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, August 01, 2007

Herald Express Letter 010807 - Casino Referendum

According to Marcus Wood, Adrian Sanders MP should abandon his principles and integrity by adopting a position in favour of a second casino for the Bay.

If he were to do so, would Marcus talk about a 'U-turn' and call him unprincipled and opportunist?I did contact our MP to ask what the balance of opinion was from correspondence received from constituents and was told that a bare handful had written in favour of a new casino development and that two of those are senior local Conservatives.

I accept that the casino has its supporters, but I'm convinced there are far more opposed to a second casino. Either way, trying to push ahead with such a divisive proposition is not the way to engage the public with regeneration plans for the Bay.

The mayor has powers to enable him to run a referendum on this issue and for the people of the Bay to have their say. This is surely necessary as James Purnell, the requisite government minister, in his letter to local authorities regarding casino applications states that national government places 'a great emphasis on the importance of local consultation and local accountability'.

Why are local Tories apparently refusing to let the people decide? Are they afraid of the outcome of any putative referendum?

Despite being an opponent of the casino on ethical grounds, in addition to being also unconvinced of the economics of the matter either, I am as a democrat happy to accept the settled will of the Bay's populace.

As for Marcus, as ever, he has more to say about the Lib Dems - and Mr Sanders in particular - than he does about trying to sell the ever-changing Tory vision of the future.

After the social moralising evident in their recent tax proposals and the contradictions in their position(s) on grammar schools, no wonder explaining Conservative policies comes second to attempts at political point-scoring locally.



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