Britain has the most centralised government in the West. This centralisation has brought levels of satisfaction with health care lower than almost anywhere in the developed world. Turnouts in elections are dwindling, as people turn to ad hoc pressure groups and direct action.
In his new book Big Bang Localism: a Rescue Plan for British Democracy, Simon Jenkins proposes a radical decentralisation of government. With John Prescott's European-inspired regionalism in tatters, Jenkins calls for a re-empowerment of the counties and cities to which people feel loyalty, with many services delegated further to municipalities and parishes. The current government talks the language of localism, but for England has continued to centralise. Giving people control over services would drive standards up, restoring faith in British democracy.