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  • in reply to: Wrexham Hospital and the Tory's (Andrew Atkinson) #131475


    Alun H, you do realise it is blasphemy to even mention that the health care systems in some other European countries are better than the NHS. And to imply we could learn from the Dutch or Germans? Man that is like inciting people to revolt. You do know the NHS is the envy of the entire world so we clearly have no lessons to learn from our continental cousins. The fact they achieve better outcomes is unimportant!!

    in reply to: Boundary reorganisation #95980


    But referendums are only held when politicians want the electorate to endorse a government policy and think they’ll win. If they think they’ll lose – no referendum.

    in reply to: Boundary reorganisation #95888


    Not before time. They ought never have undone Clwyd in the first place. All that’s happened since is overlapping of services often too small to then be efficient. Oh …. plus the incessant growth of vanity of the likes of Mark Pritchard.

    I’m just relieved someone didn’t decide to have one authority across North Wales. I suppose we should be grateful for Betsi for something.

    For what it’s worth the Council “civilians”, even at the very top levels, have been preparing for this for a good while, but the Councillors themselves have been instructing them they must not. I suppose they are concerned about their very lucrative lifestyles.

    But what is being proposed isn’t a new Clwyd, even if the boundaries end up being similar. Clwyd was a two tier county comprised of a county council that delivered county wide/strategic services such as education, highways, strategic planning. Below that there were 6 district councils that provided services like bin collections, local planning etc.

    The post 1974 counties such as Clwyd and their districts may not have been perfect, but it recognised that some services should be delivered on a county wide basis whereas others were more local in nature. What are likely to get is one large council delivering both typesof services. But the risl is local services are no longer local.

    in reply to: Boundary reorganisation #95837


    In this country we seem obsessed with efficiency but have translated that as meaning fewer and larger units of administration. In doing so we haven’t stopped to ask ourselves what each level of administration can or should be doing. Lots of things, like open space and even some aspects of local planning and perhaps even mamaging or at least comissioning primary school provision and local health care provision (e.g GP surgeries or health centres) could be carried out by town and community councils. I hear some of you laughing loudly, but it isn’t such a crazy idea. ‘They’re too small’ I also hear some of you saying. Maybe, but there are ways around that which doesnt require abolition, merger or services to be provided by the next tier up, or by central government.

    To draw another comparison with Europe. The German State of Schleswig-Holstein has a population similar to Wales. The state parliament probably has more autonomy than the Welsh Government also. But, just like Wales some decisions are taken by central (in this case federal) government.

    S-H is divided into 11 rural districts (serving an average of 255,000) people and 4 urban districts (serving an average of 154,000 people) – in all Germans states except Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin, large towns over a certain size can become urban districts. The rural districts are further divided into municipalities that are responsible for a wide range of local services. In several German states, including S-H many small municipalities have the right to exist but are grouped into local federations with neighbouring municipalities so that it is cost effective to provide services. Essentially they benifit from economies of scale whilst retaining some local idenity and autonomy. France has a similar arrangement for its commmunes.

    So as in Wales, in S-H there are 4 levels of administration (excluding municipal federations) – Federal government (in Wales this = Westminster), State (in Wales, the Assembly), district (in Wales, counties and county boroughs) and municipalities (in Wales community councils). But the lower 3 all have more power than their Welsh counterparts. The structure in S-H is genrally the same accross Germany. And if you have ever been to Germany you will know they have better services than we do. And a better, locally delivered, health care system.

    Securing devolution for Wales was a step in the right direction in terms of power being decentralised within the UK. But whilst Wales now has more control over its own affairs, power has yet to be decentralised within Wales. If these changes go through, as I am sure they will, Wales will become more not less centralised.

    in reply to: Boundary reorganisation #95825


    This will give Wales some of largest primary tiers of local government (by population) in the Europe, if not the world. Whilst it might be popular to knock existing authorities, but fewer authorities mean less voter influence and gives Welsh government more control. Which is really what it is all about.

    Just to give some examples.

