26 September 2010

I'm looking through you....

My friends in Whitby sent me a rather interesting questionnaire which they are circulating amongst the councillors up there. They are seeking to establish if their councillors agree with a statement made by our Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, and quoted recently in the Guardian and Observer. Mr Cameron's words were: "For too long, those in power made decisions behind closed doors, released information behind a veil of jargon and denied people the power to hold them to account. This coalition is driving a wrecking ball through that culture - and it's called transparency".

Obviously Mr. Cameron has been an avid reader of Muck&Brass but events in Somerton over the last three years show that there is one important element missing in Mr. Cameron's statement and that is an explanation of just how is he going to hold 'those in power' to account. I would like to see Mr. Cameron (along with his ConDem colleagues) put his money where his mouth is and deliver the accountability that he suggests has been so long denied.

Thus far, we've heard an awful lot about how the ConDems are going to dismantle our regulatory bodies but nothing about the regulatory mechanisms that they are going to put in their place. My challenge to David and his colleagues would to present mechanisms which really do deliver accountability. Mechanisms which can't be circumvented by weasel words and excuses as so often was the case with the 'expenses scandal'.

But I doubt that David and his colleagues will deliver such mechanisms because, in so doing, they would inevitably make themselves accountable and that would be far too democratic. Thus delinquent councils like our old Somerton Town Council and its membership can breath a sigh of relief. They will probably never be held accountable for the Etsome/Tin Dunny transaction and the consequential loss to the community. But it wasn't their money, was it?

Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly