The Guardian carried a piece over the weekend (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2010/jul/16/whitehall-civil-servants-community-groups) that suggested senior civil servants should be put at the disposal of the community to help them challenge local authority traditionalists! Sir Humphrey is to challenge traditionalists? Am I dreaming?
No – I am once again reliving episodes, in this case, of Yes Prime Minister. In ‘Power to the People’, Sir Humphrey finds common cause with those very same traditionalists – change locally, becomes change regionally and, eventually, change nationally. The thin end of the wedge. A ‘courageous decision’ indeed.
This morning, we find out that Liverpool is to feature as a ‘vanguard community’. Aside from the slightly weird use of the Leninist language, this is amusing. I recall the enthusiasm for pathfinders under New Labour. They were all for giving power to communities – New Deal for Communities, Neighbourhood Management etc etc. And what happened to these? Did they fail for the lack of Sir Humphrey’s guiding hand? We will doubtless return to this topic over the coming months and years as it develops here.