Ever wondered what the Communities Secretary looked like with a full(ish) head of hair? Going through press clippings hoarded by a deceased Labour activist in Pickles’ native West Yorkshire, blogger Alex Ross has uncovered the following picture of the then Bradford councillor:

A year after this picture was taken, Pickles and the Conservative grouping seized control of Bradford Council using the Mayor’s casting vote.  He then commenced a five-year plan to cut the budget by £50m, slash the workforce and privatise public services.

Some things never change.


  1. Long Memories says:

    Needless to say, his policies were extremely unpopular and he only got out of Bradford alive when Margaret Thatcher parachuted him into a safe seat down south.

    I’d call him a real-life Joe Lampton but he’d probably consider it a compliment.

  2. But I’ve read from a Labour MP who was on the council with him at the time that his £50m cuts and privatisation programme was a lot of hot air and political grandstanding and a great deal of it never happened.

  3. Why is it you lefties find it perfectly acceptable to be “fattists” yet scream the walls down if anyone dares make a sexist, racist or any other “ist” comment?
    One rule for the proles and another for the lefties eh?

  4. The LORD Mayor’s casting vote was used in 1989 not 1988. An interesting little historical point was that Smith Midgley was succeed by George Hodgson as Lord Mayor during Eric’s period as leader. All htree were Councillors for Worth Valley.

    And just for historical completeness, the current MP for Keighley, Kris Hopkins was also Councillor for Worth Valley.

  5. “Why is it you lefties find it perfectly acceptable to be “fattists” yet scream the walls down if anyone dares make a sexist, racist or any other “ist” comment? One rule for the proles and another for the lefties eh?”

    You can’t control your gender, race, sexual orientation or whatever. You can control how many pies you eat. Plus Pickles’ expenses claims show he grabbed £280 a month off the taxpayer to fund his pie habit while shouting from the rooftops about public sector waste.

  6. 29 October 1988 7 Days

    Where is Pickles? Where is Pickles? , roared the crowd outside Bradford City Hall this Wednesday Inside, councillor Eric Pickles leader of the council and architect of the new Tory administration’s £5.8m cuts package, ignored demonstrators as he rallied his troops.

    Despite hopeful rumours that one Tory councillor had eloped — destroying Pickles’ slim majority — the measures were passed.

    Plans to privatise 12 old folks homes, cut £3.4 million in education spending, increase council charges in cemetries, swimming pools and meals on wheels, and sack council staff are among the many the Tones have now rubber stamped.

    A street ballot of 15,000 registered only 3% support for Pickles’ plan for the elderly. Even the Conservative local paper has come out against the cuts. It seems there is little suppport for the Tories in Bradford

    However Tory Central Office in London is ecstatic. Pickles spoke atthe Tory conference earlier this month and Margaret Thatcher sends him messages of support. His plans to cut council spending and win tnends among rate payers offer a

    strategy for Conservatives to attack Labour s northern strongholds. A low spending Bradford would mean low poll tax rates after 1990 Whether this policy of divide and role will succeed depends on how the organised opposition of the Labour Party and the council unions react. So far the signs are not promising. Labour is arguing for a sit tight and wait for the next elections policy and the localgovernment union Nalgo is murmuring about a ‘winter of discontent’. Neither strategy is likely to unite existing wide spread grassroots opposition to the plans.

    Local communists say that a positive campaign in support of public services is necessary. They argue that there are already signs of backtracking (and even attacks of conscience) in the Tory camp

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