Its such a pity that the inimitable Eric Pickles, who as leader of Bradford Council during the 1980's announced a five-year plan to cut the council's budget by £50m, reduce the workforce by a third, privatise services and undertake council departmental restructures that weakened the Councils ability to deliver services, has been placed in a position where his private ideas can be publicly delivered in order that society remembers him for something.
He and his running mate, Liberal Democrat, Andrew Stunell MP who defends him at every turn, have shown that they are completely out of touch with reality when it comes to Local Government Finance and understanding how it can link to austerity measures.
The pair clearly don't comprehend that Councils must invest to realise efficiency savings. Also that some Councils who have pre-absorbed their ideological thinking and taken on Public Private Partnership's to assist with those efficiencies still need to pour money in to get results out, yet their cuts are just as large if not larger than others, take Liverpool's joint venture with BT as an example.
Some of their strange ideas such as chief executives taking pay cuts to save front line jobs or sharing backroom services as a way of protecting frontline services, these minor things would help of course but in Northumberland we have taken out £105M over the last four years and have agreed efficiencies and spending reductions today that are above £11M. This from a Council containing Englands highest levels of sparsity and some of the most deprived wards in Britain.
Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said: "I'm sure Northumberland and its people would agree to follow Pickles and Stunell and if we paid our Chief Executive £29M per year, had a back room as big as Blackpool Tower Ballroom and staffed at Red Army levels we could comply with their wishes, as it is, LGR and the last Labour Governments performance management targets, cut out all the fat, We now have the vultures picking over the bones telling people the chemicals their made of can be sold off to the private sector."