The Local Democracy Debate



On 1 February Polity Press will publish Croydon activist Peter Latham’s new book arguing that the UK Conservative Government’s devolution agenda conceals their real intention: to complete the privatisation of local government and other public services. Using illustrative examples from across the UK, including the so-called ‘Northern Powerhouses’ and the Midlands, the book explains the far-reaching implications of the reorganisation of local government that is already affecting vital public services, including education, health, housing and policing. Proposing an overhaul of the taxation system to include land value taxation, a wealth tax and more progressive income tax to fund an increase in directly-provided services, the author argues that a new basis for federal, regional and local democracy is vital.

It can be pre-ordered at the reduced price of £10.39 at

This book published in May 2014 argues that austerity has left local government struggling to meet the demands for local services. It  asks ‘what are the fundamental principles that should guide decision-making by local councillors and officers?’ It seeks to move the agenda from ‘what works?’ to ‘what should local government do?’ and ‘how will its policies impact on social justice and local democracy?’.

‘Reclaiming local democracy’ examines the politics of human need and argues that local government should provide a voice for those that lack power. It avoids the dry, familiar debate about what structures and powers local government should have, instead seeking to energise all concerned to re-engage with a political and ethical approach. Written in a persuasive and accessible way, the book examines how local government can develop active citizens and make a difference to the well-being of those in disadvantaged areas – truly ‘reclaiming local democracy’.

It is available at the reduced price of  £20.79 at


Published in June 2016 ‘Locating localism’ explores the development of localism as a new mode of statecraft and its implications for the practice of citizenship. Drawing on original research, Jane Wills highlights the importance of having the civic infrastructure and capacity to facilitate the engagement of citizens in local decision making. She looks at the development of community organising, neighbourhood planning and community councils that identify and nurture the energies, talents and creativity of the population to solve their own problems and improve our world. Combining political theory with attention to political practice, the book takes the long view of this new policy development, positioning it in relation to the political geo-history of the British state. In so doing, it highlights the challenges of the state devolving itself and the importance of citizens having the freedom, incentives and institutions needed to act. It is available at the reduced price of £19.99 at


‘With trust in top-down government faltering, community-based groups around the world are displaying an ever-greater appetite to take control of their own lives and neighbourhoods. Government, for its part, is keen to embrace the projects and the planning undertaken at this level, attempting to regularise it and use it as a means of reconnecting to citizens and localising democracy.’

Published in Apr 2016 ‘Community Action and Planning’ analyses the contexts, drivers and outcomes of community action and planning in a selection of case studies in the global north: from emergent neighbourhood planning in England to the community-based housing movement in New York, and from active citizenship in the Dutch new towns to associative action in Marseille.

It is available at the reduced price of  £21.59 at

Who Controls Croydon?

My publications

Who Controls Croydon (a selection of my articles from Croydon Citizen) (£2), and

Croydon’s Crisis. Some Background Facts (50p)

are available from   (plus postage)

The contents of Who Controls is:

Economic development doesn’t just mean property (parts 1-3))

The challenges facing Labour in Croydon

How can we build a stronger community in Croydon?

Buy now – Croydon will not be this pocket friendly for long

1How sustainable can Croydon become?

Council admits that Croydon’s heritage has been significantly compromised

1Croydon’s residents’ associations: power to the people, or routinely ignored?

What do Labour’s cuts for 2015/16 mean for services?

Opportunity knocks? The Croydon Opportunity and Fairness Commission begins its work

Minerva’s no Roman goddess: a closer look at one of Croydon’s developers

All yuppie apartments and no family homes – a risk for central Croydon?

Croydon’s Opportunity and Fairness Commission gets off to a bumpy start

A better place? Croydon’s new Place Directorate gets to work on Thornton Heath High Street

Where is ‘Ambition for Croydon’?

Is Croydon’s property boom cleaning up dirty money?

It’s time to consult on Croydon Local Plan

How many flats can fit into Croydon town centre?

Croydon’s cuts begin to kick in

So far so good from the Croydon Opportunity and Fairness Commission

Whose voice will be heard at the Develop Croydon Forum?

What can be done about low wages and child poverty in Croydon?

Why worry about Croydon town centre’s night-time economy?

The challenges of implementing the Croydon Fairness Commission report

What part should social enterprise play in running Croydon?

Croydon’s New Corruption

Croydon needs to get creative about affordable housing

Volunteering won’t fix Croydon

How Brexit threatens Croydon

Will the council’s town centre gamble pay off?

What’s going on at 1 Lansdowne Road?




About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Local Democracy Debate

  1. Pingback: Croydon events from 4 June | History & Social Action News and Events

  2. Pingback: Croydon events and news at 27 September | History & Social Action News and Events

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s