Paul Wheeler is director of the Political Skills Forum and writes on local politics
Metropolis didn't have a happy ending
As the threat of COVID begins to lift there are some difficult questions ahead, says Paul Wheeler. He asks how much more difficult will recovery be for city centres 'if a significant number of well-paid workers never spend time or money there'?
There may be trouble ahead
While the tectonic plates of politics shifted decisively in Shire England after Super Thursday, there are potential problems ahead for the Conservatives, says Paul Wheeler.
Paul Wheeler looks at how the Super Thursday electoral feast is shaping up. He highlights the key trends that are marking these ‘postal vote elections’.
Displaced residents will distort Census 2021
The extent of economic migration from cities is disputed, but other short term COVID-induced trends can and will distort Census 2021, says Paul Wheeler.
Time for some good news
Paul Wheeler reports on a company based in Oldham that believes in the town and want to be part of its future.
This hidden housing scandal has a specific human face
Pretty soon the shadow of the COVID crisis will lift - and hopefully the Grenfell inquiry will report one day - says Paul Wheeler. At some point soon we need to address the appalling record of the major builders in this country, he adds.
Size isn't everything
If the advocates for 'big unitary' paused for a moment they may want to address the democratic challenge of creating too few councils with too many councillors, argues Paul Wheeler.
'Glacial and ungracious' change to a more local track, trace and isolate programme
'We have the grotesque spectacle of a spatchcock national track and trace strategy administered by remote and costly private organisations struggling to match phone numbers to names', says Paul Wheeler.
Enjoy summer as it’s not looking good for the rest of the year
The Government seems to have fallen in love with the idea of big unitary councils and elected mayors, says Paul Wheeler. But this enthusiasm for re-organisation is grim news for the multitude of mainly Conservative district councils, he adds.
Local government can look for powerful allies
Winston Churchill famously remarked ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’. Paul Wheeler says we should use this current one to rebuild a local government that is properly funded, ambitious and a strong advocate for localities.
Our national state and its agencies are incapable of responding to a crisis
We need a slimmer, more strategic central state and one that relies on local initiative and capacity, argues Paul Wheeler - and 'hopefully we can get that right before the autumn and a possible second wave of the pandemic'.
Local government has earned its place at the debate table
Local government’s heroic efforts over the last few months have earned it its place in the public debate on what we have learned from this pandemic - and on what sort of society we want in the future, says Paul Wheeler.
Political control of our councils matters
Paul Wheeler looks ahead to the elections expected in May and the parties' political prospects – and says that on current polling trends this set should be a good one for the Conservatives.
Government must now connect with the 'just about managing'
This government has made many commitments, especially to the new Tory heartlands of the Midlands and the North, says Paul Wheeler. These will need a determination and sense of purpose that has been lacking in previous administrations, he adds.
Support right across the political divide
In the middle of a ‘brutal’ General Election campaign, Paul Wheeler pays tribute to the Local Government Association’s 20 years of cross-party political leadership programmes and peer reviews
More diversity among recent US election candidates bodes well
Attempts to increase the range and diversity of election candidates in the US build on the work of the Local Government Association (LGA) Be a Councillor campaign, says Paul Wheeler.
'If you want to see my achievements look around you'
It is the four political offices at the LGA who have ensured consistent political support and the effective ‘hidden wiring’ to identify the local talent among their councillors and provide the vital follow-up and mentoring, says Paul Wheeler.
Lessons from the collapse of Bury FC
The sad demise of Bury FC will hopefully provoke a long overdue debate on how English football is governed, says Paul Wheeler.
Time to wake up
Paul Wheeler says the ‘slow death of capable local political leadership’ is hopefully a wake-up call to parties to invest in and support local politics.
'Mean, nasty, brutish and short'
A recent reunion of the original cast of the late Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) has led Paul Wheeler to ponder the 'barriers and pitfalls that have been erected in the path of future progress'.