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From New Labour to the Big Society
Author: Hugh Atkinson

There is a widespread view that local democracy in Britain is in deep trouble and that people face a crisis of civic engagement and political participation. This book counterweighs the many negative accounts that seek to dominate the political discourse with talks on political apathy and selfish individualism. It commences with an examination of theoretical debates as to the meaning of local democracy and related concepts. The book looks at the policy agenda around local democracy in the context of the developing nature of central/local relations since 1979. It considers the available evidence on level of political participation and civic engagement by looking at eight themes. These include the state of formal politics, forms of civic engagement, community identity and the emerging world of the internet/world wide web. The book also looks at nine key aspects of the reform of local democracy over the last fifteen years, including local democracy and the New Labour reform agenda; the constitutional position of local government; and double devolution. It focuses on the so-called 'crisis of formal democracy' at the local level. The book ascertains the recent developments beyond the realm of elections, political parties and formal political institutions. It then concentrates on local services and policy attempts to widen public participation in the shaping and delivery of such services. Finally, the book discusses the concept of sustainability and regeneration strategies to build sustainable communities, both physical and social.

An agenda for change?
Hugh Atkinson

of the Labour government being both contradictory and uncertain at times. Yet the mood music, notwithstanding the occasional discordant note, was softer in tone. There was, it appeared, the potential for a more vibrant local politics. In this context, the chapter focuses on nine key aspects of the reform of local democracy over the last fifteen years: local democracy and the New Labour reform agenda; the constitutional position of local government; double devolution; the citizen engagement, neighbourhood and empowerment agenda; civic engagement, neighbourhood

in Local democracy, civic engagement and community
Abstract only
Resources of identity
Arthur Aughey

’ (Hain 2003). Localism would be permitted, as Parris thought it would be, only within very strict limits prescribed 2981 The politics 23/1/07 10:01 Page 161 Region: resources of identity 161 by the centre. Three years later and the Minister for Communities, David Miliband, was arguing for ‘double devolution’, a strategy that presented itself as a synthesis of both Hain’s thesis and the Tory antithesis – the handing of power not only to local government but also to individuals and communities, ‘a different form of accountability: direct to the citizen, rather

in The politics of Englishness
Georgina Blakeley and Brendan Evans

regarding economic development and employment. 148 The regeneration of east Manchester future of their area, good decision-­making structures and private sector leadership. There is also the implied device for central control that those cities which opt for elected mayors, a panacea favoured by the Coalition Government, may acquire increased power (Marrs, 2011a: 12). Despite the invocation of localism and even of ‘double devolution’ by both the Coalition Government and its predecessors, the  onus is still on local government to prove that it deserves more power

in The regeneration of east Manchester