In a powerful editorial, the Guardian has written a persuasive piece on the dangers and problems with one party states in local government, e.g. places like Newham. Making a case for electoral reform, the editorial says that the ‘key culprit is the first-past-the-post system still used to elect councillors in the vast majority of English and Welsh wards. The smaller and more homogeneous the geographic region in which this system is used, the more likely these one-party states will emerge. This creates a democratic deficit on a number of levels’.
It goes on to say: ‘When councils face virtually no opposition, the lack of scrutiny – compounded by the decline of local journalism – makes autocratic government more likely. Decisions end up being taken not in the open during formal council meetings but in back rooms. The doorstep campaigning so critical to keeping councillors in touch with their constituents can trail off, as entrenched local parties take voters for granted and opposition parties put in little effort.‘
Democracy Triggered certainly supports the argument that there exists a serious democratic deficit in local government, and in Newham it is damaging the credibility of the Labour Party locally.
You can read the full article here.