In this postbureaucratic age, the people to shape our understanding of the new problems and to discover the best way to solve them won’t be ministers or officials holed up in Whitehall, but the legions of individuals, groups, voluntary organisations and enterprises that make up our communities themselves. Government needs to be turned upside-down: instead of seeking to impose its will, it must be open to being driven by a vibrant civil society.Although Mr Clark is also slightly worryingly a carbon cutter, his appointment demonstrates that Cameron is determined to drive his Localism agenda himself; Douglas Carswell, who might have expected to have been considered for this ministerial job, remains on the back benches for now. Carswell didn't endear himself to this blog by his support for measures to make MPs' addresses secret - and thus frustrate outside investigations into expenses fraud and corruption, so I'm not too disappointed with his being passed-over this time.
We can expect early legislation from Clark that extends the provisions of the Sustainable Communities Act, and the test will be in just how far this goes. The incumbent civil servants at the DCLG, used for a decade to running local government from Bressenden Place SW1, will no doubt place formidable obstacles in Mr Clark's path. We wish him well.