By Tony Grogan
The story of Eric Pickles and his "Bradford Revolution" is a complex web of events, ideas and individuals. To attempt to separate the threads of this web into a single strand is not only impossible but ultimately undesirable. As new characters enter the tale, each brings their own background, motives, experiences and network of contacts.
This document therefore has been constructed as a collection of interlinked and detailed investigations. In this sense it is a resource package and should be dipped into accordingly.
Read between the lines; investigations continue.
Very few alterations have been made in the preparation of this electronic edition of the Pickles Papers. A few errata have been corrected and some minor changes to correct factual errors.
Additional material and updates have been attached at the end of the book in the form of additional "Epilogues" ( 4 ).
On Thursday October 13th 1988, Eric Pickles took the rostrum at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton. 5 years before he had stood in the same place and faced booing and heckling from a hostile audience. But this time it would be different.
A month earlier Eric Pickles and his Tory group had taken power in the West Yorkshire city of Bradford - the only large inner city to fall under local Tory control. With control had come revelations of a secret and radical plan to wipe out municipal socialism forever and to transform Bradford Metropolitan Council into "Bradford Plc", with Eric Pickles as chairman of the board of directors. It was a plan that had been drawn up hand-in-glove with the government over 2 years. It was a plan that was to be the blueprint for every Tory councillor in the land. It was a plan that heralded "The Bradford Revolution".
To cheers from the Tory delegates Pickles declared:
"There is a real sea of change in northern cities which reflects the new realism. It is the test of our party to remove Labour from the last vestiges of power in the north. If we can do it in Bradford, the birthplace of the Independent Labour Party, we can do it anywhere.
"There is little point in Conservatives controlling councils if they administer socialist municipal empires. Our aim must not be to run that system better - to produce more efficient municipal socialism. It must be to change the system!"
Pickles stepped down to become the toast of the Tory conference.
"A big hand for the Tories' local government hero" called the chairman Sir Ian McLeod as delegates rose in jubilation. For Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher it was the best birthday present she could have imagined - the fulfilment of a promise Pickles had made 3 years before.
The story behind the Bradford Revolution is the story of Eric Pickles. The ingredients owe more to a soap opera than a council chamber; intrigue and double-dealing, ambition and power, sex and money, conspiracy and corruption, betrayal and blackmail!
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