Saturday, June 21, 2008

Contradictory Hazel

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!


alberich said...

I am impressed that you can extract any sense at all from these speeches. It sounds like Hazel has been talking to this bunch of spivs.

Keep up the good work. The lack of discussion probably signifies that while there is room for more than one point of view about most things, anyone deluded enough to bat for the termagant Blears definitely has their work cut out.

That said, your blog has whetted my curiosity to the extent that I was moved to look up Hazel's entry in Who's Who. It emerges that she spent one year - ONE! - in private practice as a solicitor before scuttling back to the safe harbour of Salford City Council. Withered and scorched in the desert of the free market economy? One has to wonder.

The Raven said...

Hazel has a Who's Who entry? Now isn't that just tragic?

In many ways it's not surprising that she spent only a year working for herself. I have often said that in politics you get two types of lawyers; ones who have earned so much money they become politicians because they want to, and those who do it because they have no other choice. When you compare Hazel with someone like Michael Howard, who was earning an absolute fortune before he became an MP, the distinction couldn't be clearer.