7 August 2011

Eric Pickles - time for a reshuffle?

Eric Pickles has been in the spotlight on a number of Lib Dem blogs - including two of my favourites - Liberal England and Eaten by Missionaries for his comments on town centre parking.

Pickles place in the cabinet is somewhat of a mystery. He's not a great communicator as this clip from Question Time at the height of the MPs expenses scandal shows:

His department is also somewhat of a mystery. For a government committed to localism (and it genuinely is - partly because of Lib Dem influence and partly because 13 years of Labour central command and control patently failed) his department is struggling for a role.

Pickles seems stuck in a contradiction - abolishing central command rules on things like town centre car parking, but yet claiming at the same time it will have some magical national effect of meeting the Daily Mail agenda.

The fact is - if you stop controlling things from the centre then local authorities will do different things. And that will include banning cars from town centres, or jacking up car park fees or agreeing out of town developments at the expense of existing town centres. And that is surely the point of localism.

But the question then is - what is the point of the DCLG?

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