"Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm."Malayan proverb
Tim Montgomerie's article in tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph is entitled "Can Eric Pickles force councils to do better?" and contains some interesting points that require further discussion.
Let us consider the first two of Montgomerie's questions: "Will the Coalition get a bloody nose in the local elections" and "Who's being blamed now". Being a supporter - and member - of UKIP, it beggars belief that the party do not appear to have made the best of the open goal that has been presented to them. Even locally the present incumbents that comprise the Committee of Witney branch have done 'sweet nothing' since last May. If they had not been reminded that, under UKIP rules, they had to have an AGM it is highly debatable whether they would have considered asking - as they now have - for those willing to stand as candidates to come forward for the forthcoming election this May. If ever an opportunity existed for 'inroads' to be made in the Conservative stronghold that is West Oxfordshire, the present situation is it - and it does not take anyone with a brain, especially one that is capable of 'thought-processes' to have foreseen the opportunity that will be presented this coming May, last May; and whereby, in the interim period, they could have presented their policies, especially in respect of local government and 'built-up' an electoral advantage, but I digress........
The section of Montgomerie's article, entitled "Is there anything else up Pickle's sleeve" raises another interesting and far more important question, namely that "Pickles is looking at plans to introduce two tiers of council: “vanilla councils”, that will carry on as now, and “super-councils” with more freedom to raise and spend their own money." which brings to mind this post from over a year ago - which do please read as it delves into the EU's NUTS* programme of regionalisation. (Digressing yet again, it was a post that generated so much interest that the only comment was posted in Japanese! - so much for my extensive readership!) I have yet to see any announcement by the Coalition - and Pickles especially - that Multi Area Agreements are to be abolished, so exactly what are these "Super Councils" to which Montgomerie refers? Is this Pickles - and the Coalition - trying to 'sneak' the EU's agenda for regionalisation through and under our noses? Obviously it would make the job of getting HS2 implemented far easier! Is there a 'hidden agenda' in Pickles' wish to have councils 'co-operate' in order to 'cut costs'? Just what is the agenda here, Eric/iDave?
Don't you just love this 'transparency' in government?
* It is generally thought that there are only three 'levels' to NUTS - well think again!