Blimey David, the startling aspect of Eric Pickles’ announcement that central government will loosen the guidelines it issues to local councils concerning the proper provision of car parking spaces is not that this modest proposal has somehow made it through the Whitehall machine but that it was ever thought sensible for Whitehall to tell the Shires how many parkig spaces could be allocated on any given high street or what fees could profitably be levied from them.

Not that this is the only example of this kind of mindless interference. There was the great question of the government’s rubbish bin policy recently too. If ever you needed a reminder that there’s plenty of fat to be burned off from the civil service remember that there are people in London engaged in issuing "guidelines" for rubbish collection in Taunton and car parking in Kendal.

Not that the last Labour government is the only blameworthy party. For all her strengths Margaret Thatcher was a ruthless centraliser and did much to lower the tone of local government. Reversing thirty years of senseless centralisation is one of this government’s more appealling tasks (in England). More power to Pickles, then even if your flabber may well be gasted by much of what he has to repeal.

UPDATE: Ah! I see Pete has been patrolling these streets too.

Tags: Eric Pickles, Local government, Localism, O Tempora, O Mores, Thatcher