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To shrink the state councillors must be held to account

DevenishCllr Tony Devenish, a Westminster City Councillor, says Conservative councillors who "go native" should face deselection

If I had a pound for every time  Con Home blame Cabinet Minister x or y for 'waste' after another Taxpayers Alliance study had been reported in the press and debated on Con Home I'd be rich!

But whilst we rightly decry Whitehall, EU and Quango waste stories, reader’s accountability must start at home with Local Government, still 25 % of all Government spending. Two 2013 examples: a CCA (Conservative Councillors Association) day and a selection meeting illustrate that our activists still need to get a grip on their own elected councillors to account for sloppy behaviour and slap down the propaganda of town hall Sir Humphries. Had Uncle Eric been in the room, the offenders may well have been literally sat upon (and deservedly so).

Offender A: a County Council Cabinet Member thought he would curry favour by attacking Eric for the '£20m alleged gap in his (£1.4 Billion) budget if he didn't put council tax up by 1.99%'. This so called Tory was adamant that his wealthy home county would starve (I scanned his CV to see when he worked for the BBC, but he claimed he was a businessman and banker).

Offender B, to be fair, knew his officers were behaving appallingly, a Home Counties district council leader, he was trying to merge his HQ with the adjacent former Lib Dem (and thus skint) district council buildings. What was the problem? Officers were outraged that average travel times to work would increase by twenty minutes a day to a merged office.

You (would hope) three years into a Coalition Government and eight years since the recession begun this nonsense would only occur in Labour local authorities. But these two are true blue areas, why do Tory activists seldom hold councillors to account at re-selection?

Recently I set out a number of steps to attack such waste. But unless true blue constituency associations challenge their councillors it seems many will still go native.


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