Hazel's little project over the last week, aside from heading down to PC World to get another laptop, has been to promote her department's Migrant Impact Fund, which is designed to help communities deal with the influx of immigrants. When did we start using the world 'migrants' instead of 'immigrants'?
Anyway, in the House of Commons on June 11th, Hazel said this:
"Local authorities, working closely with their communities and public, private and third sector partners, are best placed to manage change."
This seems reasonable enough. Local politicians and public sector workers tend to know where best to put money for their local amenities and services. However, in a speech the same day, Hazel said this:
"I believe it can make the biggest difference not by being allocated in bits and bobs to a hospital here, or a police station there, but by supporting local service providers to come together and develop shared solutions to shared problems - say, a joint programme on interpreters or language lessons, or a website where local authorities and their partners can share information on local population change."
First of all, do public service providers actually need the help of the government to come together? But secondly, and most importantly, Hazel is completely contradicting herself here. In the first quote she says that local people know what is best for their area, but in the second she seems to suggest that they don't. She doesn't think that when local people say they want more money for law enforcement or hospital funding they are actually reflecting the needs of the area. She's doing her usual thing of saying 'actually, you don't want money for this, you want money for what the government wants to spend money on', which in this case means language lessons and do-nothing websites.
So this is yet another instance of Blears telling us how free we are, when actually she wants to tell us exactly how to do things. Her plan actually involves bodies called 'cohesion teams' for crying out loud!
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