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15 Jan 2020

If local government embodies representative democracy, Big Local areas are bastions of participative democracy, championing the cause for a ‘flatter’ society. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and both have a role to play in the running of local life; but in order for communities to thrive, a balance must be struck between the two.

Weaving together remarkable stories from Big Local areas, David Boyle paints a picture of what healthy local democracy can look like. When the scales of local power are levelled to give local institutions the space, respect and support they need to get things done on their own terms, we see the budding signs of communities regenerating.

Before, we were a bit of an anomaly to local politicians, but now they are beginning to believe in us. It is about building relationships over a period of time… Democracy begins with ourselves realising we have some power over our own lives.

About the Author
David Boyle

David is the author of a range of books about history, social change, politics and the future. He has been editors of a number of publications including Town & Country Planning, Community Network, New Economics, Liberal Democrat News and Radical Economics. He is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation.

Listen to the podcast

This episode explores the tensions and opportunities of a functioning local democracy and the culture shifts that are required to achieve a healthy power balance between local authorities and communities on a national scale.

Listen to the podcast online