Business Eye: Where do we go next?

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt

Is it just me or do you also have flashbacks about some of the stuff we were taught at school which has proven almost clairvoyant in nature?

Take George Orwell, whose line “All the animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” all but defines the human race and its approach to itself.

Orwell also introduced us to Big Brother long before the plague of CCTV and the arrival of Google Maps.

In 1984, he predicted the rise of political correctness through “Newspeak”, an attempt to change language in order to change politics, through “Thoughtcrime” which branded dissident thinkers as enemies of the State, and via “Doublethink”, the power to forget any fact when it becomes inconvenient but later to rely on it when necessary.

All three are alive and kicking today.

My favourite Orwellian wisdom is “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations”.

With this in mind the emerging debate about the shape of local government is a subject already unpopular with a narrow group of the self-interested.

Firstly, this is going to be much more important to each of us than it has been in the past as more power and resource is going to be devolved to the local level. Secondly, the current 5 Council structure for Bucks is not sustainable, is unaffordable and doesn’t give places like Buckingham, Princess Risboro and Wendover a strong enough sense of influence over their destinies. On this all agree.

Thirdly, it seems clear that the Shire Counties are being sidelined for investment when compared to the northern cities like Manchester, Liverpool. Leeds and Sheffield. On this we all agree locally.

Where we disagree is on who should decide where we go next. Political Parties which have a vested interest in keeping as many foot soldiers gainfully employed around an election, or local councillors who we would have to ask to vote apolitically and suicidally for Christmas, or should we ask for an independent commission to make recommendations on a balanced view, perhaps followed by a referendum?

What is certain is it is that this is too important to leave to vested interests in smoke-filled rooms.

There go a few more Christmas cards.