So, farewell our Eric. It's finally all over at DCLG for the man who, to Pickleswatch, will always be known simply as the Chief.

Now, we're is going to stick our neck out and surmise that Eric provoked vigorous reactions in all he encountered during a turbulent five years making local government take its medicine from Whitehall. To say he hated you lot and you hated him right back might be a touch vinegary - but, let's face it, whatever you thought of the Pickles regime, he wasn't going to change for you or anybody else.

So that's it for another parliament. Done, dusted and dissolved. From Cleggmania to coalition, it's been a crazy old five years. We've laughed, we've cried, but what have we learned?

Well, let's see - making a weekly bin collection a "fundamental right" is harder than you think, "localism" is a bit of a tricky concept really and "keeping an eye on the cash position" is apparently not a priority for Whitehall's best and brightest, resulting in DCLG finishing 2012-13 £217m in the red with an unauthorised bank overdraft. Not that we go on about that.

You can't please all of the people all of the time. But how many of them can you hack off? Quite a few, it seems.

It's been a busy couple of months for the secretary of state for communities and local government, offending, erm, communities and local government.

'Tis the season and all that but Pickleswatch senses there won't be much dinging, or indeed donging, merrily on high in the corridors of local government this Noel.

Never mind Devo Max. The real greatest living Yorkshireman talks Picklesian power to the people.

Eric Pickles: the man they couldn't reshuffle. Westminster rumour mill be damned, the Chief is still very much at the helm at DCLG. Let the bells ring, fetch the bunting (we have) and cue rejoicing throughout the land.

Most politicians don't like being kept in the dark. But not Eric. Nothing he likes better than to have the lights turned low of an evening - on whole streets, in fact. The old romantic.  

On a recent visit to Basildon, while no doubt wading through the grateful throng, the Chief lavished praise on Essex County Council for its "immensely brave" decision to pull the plug on over 70 per cent of street lights between midnight and 5am.

When it rains, it pours. Fresh from wading into the blame game over half the country disappearing under a murky deluge - and not exactly coming out smelling of roses - Eric has found himself beset on all sides by critics and complainers.

When Eric bashes you, it's only because he loves you. Or as he told the CLG Committee's #AskPickles Q&A, the local government bashing he so enjoys is strictly within the confines of "a very deep and loving relationship".

Now, this Pickleswatch was to focus on the rest of the revelations from that session (councils should stop moaning, ministers don't touch taxpayer-funded biscuits, Clive Betts needs to work on his jokes etc...) but the floods crisis in the South made answering tweeted questions seem like a simpler, care-free time.

You can't please all of the people all of the time. So why bother trying? You're not in government to make friends. 

If ever there was a man who that suits just fine, it's Eric. He'll even upset his own team, if needs be. In fact, if needs be, he'll blast the ball into his own net then slide down the pitch with his shirt pulled triumphantly over his head.

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