Saturday, 21 April 2012

Labour's non-local election campaign

Ed Milliband was in our area on Friday. He, at least, acknowledged that there was a local element to May's election, before going on to tell people to send the Coalition a message, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

By contrast, Peter Hain got straight to the point when launching Welsh Labour's 'local' election campaign last week: ''make 3 May a referendum on this unfair and disastrous budget".

The Shadow Welsh Secretary asserts that these elections should be used to pass judgement on the UK Coalition Government: not exactly a primary factor when asking the electorate who should be delivering their local services and providing direct support to local communities, is it? First Minister Carwyn Jones even let slip that Welsh Labour hadn't bothered to pull together any form of manifesto that their local teams could use in their campaigns.

They have long viewed local government as an inconvenience, an obstacle to their centralist policy agenda rather than a vehicle for empowering communities to shape decisions locally. Rather than give them the freedom they need to design and deliver responsive support to their residents, successive Labour-led Welsh governments have presided over rafts of legislation requiring local authorities to do more of their bidding, without necessarily giving them the resources to deliver their requirements.

Welsh Labour's disdain and contempt for local government is laid bare for all to see.

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