The computer ate my very long post about the new White Paper, for which you should feel grateful.
Anyway to cut to the chase, the papers got some stuff I like – removing the need for “two click” policies for councillor websites, ammending the Widdicombe rules, stuff about creating better and more accessible local information, realising that information needs to flow two ways and doing some small things to help that to happen, and giving some power to petitioners to have their concerns debated in council chambers.
There’s more, much more. But, perhaps happily, there’s none of that really big structural stuff that takes years of effort to (often) little visible difference to those who’ve not gone through it. So, no changes to the voting system, regionalisation, a bit of a vague promise to think about parishing, and a small section on trying to encourage more areas to take up the mayoral model, but nothing as radical as the IPPR were advocating.
The one idea that I saw in my quick skip through (most of) the 157 pages was about offering incentives to vote, not because I don’t see the need to encourage voting, but because I think it may be the thin end of a wedge and potentially cheepens democratic engagement.
If any of that sounds interesting then go check it out for yourself.
Update: Dave points out Hazel Blears is doing a time limited blog on the White Paper, so if you have a few thoughts why not let her know. Or if you feel more comfortable there you can do the same thing on the discussion forum.