AT the end of the Second World War the leaders of the Great Three met at Yalta to discuss the future of Europe.

Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt stated their aims. Stalin announced that he wanted a stake in Spain. The dictator did not really want to oust General Franco; his demand was designed to make his real aims, subjugating the whole of eastern Europe, look more reasonable.

Are we seeing something similar with Hampshire County Council’s budget proposals? No, the Chronicle does not think council leader Roy Perry wants to invade Spain, at least not at the moment.

Is the council proposing a horrendous set of cuts, cynically knowing that it won’t actually shut half the recycling centres, slash bus subsidies and school crossing patrols, but that by comparison the eventual reductions will look reasonable?

Except that it will not be reasonable. This billion-pound-a-year public authority is proposing seemingly small cuts but which will have a disproportionate effect on many vulnerable people.

The answer lies in slashing the bureaucracy at The Castle, saving money, to protect frontline services. Why does the council allow staff to park at the Tower Street HQ? A waste of valuable space. Why is there still a ‘temporary’ car park at Bar End, a valuable space. The answer is the council is losing sight of its role as a servant of the public.

The underlying problem, of course, is that Hampshire County Council is a one-party fiefdom.

It is virtually impossible for anyone other than the Conservatives to win control, since the unitary authorities in Portsmouth and Southampton were created.

This not making a party-political point. The same problems happen whenever and whichever political party is in absolute control. The ruling group realise that they can push things though because their position is unassailable. It makes for bad government.

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