Newsletter winter 2010
The Financial Times wrote a good review of Andrew’s and my book Eminent Corporations, our attempt to do for corporations what Lytton Strachey did for Victorian heroes. The book has also been in th W H Smith business bestseller shelves, though seems to be less in evidence right now. The link here is for a sign up, but it is at least free.
Is payment-by-results actually possible? Or will it, as I argued in this RSA contribution, actually mean in practice a return to the bureaucracy of targets that Whitehall believes it has left behind? The problem is that the causality and the precise responsibility for complex changes are impossible to pin down without very complicated rules.
That is what I said at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool. The Localism Bill is a major step forward, but the problem with politicians is that they tend to think that localism is just about taking decisions or voting – their own idea of perfection – when all the rest is impossible without local economic life as well. And that requires local banks.
The real problem about localism for Whitehall is that it begins to put the purpose of their ministries of state in doubt. Why do we need the Department for Communities and Local Government? Isn’t it time that Eric Pickles took his Bill to its logical conclusion and torched the place, or so I said in my Town & Country Planning column.
There is a kind of revolt under way, and it isn’t the student protesters – it is the revolt against government by industrial machine, McKinsey-style big government and the faceless state. The most important thing for the Liberal Democrats, for their long-term success as a political party, is to be on the right side of this revolt. Or that’s what I wrote in Lib Dem Voice.