Editor's Comment

13.10.15

Money and power

Source: PSE - Oct/Nov 2015

Our front cover photograph gets across well some of the key themes we’re covering in this edition, showing as it does protesters marching past Manchester Town Hall – austerity, devolution and public service reform.

The marchers were there to make clear their feelings about government policy and cuts, as part of the demonstration at the start of the Conservative Party conference at nearby Manchester Central.

The march, which passed close by PSE’s office in Manchester city centre, attracted tens of thousands unhappy with the government, and the banners made clear that plenty of them were public sector workers who remain implacably opposed to the Conservative agenda.

Many of our features and comment pieces examine the interplay between austerity and devolution. I’d especially urge you to have a look at Professor Chris Painter’s contribution beginning on page 18, which digs below the government rhetoric (and the protestors’ chants) to examine the true state of public service reform and the likely direction of travel over this Parliament. It’s useful to read this in conjunction with Barry Loveday’s piece (page 34) on the changing relationship between police services, PCCs and local authorities, and Simon Parker’s article on ‘taking power back’ (page 65). Parker’s piece is eye-opening, and not just for his comparison of Westminster to Tony Montana from Scarface, via an evocative metaphor linking the addictive properties of power and cocaine. His new book – called, appropriately enough, ‘Taking Power Back’ – recently arrived at the PSE offices. I’m sure you can expect coverage and perhaps a review in a future edition.

The tensions thrown up by localism and austerity are clear subtexts in some of our other main focuses this edition, from housing and planning policy to transport interchanges. A-level Politics students learn that the subject boils down to who gets what, when and how – so it’s hardly surprising that so many aspects of policy, democracy and governance right now are concerned with austerity (money) and devolution (power).

You can find out more about what’s in this edition, and some of my highlights, over the page. I’d also urge you, if you haven’t already, to download the PSE app and likewise to sign up to our e-newsletter to receive bitesize bulletins with the biggest news headlines from our website, now twice a week instead of just once. More than 115,000 people from across the public sector already receive it – you can sign up for free via our website, just click ‘Subscribe’.

Adam Hewitt

Editor

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