2010: localism and governing ‘with the people’

The body politic faces two overarching and intertwined challenges in 2010 and beyond. The first is to begin to restore the public’s trust in the people they elect. The memory of the parliamentary expenses scandal will linger long in the public consciousness. Councillors can rebuild the political system by establishing strong local foundations, through honest dealings with the electorate. This will be the key to meeting the second challenge: public sector spending reductions. Councillors must lay out local choices and engage the public in agreeing local priorities. Some services must be maintained, others enhanced, but in many areas of spend there is a need for the public and their elected representatives to make tough decisions. No longer can government be “done to” the people, the future is governing “with the people”.