Bluh Blags Camerons ‘Big Society’ and re-launches as ‘One Swindon’ Vision

‘One Swindon’ – Swindon Borough Council finally abandons its unfinished ’50 Promises’ and unveils cut-price replacement.

As SBC’s 2010 risk-riddled budget sucks the town even deeper into a disastrous financial situation, the ruling Tory party this week announced how it intends to put the town at the leading edge of delivering the ConDem Coalition Government’s vision for ‘integrated service delivery’ to the tax paying residents of Swindon .

Swindon Council, under Rod Bluh’s autocratic style of leadership, already has form for renaming government initiatives to suit its own political agenda.  The last government introduced a policy called ‘Real People, Real Power – Communities in control’ which SBC quickly renamed and relaunched as ‘Connecting People, connecting places’, (also know as CP2) after making damn sure there was no ‘real power for real people’ left in it. Consequentially, CP2 has failed to deliver anything of substance and has largely left real people scratching their heads in confusion.  Something called ‘Total Place’ was also mentioned in connection with Rod Bluh recently.  It seems to have disappeared just as quickly as it appeared.

‘One Swindon’ is radically different and looks set to become the sharp end of David Camerons ‘Big Society’ which, in my own irrelevant opinion, is a fluffy sounding cover name for ‘Big Cuts’ in service but without any corresponding cuts in the taxes you and I will continue to pay to the council to provide the services it will reduce or no longer supply.

Speaking in Liverpool, David  Cameron described his ‘Big Society’  idea as:  ‘Groups being able to run anything from public libraries to public houses’.  He described as his  “great passion” but when the ‘Big Society’ was presented as part of the 2010 Tory general election campaign,  it fell flat on its arse on the doorsteps of Britain as voters asked why they should manage public services that they already pay the government, (through taxation), to provide.

In Swindon, leader of the Council Roderick Bluh says he hopes to unite the people of Swindon and whatever remains of public sector services behind him, and his ‘vision’. (no mention of his Glorious Leader Cameron because, in Cllr Bluh’s mind, if it’s happening in Swindon it is all about him and nobody else).   If he manages to pull it off it will be a significant ‘first’ for him because his ‘visions’  are usually recognised and derided for being unrealistic, infeasible and expensive.  Given that ‘One Swindon’ is likely to be more about saving money and cutting services than spending it and providing them, this leaves ‘unrealistic’ and ‘infeasible’ as the two most likely labels to be attached to anything coming from the fecund imagination of Cllr Bluh.

Cllr Bluh has ordered invited other councillors to a ‘vision briefing’ next week during which he will explain how they will have a ‘key part’ in ‘shaping the delivery’ of his ‘vision’.   Although many of the Tory group of Swindon Councillors definitely fit into the ‘dumb, compliant & happy voting fodder’ category, many others do not and it will not be lost on them that  Councillor Bluh has always assumed ownership and credit for anything vaguely successful in the past,  but now he chooses to remind them sternly that they are:  ‘locally elected and accountable representatives’.   Bluh always grabs the credit when he thinks the good times are rolling for him but falls over himself shift the blame when his visions inevitably turn sour.  Bluh’s WiFi’sco is fast approaching the point where he will try to lay the blame for it ‘difficulties’ anyone but himself.  It’s seems that even Bluh,  a political ‘Mr Magoo’ at the best of times, realises that delivering ‘One Swindon’ might be as unpopular with the town as recruiting Gary Glitter to deliver children’s services.  Suddenly he wants to share the blame credit for it.

If I were a local councillor I would be taking my lead from the community which elected me, representing them first, not the political aspirations of an autocratic council leader who delivered a broken budget and service cuts.  Thankfully,  I’m not a councillor so I will continue to lob helpful advice at those clinging desperately to party flagpoles instead of standing alongside and shouting with the people who elected them.

Next week Bluh is lecturing Swindons Councillors in a private audience onTuesday 27 July at 7.00 p.m.   I’m willing to bet that instructions will be issued and threats made to prevent councillors from discussing ‘One Swindon’ with residents until Bluh is satisfied they will stay ‘on message’ for his vision.  I doubt he’ll realise that Swindon’s General Oikery is, on average, more intelligent than the average council. In fact, using a budget airline comparison,  Swindon Borough Council is definitely below average compared to many others.

‘easyCouncil.com’  – welcome to Bluh’s vision for Swindons future.

Posted on
Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
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