Any suggestion that David Cameron really believes in local decisions by local people as implied by his disingenuous English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) discourse can be dispelled in the actions of one of his friends. Eric Pickles, the so called Minister for Communities and Local Government should be at the forefront of the EVEL agenda. Sadly the true agenda behind EVEL is simply to stop Labour MPs from voting on issues that the Tories want to introduce. It has nothing to do with decisions that impact you and I being taken by representatives we elect. Mr Cameron and Mr Pickles really want all decisions to be taken by people who think like they do.
Last week Mr Pickles was speaking at a waste management conference and once again raised the issue of how frequently our bins are emptied. The bins in Brighton & Hove are already emptied every week, although todays strike by refuse workers may impact on that for at least this week. However I don’t believe that the MP for Brentwood and Ongar is better placed to know what is best for Brighton & Hove, any more than I am to know why the £7M facelift of Brentwood High Street has left the pavement in the state it is in the above picture. Of course any failure is due to the work of Essex County Council, rather than Mr Pickles personally, but he should at least be part of the resolution of this problem rather than pontificating about bins in other communities. The same Mr Pickles has recently blocked plans for several windfarms that would have otherwise gone ahead, on the grounds of disruption caused to the local residents, this reflects attitudes within the national party against on shore wind farms rather than local decisions by Councillors. Yet he recently prevented a local authority from blocking the approval of a School on the grounds of the disruption the School would create for local residents. It seems that Schools cause the right sort of disruption! All the while Mr Pickles was making decisions about Schools and Windfarms in all corners of our nation, the High Street in his own constituency is in the mess shown above.
It is time for the nature of our democracy to be thoroughly refreshed and reformed. My own starting point is LVLD or local votes for local decisions. If we can stop people like Mr Pickles from poking their nose into how often our bins are emptied (or not as the case may be) perhaps he can get onto the job of getting something sorted out for Brentwood High Street! It was after all £7M of public money, Mr Pickles is usually very keen to ensure that public money is spent well!