    The average population of 8 Welsh authorities will be 382,932, compared to:

    Average population of Dutch municipalities: 43,051

    Average population of Irish Counties: 148,696

    Average population of French Communes: 1,993

    Average size of German municipalities: 6,719

    There are also more tiers of local government in the Netherlands, France and Germany as well as regional and state governments in the last two respectively. On the face of it perhaps lots of politicians, beauracrats etc etc. But diffusion of power is a good thing. It means decisions are made at the right level and the higher tiers (and the centre) can focus on the more strategic issues. We just don’t ‘get’ local government in the UK, because we don’t actually have local government. We have councils chasing and administering central targets.

    in reply to: Don't just not vote…..VOTE for NONE! #93364


    Id go one step better. There should be a none of the above option on the ballot paper. If that option gets the most votes, none of the other candidates are elected. Some alternative way of slecting an MP would then be needed but whatever option is used, the main parties would be banned from putting up the same candidtates in any subsequent by-election.

    in reply to: Retail Development at King’s Mill Public House #72697


    @metalhead 19413 wrote:

    I have no idea what happened in this instance Benjamin but I do know what happened at Marford. I suppose most are probably unaware that the Planning Inspector at Marford was booked for Whit Holiday Week when there were no school buses running (or using the 2 stops directly in front of this location) and Chester Road is abnormally quiet… That’s all history now but that ruling will probably now set a precedent for future appeals in the Wrexham area…

    It’s almost as if you imply that the appeal date was ‘booked’ to the advantage of the appellants. If that is what you are implying then it couldnt be further rrom the truth. Appeals are scheduled to coincide with the availability of the Inspector, Council officers, the developer’s representatives and a venue to hold the appeal.
    There are also deadlines for appeals to be processed.

    I am pretty certain the Inspector knows what an area outside a school is like during term time. Also, would they have seen anything different had they visited mid-morning or early afternoon on a school day….probably not.

    in reply to: Council Mergers #70835


    @sheefag 18309 wrote:

    If the alternative is the Welsh model, then I profoundly disagree.

    At least Wales has a directly elected assembly, what ever it’s flaws. An elected government is something denied to England.

    The problem with Wales is power was devolved to the assembly but got no further. So Wales is governed in a similer manner to the Westminster model (I.e. the centre knows best) albeit the centre, for devolved issues at least, being Cardiff.

    The problem for local government is that it has no constitutional status. It exists at the discretion of the Welsh government. It has no right to exist and the Welsh government has every right to do whatever it likes with boundaries.

    in reply to: Council Mergers #70834


    @The Monitor 16801 wrote:

    I notice that areas throughout the UK are being given more local powers. This equates to a greater division of areas into More authorities, and greater local democracy. This in turn leads to a more democratic representation at the higher levels of government.

    How is it that the Welsh Assembly Government is working in reverse to this policy by proposing to force the merging of local areas and so reducing the democratic process in Wales?

    I think it is obvious which procedure I support.


    This only partly true. There are moves towards devolution in England but it is only in some areas. England is not being divided into new authorities. The combined authorities that have been formed are, with the exception of the North East, just an unelected joint authorities that take on a strategic role over the areas covered by the former metropolitan county councils that existed from 1974 to 1986. They dont have the same powers as the Greater London Authority. None have directly elected assemblies and only one (Greater Manchester) will have a directly elected mayor.

    There are, currently, no similar proposals for the rest of England. The two English counties bordering Wrexham (Cheshire and Shropshire) underwent local authority MERGERS in 2009. If anything, the trend in England is likely to be for more mergers – the abolition of some of the remaining two tier authorities in favour of unitary authorities is an idea which just wont go away. This would be achieved via the merger of districts into unitary authorities and abolition of counties (as in Cheshire) or the abolition of districts and the establishment of a county wide unitary (as in Cornwall).

    Finally if we look at England, it doesnt even have its own elected government. It is governed by the British government. This is profoundly undemocratic. The governance of England is in far more need of reform that Wales, which at least has its own devolved assembly.

    in reply to: Cyclyst using the pavement #71679


    WCBC propose using stingers to catch cyclists using pavement. A vote winner?? If I had the time Id stand for election.

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