Chance to make changes

Fareham’s Liberal Democrat Party today announced candidates for election to Fareham Borough Council.

Our local elections this year (on May 5th) will give voters across Fareham Borough their biggest ever opportunity to change the Council’s priorities for the next two years.

This year will see major changes in many parts of the Borough.  After decades of service, LibDem Cllrs Roger Price, Gerry Kelly, and Jim Forrest will be stepping down and helping younger candidates in their wards – although Roger Price will continue serving as a Hampshire County Councillor.  

Community Power

Liberal Democrat candidates are standing in all sixteen seats – see full list linked here. 

All our LibDem candidates are trustworthy residents dedicated to serving the needs of local people.  They care about sustaining local services and attracting investment into the local economy, whilst adapting to, and minimising, the challenges of a changing climate

Editorial enquiries should be directed to media@farehamlibdems.org.uk  

or call 07714 325 657 

As an election communication this notice  is published on behalf of the Liberal Democrat Party by Cllr Roger Price of 49 Sissinghurst Road, Portchester, Fareham, PO16 9YB

The Bland Leading The Bland

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It is a fine production, this glossy, expensively sponsored, statement of the bleeding obvious.  ‘Accelerating Net Zero’ – getting CO2 under control before we lose it completely is a mighty good idea.  But this report is a classic of penny-dropping moments.

In our over-centralised state, the management of pretty much everything is rooted in averages.  Whitehall and Corporate HQs insist that ‘what gets measured gets done’.  So, they insist on measuring everything and then reducing the data to averages – with perhaps (if we’re lucky) a touch of regional granularisation.  The resultant plans are no more than pretty average, and the end results ‘below par’.

After wondering why so many grand intentions heralded by central government so often have such little effect, the crack team of consultants conclude that it might perhaps be a better idea if they let local government crack on with the job – and (steady on) fund them accordingly.

It is, no doubt, a triumph of analytical endeavour – calculating the market impacts of a ‘place-based’ plan versus a ‘place-agnostic’ approach.  Why did anyone ever imagine that Whitehall knew best?  How did they imagine that government policy should not be community-based or (deep breath) people-based?  Are the citizens of Fareham to be regarded as units of productivity?  Is that what Minister Gove means by ‘levelling up’ – a flattening to conform to some base average? 

The relegation of local government to the status of cost-reduced branch offices of UK plc is a serious waste of talent, poor leadership, and an ignorance of the great diversity and variability of local community needs.  More than that, for an existential issue like responding to Climate Challenges, it might almost be construed as deliberate action avoidance.  

Municipal Autonomy is only understood wherever it is practised – but not anywhere in Europe’s most over-centralised State.

Democracy Made in England

A major report from the Electoral Reform Society

In less frenetic times, this report would have grabbed headlines – but attention has already been cornered by outrageous events in Ukraine.  Those distractions are, no doubt, mightily convenient for the current cabal who pretend to power in Whitehall.

The report should be required reading for all Liberal Democrat candidates for local Elections next May.   There is only one name on the report’s cover – lead author, Michela Palese, Research and Policy Officer, Electoral Reform Society.  At first glance you will see this is not the outpourings of some single tortured soul, but the collective views garnered from a cast of hundreds drawn from across the political spectrum.

There is no doubt that this report is timely as Gove’s Levelling Up White Paper wends its way around Westminster – not only failing to tackle underlying democratic deficiencies but making them worse.   The hearing-impaired government of the most over-centralised state in Europe cannot even attend to the pleas of those who voted for them.

Michela’s report has two broad thrusts – the need for a resettlement of local citizen engagement and the now urgent need for voting reform with proportional representation. For both, the focus is squarely on the most locally abused – the citizenry of England.

“As we saw during the pandemic, it is our local councils that are on the front line of so many of the issues that face our communities – yet, as we’ve found, too often our local representatives find themselves powerless in the face of Westminster’s centralising control.”

My own selected highlight of this report is on page 58 (of 110) where Table 3 shows contrasting representative ratios.  Focus please on the column headed ‘Persons per Councillor’ – a range from 220 (Sweden) to 3,300 (England).

Even Tory Councillors in Fareham are constantly complaining that their hands are tied by Westminster – by the government they as individual Tories urged us to vote for.

There is no substitute for reading this report and arming yourself with the essential reasoning for Proportional Representation and greater municipal autonomy.