July 12, 2010
IT TAKES TWO MEN TO MAKE ONE IRON LADY:
We'll transform Britain by giving power away: Dealing with the deficit is vital, but the real mission of the Coalition is to give people control over their lives (David Cameron and Nick Clegg, 12 Jul 2010, Daily Telegraph)
Whatever the differences that exist between us and our parties, we both passionately believe in giving people more power over their lives. It has become increasingly clear to us that we can be a strong, reforming government if we build outwards from the instincts we share.Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2010 5:58 AM
But our commitment to give power away isn't just born of instinct; it has been strengthened by the evidence of the past. For decades, governments have assumed that the only way to make things better is to centralise. Of course, central government has a crucial role to play, but it cannot and should not try to do everything. It's time for the central state to allow the genius of grassroots innovation, diversity and experimentation to take off.
We know this won't be easy. We know that the political machine has an inbuilt tendency to centralise. That's why we are bringing in a new way of coordinating government action. Last week we started publishing Structural Reform Plans, one for each government department. Don't let the dry name fool you. These are radical documents that are going to change the way government works.
Each government department has its own plan, with a list of objectives and deadlines to achieve them by. So far, this might sound like the last government with its Public Service Agreements and Prime Minister's Delivery Unit. The difference is in what we're asking departments to do – not to control things from the centre but to put in place structures that will allow people and communities to take power and control for themselves. In place of the old tools of bureaucratic accountability – top-down regulation and targets – are the new tools of democratic, bottom-up accountability – individual choice, competition, direct elections and transparency.