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Swindon’s ‘Jackanory Tory’ claims: “I am saving the borough from disaster”

According to some, the Leader of Swindon Borough Council has lost the plot.  I don’t know about that but his latest lecture is definitely  wackier than usual.  It doesn’t just border on the delusional, it has torn the door off the customs shed and stamped the officials inside to death before making off across a mental landscape which is, thankfully, quite  unfamiliar to most of us.  Does Rod Bluh think he is telling telling the government what to do?, and does he think it is listening to him?

Rodders starts with:

“OVER the past few weeks I have been highlighting the huge challenges the borough faces over the next few months with the Coalition Government’s need to fix the nation’s broken finances, as well as the innovative policies being developed to tackle the problem.”

Highlighting what to whom?,  Bluh has been a bit quieter than usual and, although I’m sure many people have welcomed the break from his constant narcissism, it has to said that comments have been made by civic leaders, (non political ones), about an ‘absence of leadership’ at the council.  Bluh both explains his recent absence and forewarns us that he’s once again impatiently ‘going it alone’, although in this instance it’s central government he’s not waiting for before charging off into the distance whereas last year it was 57  Swindon councillors he ignored before charging off into the distance.

“I am now heavily involved In meeting ministers, civil servants and other councils to ensure that Swindon’s case is heard. We are shaping policy now, not waiting for the White Papers or Bills later in the year.”

Yes dear, of course you are.

“Firstly, with the Coalition Government having abolished the previous government’s inefficient regional structures, such as the  Regional Development Agency, we are busy meeting with our neighbours – Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire to develop a robust, complimentary working arrangement. Nothing has been finalised yet but I am confident we can exploit the borough’s unique geographical position to secure future investment.”

Every town in Britain has a ‘unique geographical position’, and that’s a jolly lucky thing because having Manchester and Swindon sharing the same geographical position would undoubtedly mean that I would be forced to have gravy on my chips by those  philistine bastards.

“‘ Swindon is now being mentioned as a council that is using transformational methods to bring about real differences in people’s lives, Secondly, I have met with the leaders of Bristol and Reading councils and will shortly be meeting with the leader of Cardiff. We are all committed to arguing for the electrification of the main line to London. We believe this would promote reliable, cost-effective travel and help our local economies and so provide the increase in wealth and entrepreneurship that is vital to secure recovery.  As part of this we are also arguing to secure the funding for the dualing of the railway line to Kemble.”

First he was convinced a canal would achieve the same objectives, now he’s graduated to railways as the cure for all Swindon’s ills.  Tune in again next week as Rod discovers and explains the benefits of the internal combustion engine and metalled roads.

“Thirdly, at the Local Government Association conference the government’s localism agenda was the main theme. Ministers have given increasing signs that local authorities will have a key role to play in holding the ring between all the partners, neighbourhoods and residents.  My contribution on this was the first one heard at the conference.”

Don’t thye always put the ‘weenies’ on first? and how many delegates remember the first thing they hear at conferences?

“The other key part of decentralisation is an expectation that government will devolve to councils and then we will devolve to neighbourhoods. Here, our Connecting People, Connecting Places programme will be crucial in managing the competing demands from different neighbourhoods and ensuring that service delivery is tailored to meet local needs, not Whitehall’s or even the council’s preferences.”

Bluh doesn’t devolve anything downwards except blame and problems.  He regards everyone else as being beneath him.   Bluh’s ‘Connecting People, Connecting Places’ schemes is failing because he’s not capable of leading it effectively precisely because he is fundamentally incapable of trusting other people to do it themselves, i.e, without his ‘help’.   He may think he is a ‘transformational leader’, but in reality he’s a narcissistic middle-manager who has ‘done the course’ and thinks he’s the expert.

Here’s an often repeated line spun to glassy eyed delegates at ‘Transformational Leadership’ seminars:

“Transformational Leadership starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. The most important factor is that the leader buys into it, hook, line and sinker”

Hook, line and sinker. Yes, I believe he does swallow his own lines, especially this next one – it’s a corker:

“At times I feel like I am a cross between an ambassador and a travelling salesman, but this is vital work to make sure that the whole borough can survive the recession and continue to thrive.”


Bluh increasing sounds like a travelling Snake oil peddler.  His lectures are stuffed full of dubious claims, boisterous marketing hype and his ‘key message’ that:  “Only he has the cure for Swindon’s multiple problems”.

In past times a successful Snake Oil Salesman would prudently leave town before his customers realized they had been cheated.  Here in Swindon his council-tax paying ‘customers’ are realising that he causes more problems than he is ever capable of curing but Bluh shows no sign of acknowledging his inability to deliver cures, in fact down at the civic offices tonight,  he is going to unveil his latest panacea for Swindon’s ills, the ‘One Swindon’ initiative, which appears to be a ‘Rodicalised’ version of David Camerons ‘Big Society’.

Expect the big press release in the Swindon Advertiser any day now….

Posted on
Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
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July 27th, 2010