Cameron’s not wasting any time attacking Blair or Brown.
He knows who wields the real power in Britain – John Prescott and to an extent Rupert Murdoch. He dare not attack Murdoch and challenge EU power (yet) so the EPP can bury the courageous efforts of Roger Helmer in the Euro Parliament to expose corruption (for now).
But he’s started his assault on the EU’s No 1 British flunky, the Real Prime Minister, Mr John Prescott.
The language of the localising message has been much improved since the Built To last campaign was launched. The weak phrasing such as ‘trusting people’ ‘sharing responsibility’ and ‘supporting institutions and culture’ have been replaced with ‘real local democracy’ and ’empowering’ ‘voluntary action’. The whole message hangs together much better.
EXTRACT from Cameron’s Birmingham speech.
The government’s regionalisation programme is presented as an act of decentralisation.
In fact, in almost every area the regional bodies take their powers up from local councils, not down from Whitehall and Westminster.
Transport, planning, housing, the ambulance service, the fire service, all are or will be controlled further away from the citizen.
The government has plans to re-organise local government itself, scrapping the shire system by removing the power of district and borough councils.
Until this week the government seemed intent on abolishing county police forces in favour of large regional forces.
I’m not sure if that plan is still on the table – if it is, it means that here in Birmingham, the West Midlands force would be united with three other forces, creating a new force stretching from the borders of the Thames Valley to the borders of North Wales.
Regionalisation of local government, policing and all the other areas I mention is wrong not only because it is taking powers up, rather than devolving them down.
I want to see a bigger role for local democracy – and more powers.
This can be done through local councils, directly elected mayors or direct democracy.
That is why we will abolish the regional assemblies and return their powers to local authorities.
That is why we will progressively abolish the ring fencing of local government money, freeing councillors to meet local needs.
That is why we will have a bonfire of targets, audit and control systems that waste time and money and sap local initiative.
And we will go further.
The residents of each police force area should elect the man or woman or the people who will call the police to account there.
Let me be clear that doesn’t mean electing the chief constable – it means either directly electing the Police authority, or having a directly elected Police commissioner or mayor.
That way, the police will know who their masters are – not the Home Secretary in Whitehall, but the individuals, families and businesses they work for. That is the way to get real neighbourhood policing.
we need a government, a society and a country that trusts people, invigorates local democracy and hands out power and responsibility to those ready to exercise it for the public good.