Friday, October 03, 2008
The Democracy Debate
Michael Heseltine's defence of Boris Johnson on yesterday's Question Time was a reminder of how good the old lion could be at the top of his form. Heseltine was always a supporter of directly elected mayors, on the grounds that it reinvigorated local democracy, and his endorsement of Johnson - his successor as MP in Henley - was on democratic grounds. Johnson has the mandate of the people of London, thus he is perfectly entitled to exercise that mandate over unelected officials who should still be accountable in some way. You could see Johnson's move as a narrowing of the democratic deficit by that argument. Heseltine also made a throwaway suggestion of directly elected police chiefs - a democratic step too far, or the right move to sharpen the instincts of our public servants?