Eric Pickles' 'Localism' involves nothing less radical than promoting Mrs Doomes-Patterson from running the bi-ennial production of Pirates of Penzance to running the refuse, education and library services of Suburbiton Borough Council.
It is a great way of preventing any unsightly council housing from being built. And a fantastic opportunity for the Point-Elbowed Classes to enact their petty agendas, but it is inherently un-democratic, and actively elitist. It will create factionalism and vendettas within 'communities', and take away from the hardest-working and least-educated what little power they have left.
The Tory/Liberal coalition which ran Southwark for almost ten years destroyed what little community participation there was, crippling it with confrontational Westminster-style administrative models, and helping small cliques of leaseholders to monopolise local Tenant Management Organisations.
Decentralised power is a great idea, but it isn't a cost-cutting measure. To set up it needs investment and understanding of how society works. The condems can provide neither.