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Saturday, 3 September 2011

More Eric Pickles Populism

Eric Pickles appears to have engaged in a characteristic piece of populism according to this report in the Evening Standard.  This sort of thing is becoming a pattern.

Firstly, attack local government by mplying that everyone who works in it is an incompetent bureaucrat out of touch with the real world.

Second, cite some atypical examples that sound extreme but don't conform to the vast majority of cases on the ground.  This was particularly successful in the case of changes to housing benefit, where a small number of families recieving outrageous sums was used to justify pushing far larger numbers of people into poverty in what even Boris Johnson described as "social cleansing".

Third, pretend that you have statutory powers to impose your will on all authorities despite this being entirely against all your rhetoric about localism.  This will be famliar from the debates around Council publicity and other debates.

Fourth, use the above smokescreen to promote a rightwing agenda.  In this case, by ceasing to gather information about race (for instance) it will be far harder for anyone to monitor whether a policy either directly or indirectly discriminates against a racial group.

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