Cllr David Sparks, the leader of the Labour Group on the Local Government Association has accused the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles of a "Stalinist approach" and "totalitarian tendency". Cllr Sparks was speaking to The Times (£).
Leave aside the ludicrous and offensive hyperbole of Cllr Sparks remarks. The particular absurdity is that Cllr Sparks has gone on record as opposing spending transparency. Far from Stalinist centralisation there has been more freedom for councils from central control – as well as more accountability to local residents.
Cllr parks also claims there "has been the most partisan regime" at the DCLG "that there has ever been." This is curious comment – not only as the Ministerial team includes a Lib Dem MP Andrew Stunnell. But also because Eric Pickles has been perfectly willing to criticise Conservative councils for paying Chief Executives salaries that are too high and an array of other matters – Croydon over cutting voluntary sector funding, Barnet over increasing councilor allowances, my Council over having a council newspaper. He has also praised Lib Dem councils and Labour Councils quite often – for instance over sharing services. Pickles offers a straight consistent message to councils – regardless of which Party is in control.
Cllr Sparks is paid £37,878 of public funds by the LGA for his posturing – in additon to his Dudley Council allowances. His comments are not merely untrue but the opposite of the truth.