and spending to local government announced today by the Local Government Innovation Taskforce is a clever way for Ed Balls to save money, but it’s also a recognition across the party that a centralised state did not delve the sort of results it should have done in the party’s 13 years of power, and so something must change. It was initially a conviction of a few key party thinkers that was resisted vigorously by equally key colleagues, but is now the prevailing philosophy. When I talked to one senior Labour figure about why the party was falling in love with localism, aside from it being an affliction of any party in opposition, he said:

‘We’ve had to recognise that we didn’t achieve what we wanted to achieve in government, that we didn’t make sufficient advances on poverty in the way we wanted to. So something has to change.’


Slowly groups as diverse as the Fabians and Progress and figures are diverse as Jon Cruddas and Ed Balls have ended up agreeing on this agenda, even if it is for slightly different reasons.

But it’s worth looking at how much of today’s announcement is about empowering local government, and how much of it passes power on to the individual. Some Labourites are dissatisfied not because they disagree with the idea of passing power down from Whitehall, but because they fear that the very thing Hilary Benn and Jon Cruddas criticise in this piece, that ‘too much is about structures rather than individuals’ will remain the case once local government has got its hands on the power.

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Show comments
  • Rhoda Klapp8

    It’s nice to know somebody reads my comments, and see them recast as posts a few days later.

  • foto2021

    Socialism is all about unelected cabals (activists, SpAds, focus groups, think tanks) dictating what should happen and then imposing it on individuals. That’s what Labour is all about.

    “Localism” is just a slight change in the mix of unelected cabals.

    • The Masked Marvel

      Exactly. Plus on a different level it’s an obvious attempt to ride the waves of a popular idea, again showing how useless the Labour leadership are.

    • HJ777

      Or even about elected cabals deciding and imposing things collectively rather than leaving them to individual preference.

  • Tony_E

    It doesn’t matter where you put the power – closer or further away from the voter – if you fail to diagnose the problem correctly.

    More of the same from a local source is no better than more of the same from Whitehall.

  • Blindsideflanker

    ‘Iunderline how much of the political action is in the regions at the moment, ‘

    And what ‘regions’ are those Isabel? Is this the no country territory beyond metropolitan land and before Scotland?

    • Colonel Mustard

      It’s fantastic. They dare not even say the word. It’s London, Scotland, Wales and then “the regions”.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Yes, its pretty insulting, the rich heritage of English Shires and Counties is reduced to an EU technocratic ‘region’. Worse their acceptance of the British political establishments language means we move without, challenge, debate, or mandate to the settled view of the British political establishment that England isn’t a country in its own right, but a non place of regions.

        Not only are we being let down by all the useless British MP’s squatting in English constituency seats, not bothering to lift a finger for English people’s rights, we also have the British media who are failing us as well. They claim the Media is an important arm in our democracy, but where England is concerned they are nothing short of useless.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “we move without, challenge, debate, or mandate to the settled view”

          That precisely characterises much of the change to this country that I have witnessed in my lifetime, from becoming multi-cultural to the unnecessary use of force by the police.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Whatever Labour are offering it will only be a veneer to hide their continuing centralism. The idea that Labour (or any other party that supports the aspirations of the EU) are seriously adopting localism not only is risible but would be tantamount to a declaration they were abandoning socialism

    Individualism and collectivism just do not mix

    You can guarantee whatever Labour is offering it will turn out to be a fake

    • McRobbie

      Their thinking (ho ho ho) will go somewhere along the lines of localism means the loudest and most militant (the mad lefties) will get control of the local agenda and push through the trade unions demands with the defence “that is what the local community is asking for”. Its no offer, its a trade union inspired scam.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Spot on. Labour have always laboured under the delusion that they and the “public” are one and the same when in fact it just means their many activists and fellow travellers in influencing positions outside the formal party. It’s in their DNA to politicise society and that is what this “localism” will be intended to achieve because they envisage it wholly in terms of compliant, conformist, left-wing political activism. As Blair once chillingly said “The Labour party is nothing less than the political wing of the British people as a whole”.

        Since they firmly established their “shadow” government of fake charities, “agencies”, quangos and other NGOs from 1997 to 2010 they probably feel more than ready to implement the next stage of “localism” aka Gauleiterism.

