Letter: What we can learn from Doncaster

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The Independent Online
Sir: I don't know how you can get the impression (leading article, 18 February) that "Labour's exercise of power locally is carefully hidden from view".

It might be hidden from those whose only contact with their Labour council is paying their council tax by direct debit. But it is certainly not hidden from the 60 per cent of people in a borough like Islington who have the council as their landlord or depend on its services. Their quality of life is crucially, and on a daily basis, affected by the inefficient and often dismissive treatment they receive.

Nationally, we're told, they're a different party. But what is a party nationally but the sum of its local parts? Local government has more impact on many individuals' lives than national government.

I am not one who shares what you describe as a "consensus" that a quick fix of elected mayors and a stronger ruling caucus will do the trick. Indeed, those proposals might intensify the fundamental problem, which is the arrogance of patronage, concentration of power and top-down rule inherent in Labour's political heritage.


(Islington, Lib Dem)

London N1