Labour's decison to defer democracy: Is Blair running scared?
The Green Party have today reacted angrily to news that Whitehall officials have told council chiefs they are considering cancelling the May 2007 polls because of possible plans for a local government shake-up.(1)
Peter Cranie, Green Party Elections Co-ordinator, comments: "This is typical of the Labour government's pre-emptive approach to running the country's affairs - reducing public consultations to a PR exercise. The White Paper on local government reform is not due until November 2007 - a full year and a half away - yet it seems clear the government have already made up their minds that not only will it become law, but that local elections will be re-structured in anticipation of this.
"Mr Miliband claims he 'wants to hear people's views', that no decision has been made and public consultations are to follow, but we've heard it all before. The decision to go to war in Iraq had been made well in advance of any open discussion of the issue; a similar game is being played with nuclear power and the current DTI energy review. (2)
"It beggars belief that Mr Blair feels able to simply postpone democracy because it suits him. With waning popularity for the Labour government and rising support for the Greens, especially in areas such as Lancaster and Norwich, could he be running scared?
"The current FPTP system is bad enough - Labour were 'elected' to power on just 22% of the electorate's support. But any decision to simply defer democracy in this way smacks of manipulation. Is it any wonder people feel disillusioned with politics?"