      • sarahsmith232

        how much will be spent on their ‘community cohesion’ programmes that block access to anyone either white or English? Which subsequently prove to be ran by Jihadi’s running an ISIS front? Somewhere in the region of a good 60% to 70% with Labour councils left in charge.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “We’ve had to recognise that we didn’t achieve what we wanted to achieve in government”

    Oh that is being too hard on yourselves. Your reckless immigration policies have certainly rubbed the right’s noses in diversity and therefore achieved exactly what you wanted.

    • dado_trunking

      FATCHA imported more immigrants than Bacon Butty Boy ever will.
      FATCHERITES had a keen interest in reducing unit labour costs and increasing productivity by importing foreign labour.

      Why do you FATCHERITES hate your own people so much?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Borrowing your cell mates lines now, eh?

        But let’s humour you and analyse that gibberish. To begin with it is a non-comparison because Bacon Butty Boy has never been PM and if he does become PM you have no way of knowing how many immigrants he might import.

        However the last Labour government certainly imported more than FATCHA ever did. From 1979 to 1991 annual immigration never rose above 300,000. Under New Labour it never went below 400,000 and was rising from their first day in office to peaks of almost 600,000. Those facts make a mockery of your silly comment.

        And I don’t hate my own people at all. I love the English.

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          A Brief History of Immigration

          If there was one thing I learnt in my short life then it would be that nothing ever remains static. Everything always changes, the drivers always move on, others are always left behind. The Irish to name one were once part of the country that could not be kept together, then perhaps India, or Australia, or Jamaica – not even the Isle of flippin’ Man could be kept together. Where’s the Bacon Butty Boy to rescue us when we need him? What a mockery indeed!

          There is no one left to milk. The colonies – all gone. The indigenous plebiscite is the only plebscite left to demand payments from. The credit-worthiness of the indigenous now matters most. Can we be seen to load all this debt onto an ever smaller number of indigenous people?

          Of course not, that is why we need to be seen to fill up this country with those from the colonies and of course with those from Europe. Everyone who wants to come can come. Please come! Yes, even Chinese investors – come and fill this land with the millions of your most affluent citizenry.

          There we have it – a summary of British economic policy of the last 307 years.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Your shift now?

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              This is what it looks like when all propaganda fails.

              • Colonel Mustard


              • Inverted Meniscus

                Yes you socialist nutter gibberish spouting diots work n shifts. When is it the Goat’s turn lad?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        We don’t. We just hate socialist nutter gibberish spouting sock puppets like you lad.

  • Inverted Meniscus

    Labour is the party of ‘groupthink’ or, if you prefer, the mentality of the ‘Borg’ mentality. It hates indivudualism with a passion because that is the seed from which aspiration, ambition and the will to succeed and excel grows. These are qualities frowned upon by Labour because they demonstrate that people are thinking for themselves and directing their efforts and resources toward their own spiritual and material improvement rather than the collective or the ‘hive’. Labour exists to control or ‘nationalise’ people’s lives and hates individual success or rather it endeavours to to sustain the impossible paradox of encouraging people to succeed as long as they don’t commit the mortal sin of becoming wealthy and comfortable. Just as it tries to sustain its other key paradox of destroying wealth whilst at the same time trying to redistribute wealth. Labour relies on a collective environment of failure, despair and mediocrity which then enables a morally pure elite Miliband, Balls etc to direct the lives and resources of those they consider too stupid and morally correct to think for themselves. Labour hates the individual and that is why it is a cancer eating away at our society through economic failure and its own philosophical contradictions.

    • Smithersjones2013

      I hear this is Labour’s draft lead slogan for the election campaign

      Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated

      • Inverted Meniscus

        That is Labour’s permanent Slogan. Its manifesto: ‘We know how to regulate your lives and spend your money better than you do so shut up and be grateful or else’.

      • sarahsmith232

        LOL, brilliant!

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    The background in the photograph is crying out to be edited, especially as it’s nonsensical. How about ‘Non-working Britons Better Off’ or ‘Hard-working Britain Better Off Out’?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      or……………without this bloke.