ARE the Lib Dems fed up with the Town Hall headquarters in King’s Cross? I don’t mean the sale of the annexe building, although the saga of that disposal will no doubt resurface very soon, but their plans to devolve power away from Judd Street.
I’m hearing their manifesto for the upcoming council elections will try and pep up the idea of ‘area forums’. This is where decisions are made – not in the Town Hall – but on a ward by ward basis. Everybody goes to little neighbourhood meetings to decide how money will be carved up.
I asked my top Lib Dem source whether the idea was doomed from the off, that in many neighbourhoods nobody had been interested in meeting up to quibble over how to spend the £10,000 on offer at these sessions in the last three years.
‘Ah’, he said, ‘but what if you gave them some serious money, say £100,000? To decide themselves how to spend in the streets directly around their house. Take people seriously, give them some real power.’
It’s not such a bad idea, power to the people and… if you pay up, they will (probably) come. The money tree at the council must be suddenly maturing.