COUNTY HALL: No more smoke and mirrors

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County Hall is a bit like the EU isn’t it? There are a lot of figures being thrown around about the costs of repairing the existing HQ and that of building a new one in Ashington.

The issue here, of course, is not what the people of Northumberland want. That doesn’t matter.

When the people of Northumberland made it very plain in the 2008 referendum to reject the option of a unitary authority, what happened? Well, both the ruling administration in Northumberland and central government were determined to have a unitary authority so they completely ignored the referendum vote and foisted a unitary authority upon us anyway. It has been like a rudderless ship since its launch.

It makes you wonder what will happen if the vote doesn’t go the Government’s way in June over Europe.

To get back to the issue, this is nothing more than a tussle between the Labour and Conservative groups at County Hall. Both groups know where their bread is buttered.

If this is going to benefit Northumberland generally then both of these groups need to stop bickering in the pages of the Morpeth Herald, and go on the road and provide the cold hard facts to people in every corner of the county to support the statements they are making.

And I do mean the political groups, from the leaders down, not the council officers.

After all, the people will be paying for refurbishment or re-build. So far, all we have had is smoke and mirrors. Time to show your heads above the trench.

I, for one, would like to know which individual first planted the seed of this idea, officer or member? There must be a minute somewhere.

Having been part of the system at one time as a councillor, and seeing the way things have been developing, I am now certain that party politics should have no place in local government. The very name speaks for itself ‘local’. Local government should not be influenced by party policies emanating from their HQ in London. Instead, local politicians should listen to the people who vote for their ‘local’ representative.

How many ordinary Northumbrians are aware that if they successfully vote for a local Independent candidate, that person’s committee membership will be severely limited unless they agree to align themselves to one of the major party groups? Not an easy decision to make if the reason they stood as an Independent was because they were at odds with the policies of those groups.

Should you have to drink with the devil to be able to represent those who voted for you?

James Grant

Widdrington Village