Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shut Up & Do What You're Told.

Labour Councillor Bob Piper, decries the lack of member participation in his own party. Given his demonstrable lack of judgment this might seem like a good thing in his particular case. However in general it highlights the lack of accountablity of the upper echelons of the political class. The Conservative Party is no better than Labour in this regard, for instance earlier this week the Party pretended to allow its members to choose the candidates for the next European elections.

This seems like a simple enough task, send out forms to members and let them put a cross next to the names of the candidates they support and then count the votes. However the leadership decided to make the process so byzantine in complexity that the authors and commentators over at Conservative Home's 'Seats and Candidates' blog find it to be highly dubious:
The exclusion of the whole membership from vetting incumbent MEPs, restrictions on hustings, the preferential treatment of women candidates so that they have leapfrogged men who won more votes, the confusing nature of the voting process that has led to large number of ballot papers being spoilt.
Now when the writers of a Conservative supporting blog dedicated to covering candidate selection don't understand the process by which the Conservative Party 'elected' their MEP cnadidates then this is a clue that something is up. Unsurprisingly the Europhiles did rather better than might have been predicted by an observer. The man who oversaw the process was John Maples, a keen Europhile.

Both parties are baffled by declining interest in politics and membership of political parties.

This lack of accountability would be bad enough if it just concerned how they managed their internal affairs but this is not the case, Wellingborough Councillor Tony Sharp explains over at his blog how local government works in England:
Wellingborough can choose up to 35 local priorities from a long list of actions on which money can be spent. However 28 of the priorities are being imposed on us. That leaves seven priorities we can identify. But even then, the money is shared around the county, so Wellingborough's needs may not be addressed as money could be allocated to somewhere in Corby or Northampton as a 'more deserving case'.
In other words local councils don't represent their constituents' wishes but instead largely administer tasks that are set for them by unelected Quangos who are accountable to no one. Both parties are equally mystified by the low turnouts for local elections. Iain Dale also points out the increasing use of faux 'Consultations' which end up 'consulting' a few hand picked lackeys who approve of whatever schemes the Quangos which to push through. In this case it involves the minor matter of allowing several Norfolk villages to be flooded, I guess all those webbed toes will come in handy now.

The end result of all this is that Britain is run by bureaucrats who are too distant to run things well and have little or no incentive to listen to the public and a select group of politicos who are willing to dedicate their whole careers to climbing up the greasy pole high enough so that they can actually be the ones to appoint the bureaucrats. There is little or no role that concerned citizens can play in how the country is run. In fact British citizenship consists of shutting up and doing what you're told.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

faux 'Consultations'

All politics - all what you can get away with.