The new politics, we are told, is all about coalition and working together. In the world of the new and improved two-headed donkey, there is no more tribal behaviour. Except that there is.
Promoted to ministerial rank and in charge of all things to do with Local Government in Young Dave’s team is arch tribalist, master of the casual smear, and purveyor of significant excess baggage Eric Pickles.
Fat Eric honed his craft in local politics as he rose to lead Bradford Metropolitan District Council at the end of the 1980s: most observers agree that his actions, and those of his immediate colleagues, poisoned relations between the Tories and their Labour and Lib Dem opponents in the city for years afterwards.
This episode in Pickles’ political career – from October 1988 to the Tories’ loss of Bradford in the May 1990 local elections – has not received a great deal of scrutiny recently. This is a pity, as there is a readily available reference: local man Tony Grogan compiled a small book on the so-called “Bradford Revolution” titled The Pickles Papers.
Fat Eric was not best pleased by Grogan’s handiwork, stating that “It is rubbish, inaccurate and defamatory. If any body or organisation reproduces any of it, I shall not hesitate to take litigation”. That’s a bold assertion, and like many of Pickles’ utterances, does not stand serious analysis.
Why so? Well, because The Pickles Papers is available online. You can read it HERE, HERE and even HERE. Given that there are at least three reproductions of it available, the only question has to be this: when is Fat Eric going to “take litigation”?
Here on Zelo Street, The Pickles Papers has been a fascinating diversion. I have encountered several of those involved, if on occasion fleetingly, and will return to the saga of Fat Eric later.