Sunday, October 23, 2011

RAG raging - but against what, and why?

I mentioned a few days ago a new residents ‘action’ group which is being set up in RCT and how easy it is for such groups to rant and rave about perceived wrongs without really offering any constructive options for change. 
There is often a kind of romantic ideal behind such groups, and whilst they are usually set up with good intentions then they rarely offer any real long term solutions.
Just because an individual stands under the banner of an ‘Independent’ or some group identity doesn’t mean they have any more integrity than someone who belongs to a political party, and it really angers me that they peddle this self-serving holier than though crap when the evidence to the contrary is staring them in the face.
Take the current Independent County Councillor for Talbot Green for example – he has been suspended on two occasions from the Council for his disgraceful behaviour towards members of the public.  The same public he is supposedly elected to represent! 
The former Independent Councillor for Brynna recently joined the Labour party, having backed them for years in absolutely everything they wanted to do.  This in return for the golden handcuffs which came in the form of the Chair of Overview & Scrutiny and the nice pay cheque that accompanies the position.
And elsewhere look at the mess the Independent group in Blaenau Gwent have got themselves into 
Then there was the Independent Councillor who claimed child care allowance when he was at home with the daughter he claimed for.
A discussion has been taking place on a local forum about the RCT RAG (residents’ action group!) and what they stand for.  I stopped posting on this particular forum some considerable time ago when it became somewhat of a battleground for militant Plaidies in particular to try and get their failing message across, but I still read it from time to time.
One point of view made me smile given that us Welsh Lib Dems are always being accused of being a contrary bunch and saying different things in different areas! 
There are, of course, Councillors who represent as fully and honestly as they can the people who elected them but all too often the wants and needs of the political party come long before the people. Too often hobbled by party rule books and national manifestos written by individuals at desks in ivory towers far removed from grass-root reality the resultant 'policies' are applied by faithful and elected local party members no matter how unfit for purpose and/or detrimental they are.
Add to this the fact that I doubt the majority of our Councillors could espouse our policies never mind be tied to them.  Can anyone imagine Mike Powell being made to vote according to a dictate from head office?
One contributor summed up my thoughts well
Is there more to this movement that I'm missing? It seems as though the rallying issue around which the group is coagulating is councillor pay/perks and the way pay cuts have been handled within RCT. Now, I'm not saying that I disagree with you on those issues but it's not a particularly inspiring or hopeful message. It's easy to knock doors, stir up a river of bile and just castigate all politicians as all being as bad as one another. What do you actually hope to achieve?
It is indeed easy to criticize.  What is not so easy is to do something constructive.  And to try and paint all who belong to any political party as being the same is just plain wrong.
The person behind the movement says that people are “Fed up to the back teeth and angry beyond measure.”
Really?  In that case why did they revert to their red roots in such numbers last May and vote Labour in yet again?  Is is easy to find people who are angry about individual issues but no so easy to put that anger to good use

As for nonsense such as this

'The way that health services are being run down and simply removed on occasions. I keep quoting these because they're easy to bring to mind but really there are so many other issues too that no-one seems to be shouting about and rectifying’

We have been shouting about it for a long time.  Take a read through our website. The problem is that nobody is listening.  Including it seems the members of RAG who are so up in arms about everything.
I don’t doubt that the people behind RAG are well intentioned, but their naivety is obvious.


Anonymous said...

With the Indy Cllr claiming the childcare allowance, that would be the one who has stood & represented the Lib Dems as well?

Karen Roberts said...

Yes for some bizarre reason Mr Etheridge stood for the Lib Dems in the 2001 General Election (before my time) but has always been an Independent Councillor.