The Tory Blitz On Local Democracy Continues

October 3, 2015

The Tories continue their localization agenda, this time by informing councils who they can or cannot procure products from:

The Guardian reports that “new rules will stop politically motivated boycott and divestment campaigns by town halls against UK defence companies and against Israel.”

“The government will amend pension legislation to make clear using pensions and procurement policies to pursue boycotts, divestments and sanctions campaigns against foreign nations and the UK defence industry are inappropriate, unless they are in line with action on a national level.”

Apparently, local councils will be banned from boycotting goods produced on the illegally occupied West Bank, in violation of international law and basic moral decency.

They will also be forced to invest the pensions of public sector workers in murderous defence companies and firms that do business with Israel, whether local people like it or not.

This is a naked attempt to defang one of the more effective ways to oppose militarism, and to attack the power of local councils to control their own pension funds. As such, it is extremely undemocratic, while all being pursued under a spurious anti-extremism, community harmony banner.

Interestingly, this attack on local government comes after it emerged that councils across the UK remain heavily exposed to fossil fuel investments. Each local government employee has around £3,000 in fossil fuel investments locked up in their pension funds and there is around £14 billion of public sector pension money in such firms.

The government don’t want councils to shape economic policy and encourage divestment from fossil fuels, any more than they want bomb manufacturers to lose out or Israel to leave the West Bank.

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