By Paul Goodman
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This is a rolling blog on the Steve Hilton depature.

10.30pm Update The Economist's Janan Ganesh honours Hilton's work:

"The state will look very different in 2015 than it did just five years earlier. As well its shrunken size, the majority of secondary schools will be independently run, almost all police constabularies will be answerable to an elected official, a handful of cities will have their own mayors, and more government data will be published than in almost any other country…it is hard to believe that such a rapid dispersal of power would have taken place without Mr Hilton and the force of his personality." 

Screen shot 2012-03-02 at 22.33.078pm Update @SteveHiltonGuru has acquired a new atavar (see right).

James Forsyth suspects that "this [will become] a more cautious government both administratively and politically."

"Now that Hilton is gone, three people will take on even greater influence in the Cameron court. One, as Fraser said, is Jeremy Heywood. Another is Ed Llewellyn, Cameron’s chief of staff, who viewed Hilton’s combative approach to the government machine as counter-productive. The other is George Osborne, who — alongside being Chancellor — is the man planning the next Tory election campaign."

6.30pm Update: Here is the Downing Street statement –

"Steve Hilton will be taking an unpaid academic sabbatical at Stanford University, starting this summer and returning next summer.

"With his wife and young family, Steve will be moving to California. He will join Stanford as a visiting scholar at the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and will also be a visiting fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He will spend his year on campus teaching, researching and writing, and will focus on innovation in government, public services and communities around the world.

"He will work with a wide range of centres and organisations across the university, including FSI’s Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and The Europe Centre; the Graduate School of Business' Centre for Social Innovation; the Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society; and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design."

Fraser Nelson blames the EU:

"Take Hilton's policy to actually reward people for recycling, rather than penalise them for putting the wrong rubbish the wrong bin. It was stooped by objections from Caroline Spelman's Environment Department, who said this defied EU Law. It didn't. Hilton had to send it back and fight for days over what should have been a tiny move. He began to conclude that political power in Britain is a chimera…Hilton estimates that a quarter of the work No.10 has to do is a result of orders from the European Union, which is what has led him to favour withdrawal. But as he knows, his boss has no appetite for confrontation with Brussels."

Benedict Brogan asks who will talk Tory to David Cameron:

"Mr Hilton's true importance is as an ideologue, as Mr Cameron's political conscience. There is no one as robustly Thatcherite as Steve in Downing Street….By losing someone who was so unequivocally on the side of the voter and against Big Government, the fear must be that the balance in No 10 will tilt towards more political pragmatism. From his desk outside Mr Cameron's office, and more importantly at weekends, by texts and in late-night talks, Mr Hilton is a constant source of ideological robustness. With him gone, who will talk Tory to the Prime Minister?"

Matthew D'Ancona tweets that Hilton will return:

Screen shot 2012-03-02 at 17.53.27
Over at PoliticsHome, DotCommons asks the question that really matters

"The question on the lips of everyone in Westminster is whether the parody Twitter account @SteveHiltonGuru will continue."