what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

DIY Government


The UK Conservative manifesto apparently contains a commitment to give citizens more of a say in running government – introducing Swiss-style referenda; election of police chiefs; allowing parents to take over failing schools. Jon Henley of the Guardian suggests that this is part of the larger trend of DIY in society which, he argues, is creating mediocrity. The piece is worth reading. He would appreciate this picture of Kyrgyzs in the office of the President they had just helped oust!

I don’t, however, agree with his argument and found my own thoughts chimed more with this reaction to another article on the issue -
My heritage is old Labour friendly and mutual societies and co-ops and the Workers Education Association, and Mechanics Institutes. It's about people volunteering to be school governors, or magistrates or simply keeping an eye on the old lady that lives on her own. It's about the old miner that gets his mower out to do the bit of grass at the end of the road that the council always forget - because he has pride in his community. It's about self help and helping others. It's about communities deciding to do something for themselves rather than waiting to have something done for them.
It's a community idea. It should be our idea. If we were really left wing it would be our idea and we wouldn't have left a hole there for the Conservatives to fill with this version. Why have we now decided to tell people that they can't run anything themselves and they need some bureaucrat to provide services for them. And why do we wonder people don't bother to vote.

For more see here
Yesterday we paid our local taxes at the village municipality– 25 euros for the house and 20 euros for the acres of land we have around the house and up the hill. The latter is about double what it was last year – and about time! The village needs more resources. Still no resolution of the water metre and installation issue which the mayor promised us would be settled at the start of the year.
Then drove to Predeal for Daniela to catch the train – via one of the antique shops in Rasnov. As a result, I am now (again) the proud owner of a music keyboard. I bought a new one 15 years ago in Mojmirovce (Slovakia) and donated it to the Methodist Church when I left. This one I negotiated for 100 euros. There was also a very solid armchair for 40 euros – but too large for the Cielo. It will have to await the new 4-wheel!

A few blogs back I said some kind words about Ploiesti – here is their municipal website
Despite the latest Amazon delivery, I’m waiting for the next box which will contain Tony Judt’s latest book “Ill fares the Land”. The new issue of New York Review of Books has just arrived in my electronic mail and contains an excerpt from the book.

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