Leading Article: The rot always sets in locally

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The Independent Online
How seriously should we worry about the junketing Labour councillors of Doncaster? Isn't junketing an ancient town hall tradition - a venial sin, deserving finger-pointing and red faces? We think not: a public culture which blinks at local misbehaviour becomes hardened and cynical, so that when worse corruption at national level is exposed, we hardly care. Rot begins with a small, innocent-looking spot; and spreads.

Labour is guilty this time. But there are lessons for the Tories. First, these things happen in one-party regimes. Second, council junketing is the sort of thing second-raters get up to. Why don't we have more first- rate people in local government? Because the Government has steadily stripped it of power.