Undermining local democracy

THE NEWS that Eastbourne Borough Council has committed itself to Big Society ideals and has pledged to cut back on ‘in house’ services (Herald, February 25) must come as no surprise given the limitations placed on its freedom to decide these matters as a result of the policies of the Coalition Government.

The enthusiastic response of the town’s MP, Stephen Lloyd, however gives me cause for concern.

I believe that his understanding that it is ‘about people working together to find better ways for their community’ fails to take into account the agenda being aggressively pursued by Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his hard line Local Government and Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.

It is abundantly clear from David Cameron’s recent speeches and the actions of the Government that they are pursuing an ideology that is determined to undermine democratically accountable local government.

While it would be foolish to object to local authorities co-operating with one another and with the voluntary sector in the provision of some services any large scale privatisation will inevitably lead to a further loss of democratic accountability.

At a time when only about one in three among the electorate bothers to vote in local elections it is essential local councillors are seen to be directly responsible for the quality of services provided to the public.

Otherwise the entire concept of local democracy is seriously undermined.

It is disappointing that both our local council and our MP seem prepared to meekly surrender to the dictates of the Coalition.

Is there not one local politician out there prepared to make a stand on behalf of local democracy?

John Carmody

Royal Parade