Friday, 12 November 2010

Why Dave loves 'localism'...

One of the more ambiguous terms (and, with "national interest, potentially the most disingenuous) deployed by the Coalition is 'localism'.

For all its positive connotations (boosting local democracy, bringing accountability closer to the people, empowering communities) there is the cold reality - the decimation of national standards and protections and the creation of a commercial free-for-all in major parts of society.

So, for example, in health care, the body that does more than most to keep medical treatment costs down and protect taxpayers from funding ineffective medicines (NICE) is neutered in the name of 'freeing' doctors to make local decisions, but in reality significantly tipping the balance of power in the direction of big pharma.

And, in the case of our national parks, it appears that 'localism' could also mean scrapping safeguards against commercial development of sites of important natural heritage.

The political Right is very astute at deploying friendly-sounding language - 'freedom', 'empowerment' - to smooth the transition to an unfettered free market.

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