Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

Some readers may be interested in a paper I've just published with the Centre for Policy Studies advocating wholesale reform of the police, health service, schools, universities and local government to reduce bureaucracy, enhance freedom and restore power to the electorate to chose how you want your local area run. takes you to the site where you can download a free copy.

We received positive coverage in various national newspapers including the Telegraph and News of the World...

I attach an article below I wrote for eGov Monitor explaining why I wrote the report:-

"I worked for Sir David Arculus when he chaired the Better Regulation Task Force, which in 2003 published Regulation – Less is More.

This was adopted by Tony Blair, as the radical proposals we offered for cutting back the administrative costs of regulation appealed to his desire to do good. When I left the BRTF, I was pleased with what we had achieved but concerned at the destructive effect which excessive bureaucracy and regulation was having on many parts of society. Having explored in The Costs of Regulation, some of the reasons why regulation is so corrosive of society, I came together with Jonathan McMahon to develop some practical proposals for enhancing public services without excessive regulation or bureaucracy. We recommend reforms which we see as crucial if the next generation of British citizens are to experience a society which, rather than being broken, is both free and resilient.

In our report for the Centre for Policy Studies, Jonathan McMahon and I have set out how huge layers of bureaucracy and regulation can be swept away. We challenge a notion of central control that is deeply embedded within the consciousness of too many involved in politics and working in Whitehall. In particular, we do not accept the idea that for the public to have the standards they want, policing, medicine, education and social care need to be run centrally from Whitehall. We do not accept that we need tens of thousands of bureaucratic functionaries to check that standards are appropriately set and met.

In writing our report, we have spoken to many senior and junior professionals within the public services. We were depressed at the tales of enveloping bureaucracy inhibiting dedicated people from doing their best for fellow citizens but heartened at the reception we received and encouraged by the fact they wanted to help us set out a vision of a better future. We were struck by how many senior and junior public servants were convinced that, if they were given freedom to manage, they could use the same resources so much more creatively to deliver better results for our citizens.

In our report, Jonathan McMahon and I offer an alternative of high quality public services without the “nanny state” which has developed in recent years. Our alternative is premised on trusting those who are qualified, trained and also passionate about providing public services to do the right thing because it is the right thing and delivers the best result possible, not because some bureaucrat is holding a big stick over them. Our notion of trust is not a naïve one. Rather it is one which is based in local communities. We argue for local people to make democracy work for them by electing those who oversee the public services which are provided in their locality. These elected representatives would have expert support but would be accountable to their electors rather than the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. We are also supportive of efforts to create diversity of supply where it is practical to do so. In doing this, we are building on a corpus of old style liberal and conservative literature arguing for returning power (and budgets) to people and dismantling the overly powerful centralised state which is so corrosive of societal resilience.

Our measures are practical and could be picked up by politicians of any colour (we were, incidentally, most impressed by some of John Hutton’s statements when he was at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform). And, crucially in these hard times, they would save money – by as much as £15 billion by our estimates. But even more importantly, by creating a better balance between government and citizens, our public services would be significantly improved and our society as a whole would be enhanced.

Freedom for Public Services by William Mason and Jonathan McMahon is published by the Centre for Policy Studies."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

St Richard's Hospital - Partial Victory ?

I am optimistic that St Richard's may yet remain a major general hospital. I think (though I don't know) that the suggested administrative merger may well have been developed as a result of the robust line which your Chichester District Councillors have taken in supporting a judicial review of the Primary Care Trust's decision to downgrade St Richard's Hospital.

I am not going to comment too extensively as much is still uncertain. Our official press release summarises our position: (

"District Council welcomes Fit for the Future 'suspension'

Chichester District Council has welcomed the decision by West Sussex Primary Care Trust to suspend the Fit for the Future (FFF) proposals. The suspension follows the announcement by St. Richard's Hospital and Worthing Hospital that they are considering a merger.
Myles Cullen, Leader of Chichester District Council, said,

'The District Council has always maintained that the FFF decision was fundamentally flawed and not in the interests of the residents of Chichester District. The District Council provided a very large volume of evidence to support the case for St. Richard's Hospital. '

'The Council pressed for the FFF decision to be referred to the Secretary of State and now that it has, the investigation by the Independent Reconfiguration Panel should continue, despite the suspension. In addition, the application for Judicial Review would continue.'

Myles Cullen added: 'We want to see the FFF proposals withdrawn by the PCT, not just suspended.' "

South Downs National Park - Another Letter Please

As I thought might be the case, whilst Hilary Benn continues to be the cabinet minister responsible for national parks after Gordon Brown's reshuffle, we have a new junior minister Huw Irranca-Davies MP who will actually take the decision on whether Rogate, Milland and Linch will be part of the Proposed South Downs National Park or left exposed to development. Please could you take a few minutes to write to him to tell him to leave our villages in the park. His address is:-

Huw Irranca-Davies MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Nobel House
17 Smith Square

I'd suggest saying much what you said in your letters to Jonathan Shaw last year (if you have them to hand in paper or electronic files). Alternatively please have a look at the South Downs Campaign Website (Go to then click on "take action") for further information and suggestions on what to say.

