At the Pleasure of Parliament: the Politics of Local Reform in Britain

  • Douglas E. Ashford

Abstract

For more than a century local government has been at the heart of major controversies over institutional reform in Great Britain, and for over a century British politics has always managed to procrastinate making a decision. Even the Local Government Act of 1972, the product of nearly three decades of debate (with no major action), is little more than a compromise forced on central government by the immense inefficiencies and inadequacies of a local government system that had remained essentially unchanged since 1888. In this respect, the issues and outcomes surrounding local reform efforts in Britain are perhaps the best illustration of the inability of modern British politics to adapt its venerable tradition of democratic governance to the needs of the advanced industrial state.

Keywords

Corn Depression Europe Transportation Amid 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    The nature of the constitutional constraints is fully discussed in Nevil Johnson, In Search of the Constitution (Oxford: Pergamon, 1977).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See Douglas E. Ashford, British Dogmatism and French Pragmatism: Central-Local Policy Making in the Welfare State, ( London and Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1982 ).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Bryan Keith-Lucas, The English Local Government Franchise ( Oxford: Blackwell’s 1952 ).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    See my essay, ‘A Victorian Drama: the Fiscal Subordination of Local Government’, in Douglas E. Ashford, ed., Financing Urban Government in the Welfare State (London: Croom Helm, 1980) pp. 97–118.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    See the Goschen Report, Reports and Speeches on Local Taxation ( London: Macmillan, 1872 ) pp. 2–51.Google Scholar
  6. The Late Victorian Report which is very similar is the Fowler Report, House of Commons Papers, vol. 27, 1893, pp. 1–111.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Josef Redlich and Francis W. Hirst, Local Government in England, vol. 2 (London: Macmillan, 1901 ) p. 446.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Frank Smallwood, Greater London: The Politics of Metropolitan Reform ( New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965 ) p. 306.Google Scholar
  9. 22.
    Department of the Environment, Organic Change in Local Government cmnd 7457 (London: HMSO, 1979).Google Scholar
  10. 23.
    J. D. Stewart, S. Leach and K. C. Skelcher, Organic Change: A Report on Constitutional Management and Financial Problems (Birmingham: Institute of Local Government Studies, 1978) p. 55.Google Scholar
  11. 24.
    See C. D. Foster, R. Jackman, and M. Perlman, Local Government Finance in a Unitary State (London and Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1980).Google Scholar
  12. 35.
    Samuel Huntington, Political Order and Political Decay (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Donley T. Studlar and Jerold L. Waltman 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas E. Ashford

There are no affiliations available

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