This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Letter to Herald Express 050706

As a former resident of Tormohun ward I have followed with interest Susie Colley's intention to stand for election to Torbay Council next May. In announcing her candidature she states the need to bring truth, transparency and reality back to the council.

Would this be the same Susie Colley who has assiduously promoted herself firstly in the guise of 'independent' candidate for the mayoralty, then as a 'community campaigner' via Torre Action Group and now surprise, surprise as a party political hack as a UK Independence Party representative, all within a few months ? It seems her much publicised petition presented to the Council was nothing more than a piece of party political opportunism on an issue which the council was powerless to act upon. Her actions are hardly a vision of transparency.

The UKIP policy programme, premised as it is upon defence of sterling, withdrawal from the EU and what is calls 'controlled immigration' position it on the hard right of the political spectrum uncomfortably nestling between the BNP and the right of the Conservative Party. More importantly, these are all matters that Torbay Council has no jurisdiction over and point to the irrelevance of a UKIP candidature. What local government policies that do exist and are published on the UKIP website amount to little more than a threadbare 'wish list' and none are Torbay specific.This has resulted in UKIP having only around a dozen or so councillors across the country and them being eclipsed electorally in pursuit of the English nationalist vote by the odious BNP. It is UKIP and Ms Colley that need to get back to reality ! No wonder the Conservative party leader David Cameron remarked recently that UKIP members were ''fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly" !

In the interests of openness, through the pages of this paper, I'd like to ask if Susie Colley agrees with the policy priorities of her new party and how this then translates into standing for election to the council ? I'd also like to challenge her to name any local authority where UKIP has made a decisive and positive impact.

Whatever the travails of the Lib Dem party locally I can see in Councillors Hayman and Faulkner representatives working hard all year round for the ward, be that be through the recent crime survey, attempts to halt the closure of Hele Co-op, the obvious physical improvements in Torre and the taking up of constituent casework, of which I personally have been a beneficiary. Granted they haven't continually courted media publicity like Ms. Colley, but they deserve to be supported again, should they offer themselves for re-election next May.

In addition to the qualities earmarked by Susie Colley, I'd argue that a councillor also needs to show good judgement and consistency. Susie's attack on Mayor Bye's allowances was especially cheap politics. I don't recall her rejecting these figures when she was a mayoral candidate. Indeed, UKIP have been amongst Mayor Bye's biggest cheerleaders since he assumed office and were heavily in support of the expensive and less democratic system of local government we are now saddled with in the bay. And, at European Parliament level UKIP voted in July 2004 against a proposal to cap MEPs salary at £60,000 (plus generous expenses). All UKIP MEPs voted against the proposal, flying in the face of one of their supposed fundamental aims - to stop the alleged financial drain the EU presents the tax payer. UKIP's oppositionalism and non-attendance have achieved nothing positive in Europe but cost much. Let us not repeat this mistake locally next May and please no more hypocritical strictures from UKIP over elected representatives' allowances.

In summary, ego, populism, personal invective and opportunism are no substitute for detailed policy ideas, consistency and hard work. I trust the voters of Tormohum will reject the divisive and fractious presence Ms Colley would bring to the Town Hall and at the polls next May once again vote for those Liberal Democrats who currently and continually strive to get things done for the ward.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about UKIP MEP who claimed 36,000 for a researcher, and paid her 6,000. He claimed he was looking after the other 30,000 for her in his bank account!

2:51 pm BST

Blogger Barrie Wood said...

Oh I haven't forgotten this, Knapman and the Polish workmen hypocracy, the idiocies of Godfrey Bloom, Mike Nattrass' 'political soldier' past, the opposition to diversity and inclusion,.....etc. I have to save some of these for the likely onslaught of replies from UKIPers ;-)

9:22 am BST


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