It was inevitable and predictable. For as long as Whitehall could approach Localism as a minor political fad that didn't challenge or threaten the central State, as just the political sloganising de jour, they would embrace it with their usual complicating lethargy. As soon as ministers cautiously declared they'd actually really like to try to devolve just a little power, please, as an experiment, the iron doors of civil service obstructionism have slammed shut. Michael Gove is feeling this particularly keenly.
Eric Pickles has hit on the right solution; his Permanent Secretary is on probation, half his Directors General are being axed as are half the departments Directors. Michael Gove could do worse than follow Eric's lead, ringfence or not. Pour encourager les autres, you understand.