There's a pattern to this government's White Papers. They start with wonderfully inspiring rhetoric, buzz phrases, self-evident truths, declarations of commitment and brave words. Then when you look for the meat in the detail, you find there is very little actual change at all; Whitehall have succeeded yet again in blocking any meaningful reform away from the centralised wartime State structure they have so carefully built. And the latest Public Services White Paper is no different. It's a crock.
Two things are required for the devolution of power from Whitehall; the devolution of tax raising and collecting powers, and the restructuring of local governance entities to give legal authority to new local bodies. Neither is even remotely on the horizon of this government. The wartime command and control structure, with Whitehall dictating and it's local agents, the single-tier councils, implementing, remains wholly intact. This White Paper is one of the most mendacious pieces of spin and puff I've ever seen emerge from Whitehall. It's so pathetically piss-poor it's not even worth dissecting.
Those who say that Whitehall will never willingly give up a microgram of power are proved right yet again.