Thursday, 28 August 2008

Promises and Reality

It is just over 12 months since the formidable, blue-rinsed Tory ladies and their elegantly dressed, moisturised, smugly grinning, smooth male counterparts made their 4-yearly appearances, canvassing and leafletting for their positions on local Borough councils.

They grandly assured all those prepared to listen that they, and they alone, held the key to all local problems and promised that they would work harder than anyone else, listen more, and give you value for money councillors.

Their glossy, professionally PR designed leaflets oozed unctuous, election-winning promises as they fought snout and trotter for a place at the trough.

Twelve months later the reality starts to emerge, typically expressed in the councils' returns of attendances and expense claims.

A prime example can be seen in the Hinckley & Bosworth area, where Jon Cort attended only 4 out of his 28 scheduled meetings (14.29%), claiming £2949.30 in the process. The cost to local taxpayers was £737 for every meeting he attended. Not quite the value for money that they promised.

When approached by the local media he was unavailable for comment; however, perhaps the most enlightened (and damning) comment came from Cllr. Adrian Smith (Lib Dem) with 56% attendance who said "Those figures are a little bit misleading -unfortunately, when you run you don't realize how many meetings there are." He pathetically concludes: "Hopefully, it should get better".

So there we have it: they don't even know what being a councillor involves, apart from claiming expenses.

The impact these wastes of space have on improving local services is negligible - we need to campaign for their resignations

We also need to run a national campaign to find Britain's worst councillor. Can anyone beat 14.29% and £737 per meeting at district level? Let's name them and shame them.

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