Political

Penny Mordaunt shows how centralised British politics is

Over in The Spectator, Isabel Hardman has an interesting piece on one of the policy ideas from Penny Mourdant, ones of those in the running to be the next Conservative Party leader:

One of her most striking promises is to give MPs something called ‘social capital pots’: cash to spend in their constituencies. They are part of her attempt to soothe colleagues by describing them as ‘people who want to serve’ – and to weaken the power of the Treasury. ‘I want to give you more agency to serve your community,’ she said.

This is a fascinating idea, and not just because it flatters MPs’ egos. It’s more than the ‘pork barrel politics’ some critics have alleged of the idea, because Penny Mordaunt would be significantly changing what an MP actually does. Her argument is that members are best placed to know the needs of their local areas and where the gaps in funding are.

But what’s notable absent from most of the commentary on this idea is the fact that such pots of money already exist in many areas for local councillors. Questions about whether such money will be used well, will encourage political corruption or will improve relations between the governed and the governors can all in part be illuminated by the practical experience we already have.

But as such pots of money exist in local government, it means they also exist in the blind spot for much of our political commentary and coverage.

Politics, and political news, remains heavily centralised.

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