Friday, November 02, 2012

Just who is playing politics?

Yet again a predictable reaction to the paddling pool referendum vote on 1st November from the Labour Council in RCT.  As usual they lack the guts to actually face the public. - hence a statement from an anonymous‘spokesperson’ and a refusal to put anyone up for interview with ITV.  

The ‘spokesperson’ (at a guess Head of Strategy & Public Relations, son of Cabinet Member and former Labour Council candidate Christian Hanagan) said

 “It is disappointing that individuals have chosen to play politics with this hugely important project for the future of Pontypridd.”

Who can he (or she?) mean?  Surely not Mike Powell and me?  The ‘Lib Dems’ they try and dismiss with such contempt as being of no significance at all in RCT?  Do they seriously think we could engineer such an uprising of anger and indeed contempt for those who made this decision?

Yes we brought this to people's attention, yes we have publicized it, yes we were at the centre of the campaign, yes we wrote, printed and, alongside a swathe of volunteers who have nothing at all to do with the Party, delivered leaflets across the Ponty Town Council area.  It is an insult to them, and every one of the 2077 people who voted to save the pool yesterday to suggest that they were ‘playing politics.’

As I have said quite openly in the past there is of course a political element to this – the decision was made by politicians.  We opposed the removal of the paddling pool prior to the Council elections this year, indeed we have been opposing it since 2008 when the suggestion was first made.  It is one of the reasons Russell Roberts lied so blatantly about saving the pool – because he was afraid of losing votes.  As it happened it didn’t save him, but it was a cynical, calculated political ploy.

The statement from the faceless wonder goes on to say

 “When cuts to public sector funding by the UK government are forcing difficult decisions across the country, any amendments to the current proposals, which will effect the viability of the new Lido, place the entire scheme in jeopardy and potentially put at risk grant funding already made available.”

Leaving aside the bad grammar (it should be affect not effect) is this supposed to be a non-political statement?  I am just surprised the word ‘Con Dem’ did not appear this time as it did last time.  Mr X once again also seems to ignore a little thing called devolution – which means Local Government is under the control of the Welsh (Labour) Government.  They dish out the cash to Councils.

The people who came out to vote yesterday in the cold and the rain and the dark, voted despite the threats of the council that it could stop the lido development.  Is Mr X suggesting that they were all misguided?   Apparently so.

The Lido plans have several hurdles still to clear.  The listed building consent for the removal of the paddling pool has yet to be granted, and so far they only have a portion of the funding in place – WEFO have still to decide on whether to make an offer.

My bet is that the Labour Cabinet will stick to their arrogant, pig headed stance.  They will insist that the people of Pontypridd cannot have both the Lido and the paddling pool.  The project will fall apart, either because listed consent will not be granted or the rest of the funding will not be found - or because the Council will just put the brakes on. They will then blame it on us – the Lib Dems.  Hence their comments now about political mischief making, they want to make us the scapegoats.

Well if and when they do then we will quite happily plead guilty as charged. They have accused us of jumping on a bandwagon, but we built and drove this bandwagon.  We brought the plans to the attention of the public and stated our position quite clearly.  The public may not have agreed with us – we may have ended up with a deal of egg on our faces, but we still made a stance and stated clearly what we believed and what we wanted to see happen.

Mr X says that the Council will consider this in the wider context of the needs of RCT and the regeneration of Pontypridd, unlike the referendum.  How arrogant can they get?  Do they seriously think we are so shallow that we don’t consider the wider picture?  And what an insult to the people of Pontypridd.

You see the real problem the Labour Party in RCT have with us is that we don’t give up.  We stick to our principles, whether that makes us popular or not. We actually believe in what we do, and we care about the communities in which we live.  For us it is what the politics is all about – making things better and representing the best interests of the people.  Oh we are not perfect, and certainly not right all the time - who is?  But we don’t give up and we don’t give in and we certainly don’t bow down to bullies. And that they just don’t understand.

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