Leicester Council and i-Pads: localism this ain’t

First Eric told councils that they couldn’t print newspapers. Then he told them when to collect the bins. Now Grant Shapps has told them that they can’t buy i-Pads for their councillors. The contrast between this and Eric’s promise that local government would no longer be “treated like a fifteen year old girl with really strict parents” and allowed to “get down the dance and stay up all night” is getting farcical. It’s not like Leicester wants to do drugs or anything. They just want to buy some new (admittedly nice and shiny) shoes. Of course, many people will agree with Grant Schapps that it’s not a great use of money at a time of cuts. But his intervention is not localism. In fact it’s centralism of the most unreformed kind. Grant Shapps needs to trust that, if local residents are unhappy, they’ll get on the phone and make their feelings known.