molly scott cato 4george morran mediumLWM’s George Morran called last year for further democratisation of Birmingham and now, in an area being subjected to a boundary review, Professor Scott Cato –  a Stroud councillor – questions how well we are represented compared with our European neighbours:  how much do we, as ‘the home of democracy’ and children of ‘the mother of parliaments’, invest in our elected representatives.

Dr Scott Cato summarised the comparisons in a report carried out recently by academics at Birmingham University:

  • in France there are 118 citizens per elected member
  • around 600 in Italy and Spain,
  • 1075 in Greece.

In the UK it is 2603: the largest number of any EU country. We are the least well represented of all, and yet the politics of austerity is being used to reduce our representation even further.

She continued:

”The politics of austerity has many political objectives but an important one you learn about quickly as a local councillor is its use as a mantra to incapacitate you. Anything you might want to do cannot be done, you are told, because we are living in a time of austerity and nothing can be afforded . . .

“(H)ow can local politicians perform well when the areas they represent make no sense and are too vast to be comprehended?

”I have reached a point of fury in debates over the cost of democracy when I have to bite my tongue to stop myself pointing out that Mussolini may have appeared cheap but the less-than-immediate costs were rather higher.

“The fact that this thought even occurs suggests the desperate state of our democracy and the way the politics of austerity is being used to undermine it further”.

 Dr Scott Cato’s blog, ‘What Price Democracy?’ may be read here: http://gaianeconomics.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/how-public-is-public-money.html

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