chapter  4
The Politicization of Local Government
Pages 21

Municipal Progress offers two different estimates of the place of politics in local government in 1935. Lord Snell plays down the role of politics while nevertheless noting the existence in some areas of 'the vote manipulator who uses purely municipal contests for party political purposes' (p. 74) . For Laski however the questions raised by the issues of 'municipal trading, direct labour, the quality and character of schools, the range of public health services, [and] the attitude to slum clearance and housing' are integrally related to party politics since a council's handling of the issues depends on which party is in control (p. 85). The conflict of interpretation between Laski's emphasis on politics and Snell's downgrading of its significance was in one sense decided in Snell's favour for the politics of local government was not granted a chapter of its own in the 1935

volume and the subject appears only fleetingly throughout the book. Such hesitant or fragmentary treatment was not unusual for the time. Finer's English Local Government (1933) and Hasluck's Local Government in England (1936) were also rather reticent on the subject. So too was Maud's Local Government in Modern England (1932), though oddly enough Maud did talk at one point (p. 16) of local government as 'a local state', thus anticipating by some fortyfive years the more recent, if rather different, use of the term (cf. Cockburn, 1977). One book published in 1935 did, however, devote a specific chapter to local party politics; the book was How Greater London is Governed and its author was Herbert Morrison.