We look as though, against the odds, we are winning on St Richards Hospital. Let's hope we can do the same with the National Park.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cutting Regulation - Promoting Freedom

Our country is suffering greatly under the burden of regulation. If we want to be a free society and lead worthwhile lives this needs to change. I've recently published a paper on how we must act. Please see for the paper.

St Richard's Hospital

It's hugely disappointing to hear the news about St Richard's hospital. I consider the decision to close large parts of it to be of questionable logic to put it mildly.

Please Email:
<> or <>
or Phone: 0800 707 6975 to protest.

The Executive Board of the District Council will be meeting early next week to consider what action we can take as a council to inhibit the closure of much of St Richards.

Please look at for information on what you can say to members of the Primary Care Trust in support of the case we are all making against closure. To lose King Edward VII was bad enough. To lose it and St Richard's is little short of a disgrace.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Let's Welcome Boris

I've enjoyed attending the Milland and Rogate annual parish meetings over the last month and talking to some of you. It's great that we have such vibrant local communities with so many different activities taking place which help make many peoples lives worthwhile and enjoyable. Here at least we still have a community.

We face many challenges with the South Downs protected status, the future of our schools and St Richard's Hospital. Many (though - to be fair - not all) of the difficult issues we face are indirectly caused by the Labour government in Whitehall which has shown nothing but contempt for England and Englishness in its eleven years in office.

Today is a great day because we can celebrate, with the election of Boris, the beginning of the end for the Marxist socialist clique which has done so much damage to our society and country. For the first time since 1997 we have a Conservative, dedicated to the interests of ordinary British people, in a position of serious power rather than a politically correct idealogue dedicated to "special interests". I've spent quite a few hours over the last month campaigning for Boris because having someone running our capital who doesn't loath the countryside and who thinks about hard working people who live in the country but work in London will be good for all of us.

Don't get me wrong, there is much still to do and many wrongheaded liberal and socialist ideas which still require challenge. The next two years will be tough - both for hard working people (as the credit crunch - caused in many respects by Labour's economic policies - bites) and for the Conservative Party as Gordon Brown fights like a cornered rat to stay in Number 10. Nevertheless, for the first time in a long time, we have someone civilised in an elected office.

It was so nice to see Boris confront an aggressive and ill educated BBC interviewer in the early hours of this morning with a lesson on the Arian controvesy. He has proved that getting elected no longer requires you to be a politically correct mouther of platitudes with strong links to the underclass. That is great for our democracy as we need intelligent people with a sense of history involved in public life. I wish him well as he tries to deal with some of the awful problems which confront London.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rogate School II

Further to my blog on the WSCC consultation on Rother Valley Schools, the District Council passed the following resolution at the Full Council meeting on 25th March 2008. This resolution constitutes the formal position of Chichester District Council on the Rother Valley Schools' Consultation by West Sussex County Council. You will see that the District Council formally asks the County Council to reconsider its conclusion that Rogate School is not viable,

"Accordingly the resolutions were as follows: That Council supports the restructuring of primary education in the Rother Valley to implement the change in age of transfer subject to:

(a) Appropriate supervision on school buses to ensure the safe transport of young children between home and school;

(b) Reassurance being given to all school staff and head teachers that they will be fairly treated in any redeployment that follows restructuring; and

(c) A re-examination of the viability of Rogate and Northchapel as all-through 4 to 11 schools.

(2) That Council supports the establishment of an academy to replace the three existing secondary schools subject to:

(a) In appointing the senior leadership team of the academy, the claims of the senior leadership teams of the three schools are given special consideration;

(b) The new local governing body contains strong representation of parents and the community; and

(c) The academy in its outreach work with primary schools makes provision for specialist teaching skills for Year 6."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

South Downs National Park Enquiry

I gave evidence on behalf of Milland, Rogate and Linch at the South Downs National Park Enquiry in Worthing today. I summarised the points which I made in my letter to the Secretary of State (which may be found at Nigel Johnson-Hill also gave evidence on behalf of Milland Parish Council.

In summary, we argued that the Rother and Milland Valleys were special places, worthy of inclusion in the National Park on their own merits. We attacked the distinctly misguided statements which the County Council has been issuing against the National Park. I refuted some of the points that the inspector had made in his report on the National Park where he argued against the inclusion of both the Rother Valley and Milland Valley. I was impressed that he (he is chairing the enquiry in person) was prepared to listen to both Nigel and I. He appeared genuinely receptive to our points and arguments.

We need to continue to work to ensure that we make our feelings on the need to preserve our part of England known. I'm optimistic that right will triumph over narrow self interest and that we will secure the Weald and Downs for future generations of our countrymen.

Happy Easter,


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Preserving Village Schools

I know that many of you are concerned by the proposal by West Sussex County Council to close Rogate School. I attended the open meeting at Rogate School where we were addressed by the County education officer and was impressed by the degree of public support shown for the school.

To be clear, WSCC is entirely separate from Chichester District Council. I am your District Councillor and the County Council is i/c schools, not the District Council. Nola Hendon, your County Councillor, is leading the campaign to keep a primary school in Rogate. I support her campaign.

For my views on how I think our primary education may best evolve, please see my letter to Mr Dunn at the County Council at