There is an old Mexican saying that if you drink the water then you will stay. Meaning if you stop for even a short period you will be captivated by the place. But in view of the state of the water supply it might be more appropriate to say that you need a strong stomachache to live here. When I think of how local government use to be and how it is now I think of old Mexico and the need for a robust constitution in order to keep working there.
If you were comparing your local authority to a country where would it be and why? Somewhere small and relatively prosperous with a good life expectancy and a comparatively narrow gap between the rich and poor like Norway or Sweden. Somewhere with stable government, an efficient administration and a good quality of life like Germany. May be you think things are a little more volatile, certainly a modern European country but not as smooth running as some, you’re thinking of the recent refuse strike that saw black bin bags piled high on every street corners ,the pot holes in the road and the local school fund raising to fix a leaky roof. Somewhere like Italy ? You’re probably not thinking of one of those South American countries, things aren’t that bad. But then again your probably not thinking Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Well we’re not China and we’re defiantly not North Korea are we Russia?
Could a large county council that in recent years has enthusiastically embraced outsourcing be compared to Russia. I would have compared some of those small London Authorities to Hong Kong due to their entrepreneurial spirit and semi independence but we have all been reminded that it is not a country but part of China. Perhaps Singapore is a better example of the small rather well off but authoritarian high tech London council. No chewing gum and no rough sleepers!
I am sure you could come up with better comparisons so why not have a go.
Blair Mcpherson former local authority director, author and blogger www.blairmcphetson.co.uk