The powerful make things happen or do they?

Tony Blair complained that he pulled levers and nothing much happened. It's a common complaint by leaders in a democracy that they have status and authority but not enough power to make things happen. Margaret Thatcher thought  it was the dead hand of the civil service that stifled radical change and the trade unions, she was determined to reduce the power of both. In local government this frustration is illustrated by the fictional Mayor of Chicago in Boss. The Mayor is being driven to work in this chauffeur driven limo  when the car jumps dramatically on hitting a large pot hole. He demands the car is stopped ,jumps out, inspects the hole, gets out his mobile phone and angrily rings his director of highways to demand the hole is repaired to day. On his way home he stops to check the work has been done. It has. This is power. But the pot holes in the rest of the cities road net work remain due to lack of funds. This is reality!

Blair Mcpherson author and commentator on the public sector www.blairmcpherson.co.uk

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