There is much fanfare being made today about the Government proposals for local government. Read the news and you might start thinking that this represented a massive change in the relationship between Whitehall and Local Government.
Using phrases like "double devolution" sounds very snazzy, but they mask the disconcerting part of the proposal. The Government make it sound like they're repatriating power to the local people, but the reality is they're trying to consolidate power to smaller and less accountable political elites.
Take for example the desire for directly-elected mayors. The argument the Government put forward is that this creates a directly accountable link to local people. However what it really creates is an effective local dictatorship. Lewisham is a case in point.
In Lewisham they have a Labour directly-elected mayor who has a casting vote in a Council where even with his vote Labour have no overall majority. Lewisham is an effective dictatorship as a result. What Steve Bullock wants, Steve Bullock gets, the fact that the majority of local people might be against simply doesn't matter. Directly-elected mayors make a mockery of the democratic process, they do not enhance it.