Sunday, October 16, 2011

Independents Day?

I have written on here previously about Independent Councils and questioned whether they work.
Well again today a Council run by an Independent Councillors has hit the headlines.  This time Pembrokeshire Council have been accused of wasting public money - again.
A council already under fire for spending more than £5m on credit cards to buy theatre tickets, wetsuits and football sticker albums, also spent an additional £10m on milk, Welsh translation services and a weather station among other things, we can reveal.
Earlier this year, Pembrokeshire council was slammed as a “shopaholic” authority after being exposed as the second highest credit card spending council in the UK.
Now, following an investigation by Wales on Sunday, we can disclose officers from the free-spending authority also spent £10,168,752 on Welsh Purchasing Cards (WPC) – a type of credit card endorsed by the Welsh Government – during the past three years”

Now the Council argues that this is all perfectly fine and proper, as they would, but this is a lot of money, and one of the issues seems to be that it was not subject to proper scrutiny by Councillors.
Now there is a romantic notion out there amongst some people that any politician who belongs to a political party of any kind is evil whilst Independent Councillors must be whiter than white and have the best interests of residents at heart and never, ever put a foot wrong.
That is of course a load of bovine excrement.

There is currently a ‘residents’ action group’ being set up in RCT to put the voice of the people forward!  There is also an underlying theme which is to put up ‘Independent’ candidates next May (although how Independent any candidate who belongs to a group can be I am not sure). 
Now I have no problem with people expressing views, individually, collectively, any which way they choose, it’s called democracy.  But all too often people who get involved in such groups do so to vent their personal angst and once that is vented they run out of steam.  They have a habit of being opponents of what is being done already without any alternatives.
I wish the group well, but if they (or any other such band of protestors which is what they basically are) are to achieve anything at all then they need to define what they are about, what they intend to offer.   They need to get a bit more politically astute. 
They say they want to change things for the better in RCT.  Yet one of the current drums they have been banging is about the Lords vote on the health service.  That would be the ENGLISH health service, health being of course a devolved issue.  But it is the ‘thin end of the wedge’ and they must rage against it before it spreads across the border like some sort of virus!
It is relatively easy to rage against the machine.  I’ve been doing it for long enough!!  What is harder, much harder is to actually work to do something about it.  To stick in there and take the knocks and get back up every time; to put your head above the parapet and become a target for opposition parties and their supporters; to keep on week after week, year after year fighting for what you believe in.  Systematically, not just with a scatter gun approach that picks up every little thing across the UK that you don’t like and brands all politicians as the same.  We’re not. 
Some of us don’t so this just because we are annoyed at a planning decision or the lack of residents parking or some misinformation we have read in the Daily Mail.  We do it because we actually care enough to want to change things.
Now I am off to polish my halo.

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