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The Localism Bill aka Let’s Delegate Everything Whilst we Get Shitfaced in ‘Annie’s Bar’ Bill

December 13, 2010

Far be it from me to think myself too good to make fun of a fellow man’s appearance; I’m a blogger, I’m supposed to be unkind. That’s why I’m more than happy to say Eric Pickles is as bothersome as he looks. I mean, look at the man. Imagine having to go to work every day and having to sit next to a man who looks exactly like that. Do you think you would find anything he had to say tolerable?

I haven’t found anything Eric Pickles has had to say remotely tolerable for months.

"Do I get on your nerves?"

 The Localism Bill he champions gives us all kind of superpowers. However, not necessarily the superpowers we would wish for given the choice.

Is there a council on the planet that can be bothered to set up its own bank when not even the bankers could get such a thing right?:

Is there a planner or architect around that thinks it’s wise to let “communities grant planning permission for building schemes if a majority of local people are in favour.” What if the local community want to build giant mosques? I bet in that case, the rule would suddenly develop some interesting caveats that change the word ‘local’ to ‘good, old fashioned, English and non-threatening’.

I even think it’s laugable that the bill will allow ‘people to buy locally important “community assets” like post offices, pubs, shops, libraries and leisure centres if they are at risk of closure.’

I would love to buy my local pub. Lord knows I already subsidise it heavily with my patronage. However, because I’ve spent all my money in it I don’t have any capital left to buy it. I could get a mortgage but banks don’t give mortgages to people any more. Even though it’s the people’s money they’re sitting on.

Realistically, I want to buy things that are not at the ‘risk of closure.’ Because things  ‘at the risk of closure’ tend to be at risk for a very good reason. I’d rather take on something that’s working rather well. Maybe I’m lazy.

And trust me, any ‘locally important’ service that is free for any member of the public to buy is not considered ‘locally important’ by the governement. In fact, nothing local is considered important by the governement. The only thing they consider important is power. Now they have it, they’re using it to leave all the hard work to you.

The Localism Bill stinks. No one supports the Big Society. No one even knows what it is . Yet this bill is getting shoved though parliament like a big, messy poo being forced through a toilet – it doesn’t want to go down but no one likes the smell and they just have to make it flush.

Providing me with powers to invest in local government services, but no resources to do so, is an insult to my intelligence. The undermining of Local Authorities inherently present in this bill is frightening.

What does the Local Government Association have to say about it all? Nothing. Just an update:

The government have been scarily efficient at laying the blame for society’s problems at the feet of councils when this is not completely true. Who is speaking up for us? It can’t just be bloggers, some one from officialdom needs to be the kid waving a flag in front of the tank that is Pickles.

This bill is too coneptually driven. There is no determinable demand from the public to have the powers that are in this bill. Increased responsibility comes with decreased accountability which is a problem if society is asked to deliver front line services.

How is the governement going to get the ‘unusual suspects’ interested in such unattrative offers such as running your own Children’s Centres? Look what happened with Free Schools, applications from the middle classes, applications from religious leaders, but no one else is interested. Interestingly, the one thing both these groups have in common, is agendas.

Giving Power to the People is wrought with difficulties and unfairness and as you can see, I am very far from being convinced.

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