Monday, 23 August 2010

More Post-It Note ConDem government

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Government has big feet - at least we can assume he has the way he goes around trampling all over people. We can also assume he has an equally large mouth - since his feet frequently fit into it.

He’s done it again; this time accusing the Audit Commission of wasting thousands of pounds at Newmarket Racecourse. It turns out that they had a conference there, and Newmarket was the most cost effective choice of venue (no races running, but the way). Pickles isn’t around to apologise for his wrongful accusation; instead they put up minister Bob Neill to take the flack . . . this frequently being the job of ministers.

This is the first time I’ve come across Neill; my impression was that either he was appallingly under-prepared or that he’s defending an unthought-through position. Full of loud bluster, he sounded mighty uncomfortable.

He had no defence of Pickles’s statement . . . there may well be none. He focused only on the proposed abolition of the Audit Commission. One of the things that’s marked out this ConDem administration is their lack of thinking beyond the ‘scrapping’ policy. Neill had no facts nor figures to support this AC abolition other than being certain it would save money. Nobody mentioned the free-market word; but his entire policy is based on this. That is, that we put the audit commission roles into the private sector and competition will drive down prices.

That Neill was speaking under-prepared or unthought-through was further substantiated when, towards the end of his interview, he put forward the idea, out of the blue, that Audit Commission staff might want to try a staff buy-out.

More post-it note government.

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