This week saw the John Smith Memorial Lecture given by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, previously Local Government Minister.
Mr Miliband, you will recall, was the champion of “double devolution” of powers to local government. In other words, that the Labour government should remove their dead hand of centralism with all its tick box mentality and fragmented, ring fenced funding, and trust local councils to understand best what their local communities want.
Mr Miliband admitted that “the shift in the balance of power from Whitehall to Town Hall has not yet happened”.
After years of driving out savings and efficiencies, sharpening services and engaging with our consumers, it seems councils have been hoodwinked and conned.
We’ve created a pile of spare cash for central government to do the complete reverse, building empires, creating obstructive bureacracy and wasting public money on a stream of ill-thought, half baked and unneccessary ‘initiatives’.
No change there then.