The ‘sticky’ stuff

By Jonathan Werran | 26 October 2021
  • Jonathan Werran

In the latest edition of the London Review of Books, Ferdinand Mount makes the point that although the UK has successfully bequeathed strong models of federalism and decentralisation to the Commonwealth and post-war Germany, within the country itself, the issue has ‘remained a fad for pointyheads’. Amen to that.

A few years back, when Localis published Hitting Reset – a case for local leadership our set piece report on reforming central/local relations, the central idea was that it would be beyond endurance, if, after enduring the Brexit water torture years, the divorce from Brussels merely resulted in Whitehall vesting all the repatriated powers. At the panel launch, Sir Simon Jenkins, who served on the Redcliffe-Maude commission and made an impassioned appeal for ‘Big Bang Localism’ some 15 years earlier made the honest – if wounding – observation that another hopeful report piled on top of all the others laid on over the years wouldn’t make the Treasury change its views or mind. For that we surmise, more direct action might be necessary. Or a change in perspective to the hyperlocal as a focus for change.

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