Saturday, 29 June 2013


No real Authority
with a rubber-
stamp quango

Those of us who believe in local people running their own community in a democratic way  do not much care for quangos.

Paticularly,  quangos that claim  to have some sort of democratic authority.

One of these  quangos  runs the Lake  District National Park Authority.  The authority is made  up of 24 members, nominated by various outside organisations including the Secretary of State for Communities.

The national park authority has recently been involved in a row at Keswick  which resulted in such newspaper headlines as:”Out of touch quango uncaring of the needs of young people” and ”Lakeland planners out of touch with national park business needs.”

Critical headlines and comments like these are not uncommon  but  the national park authority seldom replies. Now, one member has replied.

Mr John G. Thompson of Penrith in  a letter to a newspaper  defended the  national park authority and then made an extraordinary claim.

“We need to be clear that the national park authority members do represent the public`s interests”, he said in the letter to the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald of Penrith.

A  reply to this extraordinary claim has been sent to the newspaper. The letter of reply  scornfully dismisses Mr Thompson`s claim and goes on:

What we are really clear about, Mr Thompson, is that you , like the other members of the national park  authority, are  no more than a nominated representative.

In this country, the public`s interests (which you are determined to claim) are represented democratically by votes and elections, not  by rubber-stamping nominees from Whitehall, Timbuktu, or whatever.

For many centuries, local people created the Lake District we know and love today. Local people did it themselves, without the help of rubber stamped nominees claiming to speak for them.

Given  a chance, local people are quite capable of continuing this democratic process.

When are they going to get that chance?

This letter of reply was sent by a member of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents`Federation which over recent years has been critical of  another quango, Carlisle`s Riverside Housing Association, which also  has attempted to claim democratic authority.

Information about the Federation is contained in the first entry of this blog , dated March 25.

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