You can’t believe everything you read in the press.
Last week one of our local freebie newspapers carried a story on its front page with the headline HEALTH CENTRE NEARER. It contained a comment from a Cllr. in Great Barr with Yew Tree ward and a quote from a deputy director at the Primary Care Trust (PCT) but no reference to Cllrs. in our ward or to the action group. Very strange this particularly has Cllrs from Great Barr with Yew Tree have spoken out against the clinic being situated at the Tanhouse Centre in our ward. It was claimed they now had an agreement over the clinic. Nice work Cllr. but no one else seems to be aware of this agreement. The man from the PCT’s quote was standard non committal blah blah blah stuff we have come to expect. The PCT are holding a meeting with Cllrs on 6th November to outline their plans. Despite being asked by our MP to invite people from the action group they have not done so. We need to ask the question, why not?
Some members of the action group have asked me to organise another “protest”. This one would have an element of surprise, be more focused, larger, louder, and disruptive and to invite the press. To achieve this we would need to hire a mini bus. I’m not convinced by the need to do this yet because there are indications that things are moving in the right direction and I may not be around to participate. When I read the remarks in this article and the way it was presented in the newspaper I fear for what might happen to health services in our area. If this scheme fails, funding and time to organise an alternative would not be a viable proposition so we would loose out for about ten years on facilities. All because Cllrs. from other wards delayed the process. This is a now or never situation but they don’t seem to have grasped that. We have a situation here where local residents are fighting for much needed facilities in their area and from what I believe Cllrs from an adjoining ward are using this fight to tout for cheap votes.
For many months these same Cllrs sat on their hands and did nothing excepting month in and month out the excuses the PCT were telling us. It wasn’t until local residents became angry with the lack of action and started to galvanise local (Newton) political support and protest that something was finally done. For this newspaper to print an article which by its very nature suggests that the Cllr. mentioned has actually achieved what is so far only a moderate success is credit by association. It is gutter politics. I have spoken to the editor of the newspaper concerned and to the reporter about my concerns with the article. I have also asked Sandwell Council for advice on referring this to the Standards and Ethics Committee. I was asked a few days earlier by a rival newspaper to give them an update on the clinic situation. Except to mention the meeting date I declined because at this stage there is nothing really to report and I’m not a politician with other agendas.
I do hope the Cllr concerned will have the decency to apologise.