‘For most people, the only visible service that they get from the council is the removal of refuse.’
Eric Pickles, Daily Mail, 30th September
What a fatuous comment and how deeply insulting to the thousands of people who work in councils throughout the country.
The hardworking people who empty our bins and sweep the streets have hundreds of thousands of colleagues working alongside them in their councils: 1.7 million according to the LGA1 – yet Pickles says they are invisible.
One wonders what kind of world Pickles’s people inhabit. Do they not register their children at birth or send them to school? Do they not bury their dead? Do they never use a public toilet? Do they fly over the pavements and roads? Do they never look at a tree or stroll in the park? And one assumes they have their own personal fire engine? All of these are services provided by either Cambridge City Council or Cambridgeshire County Council.
‘All the Council does for me is empty my bins’ is not a clever remark from anyone, but there is no excuse for this kind of talk from Eric Pickles, who is the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He is responsible for local government and should know better. This casual denial of his army of council workers reduces his credibility. He is not fit for the job.