I Planning and professional politics The politics o f planning operates at a number o f levels: at the setting o f policy nationally and decision taking locally, where party politics and pressure group politics play a large part; in the outcome o f planning decisions, which inevitably have a political dimension; and in conflicts between and within professions. As we have seen, a profession has in itself some political influence, which is not least reflected in its attitudes to the lay public. In the case o f planning, its special function as an organ o f State policy gave it more political power than many professions. So, for instance, senior planners in Whitehall were in a strong position to influence ministers’ decisons, as the Crossman Diaries graphically show, while in local govern­ ment also, planners could actively influence, or even manipulate, policy. It contributed to their hidden power that they could do this without being accountable to the public, for they could disclaim any responsibility for decisions, all o f which were, formally speaking, taken by the elected representatives.