Tower Hamlets council, those masters of spin, have now reached new heights of cynicism, with their version of participatory budgeting: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgsl/851-900/867_council_-_consultation_-.... In short they have decided to throw £200K in used fivers (no comment on what these are left over from) to the proles who can 'decide' what they are to be spent on. Here's a few comments about this:
- We haven't any control over the agenda, so this isn't really participatory. For example, I'd like the mayor to sack his friend:
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/localgovernment/2008/09/something-rott... this saving us about £300K per year, there's no button for that though
- All of the options are to do what they are already paid to do, so we proles are dispensing £200K of our own money to compensate for their inefficiency and low productivity. Perhaps if they spent less time on their hobbies, such as their 'newspaper'?
- The activity is delivered via the LAPs (local area partnerships) murky, expensive (freedom of information hasn't delivered me any sensible or supported figure, perhaps there's no proper budgeting at all?) and undemocratic outgrowths of a murky council. Recently they've set up a 'selection' process to replace community activists by sheeple and parachuting in councilors as vice-chairs
- £200K is nothing considering the enormous waste in other areas, about £1m for their 'paper' for example, but there's no button for that either.
- Places are 'limited', troublemakers are excluded and artificial scarcity is created, part of their core incompetencies
Personally I'm now disengaged from all these sham activities until they stop their spin (unlikely) and start to actually engage (instead of hiring engagement officers, LAP managers, diversity officers etc.). Their actual spend can probably be reduced by about 20%, but there's no button for that either.