Yes we must take back control, not from Brussels – from Whitehall | Simon Jenkins

While local council budgets plummet, centralised government gains ever more power

Take back control. After two bloodstained years in British politics, it remains the one Brexit slogan with a modicum of potency. It drips with self-righteous empowerment. It depicts remainers as shiftily in thrall to Brussels, while shielding Brexiters from the charge of mere xenophobia. It is also utterly cynical.

In a recent series of interviews for this paper, John Harris travelled the country, going “anywhere but Westminster”. It showed yet again that the poor are always with us, a familiar tale of those “left behind”, their misery aggravated by austerity. Theirs is a local Britain savaged over the past decade by massive cuts in spending on services.

Related: In Corby, life without local services is set to become a grim reality

Related: Yes, there is an alternative. These people have shown how to ‘take back control’ | Aditya Chakrabortty

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