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Free Cricklewood

August 27, 2009

This is my favourite local government story for a long, long time.

Cricklewood is making a bid for freedom with a campaign to move the area from the borough of Barnet to neighbouring Camden.

Apparently the Save Cricklewood Campaign is petitioning the Boundary Commission to make this happen. Now, I know there’s a lot of serious issues at play here, none of which I’m qualified to talk about. I don’t know the ins and outs of the new Brent Cross Cricklewood Development, I don’t know how many residents actually support this campaign and I certainly don’t understand the grave complexities that I’m sure attend any boundary change.

But nonetheless, I love this.

Partly because as a proud Camden resident it gives me a warm glow (give us your huddled masses etc), but mainly because I think it gives us a preview, albeit a slightly crazy one, of how things might be if localism really worked.

People would engage with the performance of their council and compare it with the performance of others, people would engage in debate and seek to influence how their council worked. People would not just accept what they were given but would work to improve it. They would vote with their feet, their wallets and their ballot papers.

The net effect of this would not be, as many have argued, a random post code lottery, but a universal driving up of standards.

So I for one am fully behind this campaign. People of Cricklewood, we salute you!!

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