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.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stop the Rot : Letter to 'Herald Express' 300407

As yet unpublished ! :

It is with some incredulity that Torbay Conservatives' core message for the 2007 local elections is to 'stop the rot' with regard to Torbay Council. One assumes this is meant as an attack on the Liberal Democrats, but this blithely overlooks the fact that their party controlled the council from 2000-2003 and again from October 2005 to date. The first administration was rated as 'poor' by the Audit Commission and Conservative rule since 2005 has seen the Tories seek to foist a second casino on Torquay without reference to the residents of the bay, to ignore the 7,000+ petitioners and respectively 'privatise' St.Kildas and close Dunboyne care homes. We've seen the abysmal handling of the change in the senior citizens bus pass scheme, without recourse to proper debate at full council and worrying 'noises' about the future of some of our most famous landmarks.

One Tory poster I've seen speaks of the achievements of the Tories under Mayor Bye and asks us to imagine what they might achieve in four years following the local elections. Just imagine indeed !

Conversely other literature asks voters if they are fed-up with a Lib Dem run council. It seems they can't even decide if they are running the council or not ! On the plus side they do at last recognise Mayor Bye in their election materials as being one of their own. Hopefully we can move on from his pretence to be 'Independent'. What a shambles of a campaign !

How kind of David Cameron, someone whose knowledge of the bay was hitherto unknown, to outline his vision for Torbay. The Tory leader joins Marcus Wood and Richard Morgan (Torbay Development Agency) in promoting a second Torquay casino. All these people beyond knowing what's best for us are, of course, unelected and therefore unaccountable to local people.

As for the Conservative Mayor, he was quoted in this paper on November 18 as saying about the casino : "this is not being pursued personally by me, but it is a bid supported by the cabinet and some councillors", yet the same Nick Bye then tried unsuccessfully to sell the idea of a casino at a public debate a few days later ! Confused? I am ! Such feelings were reinforced when the success of the bid was followed by the inevitable 'photo-op' of the mayor celebrating this outcome.

Every indicative poll, be it through respondents to Bayview, listeners to Radio Devon, the poll on the website of Adrian Sanders MP and the one public debate have all shown overwhelming opposition to the casino. No wonder the Tories say no to a referendum on the matter !

With the local elections almost upon us I have been asked many times by people in Ellacombe my own personal view. I was, and remain, vehemently opposed to the casino as I believe the notion of regenerating Torbay on the back of others' addictions is morally repugnant. Furthermore, I remain sceptical about the project in purely economic terms too.

The Lib Dems will stand up for local people, the Tories seek to impose their plans upon us. Whilst bay residents are denied a direct vote on the casino you can express your opinion via the Torbay Council elections on Thursday. Please use your vote and send the Tories a message they can't ignore.

Barrie Wood
Liberal Democrat Candidate
2007 Local Elections
Ellacombe Ward


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