The New Scotland: Manchester as Policy Test Site

- - posted in Ancient Archives

An item today at Mancunian Green makes a good point: why is Manchester the Government’s first choice for testing potentially troublesome new policies? Back in the Thatcher era Scotland seemed to be the favourite for political experimentation, and now Manchester seems to be the Brown government’s equivalent: casinos, ID cards, congestion charging.

Is Manchester being favored or exploited? My suspicion is that with a strongly-rooted Labour council the government feel they can afford to get away with more in Manchester - if things work out well they gain, but if things go wrong they’ve got enough of an electoral margin to protect their councillors from harm.