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Local democracy in Northampton gets a good blogging

So I pop in to Guido’s, and at the top right, item (as of now) one in the Seen Elsewhere section, is a link to this short posting at the UK Libertarian Party blog:

The Taxpayers Alliance have reported that the Lib Dem Northampton Borough Council have awarded themselves a 7.7 per cent wage increase despite a black hole in their budget.

A Lib Dem Councillor on being told that the story was on the Taxpayers Alliance Website, said its ok we have had an expert in who said unless it was reported in Guido Fawkes we should not worry about stories on Blogs.

Alas, the writer of that posting, Guthrum, is unable to reveal his source.

Meanwhile, the comment war sputters along at the original TPA posting, tax cutters trading abuse with selfless public servants who argue that if councillors are paid only peanuts the results will be ever more simian. But I reckon the problem goes deeper than that. What with all the statutory obligations now piled upon local councillors, these people no longer actually make local decisions; they merely oversee the local versions of decisions made by others, in London and in Brussels. They are the local arm of a nationalised or EUropeanised industry. Few who are even sane would want a job like that. Hence the following, from a TPA commenter:

As one who lives in the very town itself, I have to say that one of the most upsetting of this mob is one Roger Conroy, a skeletal gnome with appalling teeth who sends out these sort of low-rent Pravda newsletters featuring endless blurry photos of himself hanging around public places looking like a mendicant, pointing at things which particularly offend him – holes in the road, paving slabs, squirrels, that kind of thing. The last one included him pointing at a tree stump, and proudly declaring that he’d forced the council to remove said tree as “a security risk”.

And nobody sane would want to spend all his spare time quarrelling with someone like that. Whenever anyone tells me that the Lib Dems are becoming semi-sane, I picture someone like Conroy and say to myself: no they aren’t. To Samizdata’s American readers, i.e. to most of them by the sound of the comments these days, let me add that not everyone in the UK behaves like Conroy, or thinks like him. Besides which, you too also have the occasional Community Organiser wandering around trying to get noticed, do you not? But I’m guessing yours have better teeth.

9 comments to Local democracy in Northampton gets a good blogging

  • Kev

    I often hear that argument about paying public servants more to attract more talented employees.

    I wonder what these people would think about taking that a bit further and kicking the vast majority of them out of their jobs, and keeping only the most talented people on at very high salaries. Kind of like Singapore, if I’m not mistaken.

    I’m guessing it wouldn’t go down too well…

  • IanPJ

    Same thing going on in Hull and East Riding.


    There really is this fantasy going on. Recession?, what recession? Oh, don’t worry, the taxpayers will cough up again.

  • Gareth

    The problem with the ‘got to pay lots to attract the best’ mantra is simply: When it comes to re-advertising a job but on much improved pay, the current incumbent is often a shoe in. They have the most relevant experience. Even if they are crap at it.

  • MarkE

    I’m not sure I want the “best” person doing some jobs because most of the sinecures created by Gordon over the past eleven years don’t really need doing. Do you really want an effective five a day officer telling you what you should be eating; an effective real nappy officer telling you what to put on your babies backside; an effectinve diversity officer telling you your house has to burn because they’ve filled their quota for putting out white fires? I’d far rather have the weakest candidiate who actually wants to sit in a nice comfortable office doing nothing all day. [I’d prefer not to be paying them at all, but if I must I want to minimise the damage they do]

    As for elected politicians, money is not what motivates them, so they would still want the job whatever it paid. What attracts them to the job is the opportunity to exercise power over others (which does not mean they are averse to lining their pockets as an incidental benefit).

  • Brian

    Council reform – machine gun or flame-thrower?

  • Kevin B

    I actually think you’re doing our esteemed public servants who labour in the fields of local government a bit of a disservice here.

    Thanks to our wonderful higher education system with it’s emphasis on ‘Studies’ degrees, we have a plethora of young people who are ideally suited to the kind of hard jobs in the local community that no one has bothered to perform before.

    Take, for instance, Lesbian Outreach Co-ordinators. I’m willing to bet that we have the best Lesbian Outreach Co-ordinators in the world. Well, certainly the most.

    Now, as we head into parlous economic straits, our army of trained local government workers can lead the way into recovery.

    I can think of any number of counties in the world who are in dire need of Lesbian Outreach Co-ordination services, even if they don’t know it yet, and Britain is ideally placed to provide these. and many other, vital services to the betterment of all.

    So how about a bit of praise for the far-sighted policies of our government, who have placed us in the enviable position of having a ready workforce superbly trained in the kind of jobs that are really necessary for our economic survival in these parlous times.

  • steves

    if councillors are paid only peanuts the results will be ever more simian

    if poilitico’s are paid more than peanuts you get career politico’s who know nothing else but robbing the taxpayer and creating more parasites

  • Paul Marks

    I am a member of a local council – but I still do not believe the idea that if we were paid more there would be better results.

    As for Northampton (a few miles away from me in Kettering) – even by the standards of local government it is a mess.

    For example they had a massive argument over a seat – not over a electoral seat, over a chair.

    No I am not making this up.