WITH an election looming on May 1, it s getting to that time again when the main political parties suddenly realise the things that are important to the electorate, and set about claiming responsibility for everything good that has happened in the town an
WITH an election looming on May 1, it's getting to that time again when the main political parties suddenly realise the things that are important to the electorate, and set about claiming responsibility for everything good that has happened in the town and surrounding area and blaming the opposition for everything which has gone wrong.
We have all come to expect this bending of the truth, the outrageous claims and the empty promises, taking it mostly with a pinch of salt. However, the latest Conservative leaflet being delivered to homes in St Ives this week really does insult our intelligence.
The In Touch leaflet proudly admits that the Conservatives lead the town council, yet goes on to tell us that "the Lib Dems wanted to sell off one of our town's greatest historic assets". They do not elaborate on how it is that the minority of three Lib-Dem councillors, who are not allowed to chair any committees and who are largely ignored in the council chamber by the powerful Conservative lobby, managed to enforce their will over the 13 Conservative councillors to the point where the pen was poised over the sale contracts in August 2007. Was it sorcery perhaps, or hypnotism? Were the Conservatives "hoodwinked" by the Lib-Dems into putting up the For Sale boards?
The fact is that the Corn Exchange saga would have been very different if all councillors had been free of party ties and been allowed to discuss issues and vote as individuals, and had they respected each others' opinions instead of worrying if they were allowed to agree with someone without losing a point to the opposition (some councillors did dare to step out of line and were ostracised as a result).
The public would have been party to the debate had this not already taken place in party group meetings in advance of the town council meeting.
Party politics has no place on St Ives Town Council. The obsession of the political parties with putting up candidates for all 16 seats and desperation caused by the absence of committed volunteers has led to nepotism (there are three Conservative husband and wife teams on St Ives Town Council), mediocrity and inaction.
The town council is seen as a springboard to the district council, hence five Conservative town councillors are also district councillors.
How can councillors objectively present the views of the people of St Ives to the district council if they are also wearing a town council hat? (One Conservative councillor actually also wears a third county council hat.)
There are many who have come to this same conclusion and who, sadly, simply do not turn out to vote, as nothing ever changes.
St Ives deserves better, some independent thinking and certainly an end to the party whip on the town council.
Mrs JAN DOBSON