Fringe Box



Letter: We Do Need Better Government That’s Transparent and Competent

Published on: 7 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 7 Aug, 2023

From: John Rigg

Former R4GV borough councillor

In response to: If Councils Had the Power to Raise Local Taxes…

I welcome Ben Paton’s letter as we really need to think outside the box. However, how do we ensure we have elected councillors capable of making quality decisions on Ash Road Bridge, Walnut Bridge and Weyside Urban Village representing capital spend of £750 million? I agree they are not good examples.

This applies to central government too: HS2 – £100 billion wasted; Stonehenge Tunnel – £1.7 billion PPE £x? billions) while they leave a major crossing in the capital, Hammersmith Bridge, closed and in disrepair for years.

And if politicians happen to make good decisions are there administrators capable of executing them efficiently (again Ash Road Bridge, Walnut Bridge, HS2 etc)? It does not appear so.

As voters, we should support those who wish to improve the systems of government making them not only more transparent but more competent. The reason some of the most impressive debates are in the House of Lords is because many arrived there after successful careers in their industry, profession, and other careers (plus many others who, sadly, didn’t, if they even turn up).

Other countries seem to have systems that produce so much better government while being no less democratic.

So I welcome Ben Paton’s ideas but the issue across government in my view is raising competence alongside transparency.

And a final point will good people be attracted to these roles as long as unregulated social media with its fake news is where most get their information. Voter apathy is manifest. They don’t seem interested in seeking the facts, most don’t even understand the difference between borough council, county council and Westminster.

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