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Friday April 26 2019

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In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on January 31 2019 at 1:45:31

What a fine mess party politics has got us all into. After more than two years, the mist has lifted to reveal a Prime Minister more concerned with preventing her party being rent asunder than the future of the country she is supposed to be governing.

Events may have moved on by the time you read this, but after the evidence of the paralysis at Westminster caused by party political calculations on both sides of the House, that looks to be an impossibility.

What’s the alternative, apart from a queue of enlightened despots?

Until now, the party system has generally served its purpose: the push-me-pull-you of alternating ideologies in power takes us all one way and then the other, but we have slowly inched forward all the while.

Now it has ground to a standstill, what happens next is anybody’s guess – but the repercussions radiate out to affect us all.

Just look at our county council at Worcester, which is no longer able to afford the basics for which it exists to provide. Its libraries “consultation” is just a way to tell everyone: “We can’t afford to keep the libraries open any longer.”

They can’t say that, of course, because the county is controlled by the Conservative Party and it is the policies of that party in Westminster that have taken away the money.

According to Alvechurch independent county councillor Charlie Hotham, the county’s finances are on the verge of collapse, yet other councillors won’t even countenance a discussion about abolishing the council to create more efficient “unitary” authorities in its place.

Turkeys not voting for Christmas is the clear analogy at Worcester, but Bromsgrove district councillors, again controlled by that same party, won’t consider the idea of a unitary council either, refusing even to debate a motion tabled on the matter by Coun Hotham (also an independent district councillor) at the end of last year.

There have been other recent instances of the Tory group at Bromsgrove ganging together to prevent good ideas proposed by independent colleagues getting though, such as the independents’ plea to disregard the “Barntchurch” report suggesting up to 15,000 homes on village fields.

There is now a chance, however, for villagers to stand up for themselves and not be beholden to party political masters because on May 2 every seat at Bromsgrove will be up for grabs in the local elections.

The independents have already made inroads, taking Barnt Green, Hopwood and Alvechurch Village.

The Alvechurch South Ward will be ripe for the taking after the widely noted lack of representation by its current Conservative councillor and the Tories will know they are vulnerable in other village wards as they are blamed for the Brexit crisis.

Villagers’ votes will really matter, but the independents will also need candidates to stand, people who care about what happens to their villages, and who don’t give a hoot about what some political party thinks. Could that be you?


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