Friday, 31 October 2008

What a difference two.

Margaret Macklin’s comment (What a difference) got me thinking about some of the broader issues. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with Dave belonging to the majority party in getting the basic things done he has. All councillors have access to member services and are treated equally. He is reporting the issues and actively following them up until he gets a satisfactory answer and it is this that I think is the difference. I agree with Margaret concerning Cllr. Mrs Underhill who responded well to a couple of concerns we have had recently but our other councillor seems to do very little and I have been aware of missing town committee meetings and full council meeting. I have complained that you can’t claim to be a strong voice for the ward in a newsletter if you don’t attend meetings and if you do not speak at meetings. Local elections in Newton are won on telling constituents via newsletter what is happening and it is this ability that has won the ward for Liberals for years. Labour has not recognised how important it is to us. I became interested in local politics when I was off work sick some ten years ago and really studied what the Liberals actually said in their Focus. By attending town committee meeting you also get better idea of what is actually going on. Sadly most constituents don’t have time or can’t be bothered so they remember Focus think well at least the Liberals are doing something and vote liberal. I know this is perhaps an over simplification but the principle here in Newton is correct.
Our MP is now actively campaigning against the Sandwell Gateway structure and again Margaret makes the point about him having a regular piece in our local free newspaper. I think that all local councillors should have a spot in the paper. You will remember I asked that they give a regular report at the town committee on their activities although no one volunteered to do this. I can’t help thinking that the MP’s intervention will amount to very little but it is good press for him and right in his back yard. His record of successful interventions is not good. I’m thinking of his very public spat with the chair of towards twenty ten program concerning the loss of our A&E. He lost and we are not only loosing our A&E but our hospital which is being replaced by a plastic palace in Smethwick. I’m not sure I would agree with Margaret concerning the effectiveness of the Tory opposition in Sandwell. The council meetings I have attended recently have shown them to be poorly organised. If you are right about Councillor Ward I will of course apologise but so far I have not seen it. Margaret suggests that we might have a Tory MP soon. Now although I feel our MP has let our ward down during his second term a swing sufficient to unseat him would be unprecedented. So although on his end of term report I think it needs to say “needs to improve” I think we are going to have him for a few years yet.

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