Faux Sans Culottes

Sans-CulottesReaders of this blog will be aware that Suffolk County Council are reviewing the provision of Children’s Centres and are consulting on the proposal to merge the Hadleigh service with that of East Bergholt and close the building in Hadleigh.
A number of Hadleigh residents contacted me asking me to vote against the proposals and Jane Basham, Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for South Suffolk has criticised me for not speaking at the Council meeting and for voting for the proposals to consult.
Now to anyone who is interested I will explain how democracy works. Basically every lead party holds pre meeting meetings. These are for the members of the lead party to ask questions particularly those which might be awkward and which could provide unnecessary comfort to the opposition. The system lets matters of concern to be dealt with, so that the necessary majority can be obtained. For the lead party the Council Chamber is for decision making. For the opposition parties it is a forum to advance their views and where necessary embarrass the lead party. The purpose of opposition is to become a lead party. The purpose of the lead party is to retain the voters’ confidence and hold on to office.
Thus the criticism of me is unwarranted. To anyone who asks I will tell them that prior to the pre-meeting meeting and the Council meeting itself I obtained from the Leader of the Council a firm undertaking that the consultation would be genuine and not an exercise in giving democratic legitimacy to a decision already made. I received the same undertaking from the Portfolio Holder.
I like criticism of me to be unfounded in reality. What I do not like is for the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for South Suffolk complaining that the documentation has been hard to find. Why not then ask the County Councillor where the documentation is to be found and if necessary obtain hard copies? Instead we have a campaign based on noise and dust. Beyond saying that the Centre should not be closed, there are no arguments or articulated facts to substantiate that view. Instead a large number of parents and families are destabilised and unnecessarily stressed.
I am more than willing to work across parties. With the help of others I obtained the restoration of the later evening and Sunday bus services to and from Ipswich.  I took a major role in resisting (and defeating) the application from Tesco to build another supermarket in Hadleigh. And so on.
There is an on line petition and last time I looked it had 189 signatures. The Bus Service team gathered over 4,000 signatures. The petition complains about the consultation taking place over the summer holidays. Well, if your summer holiday extends to the 16th October then you probably don’t need the services of the Children’s Centre. Then again the petition support preamble states “I am going to speak to Suffolk County Council and find out how to make representation to a consultation which does not appear to have any point of access”. But page 12 of the Consultation Documentation clearly states that you can respond on line or by Freepost Mail (and gives the addresses concerned).
And what of the Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for South Suffolk?
I can find no trace of her having ever held elected public office. She ran for the office of Police & Crime Commissioner in 2012 and was a candidate in this year’s European elections. She was unsuccessful in both contests. She was Chief Executive of ISCRE (Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality) in 2010-2011 during which time the organisation ran a deficit of  £77,907 by spending £496,556 when there was only £418,649 coming in.
So I won’t be taking criticism or advice from Ms Basham. She is not my kind of politician as she obviously prefers to shoot from the lip rather than from the hip.

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