|Signs left by the protestors.|
It appears I made a massive mistake!
There are a few issues in the Medway towns that are getting up people's noses and they are pretty passionate about.
One is the on going issue of the expansion of Rochester Airport costing the Medway Tax payer £4m for arguably very little in return, except for those few who can afford to run aircraft rather than repair roads etc. which I covered after the last meeting I attended last year.
The other is the proposed closing and re-siting of Strood Library which will result in the closure of a local Community project. Passions ran quite highly with this and a petition of 5000 names was collected in support of the Library - only for a swathe of it to be discounted because not all the signatories were from the Medway towns, indeed one was from France.
A very loud group of protesters turned up apparently and were demanding that they be heard by the Conservative Council but by all accounts they were treated in the same bluff, crass way as the Airport questions were treated. (see last link).
When the allotted 30 minutes for public questions ran out there were members of the Gallery who were less than satisfied and demanded to be heard and their questions asked in front of the Public and the gathered council rather than in the usual written form and they would not accept the Mayor's judgement to be silent and began clapping loudly. Finally the Mayor made the decision to lead the Council out and adjourn the meeting!
After ten minutes they tried a restart but the same thing occurred, with the added embarrassment that the Labour group refused to stand for the Mayor when she re-entered, showing her the same disrespect that the Conservatives were showing the public.
After another adjournment certain people were ejected from the galleries.
The problem is that, yes the protesters were over zealous and possibly went about things the wrong way but when you are passionate about something and look set to lose a valuable public asset and you are met with an arrogant answer from those who have already deemed you wrong in the first place then, yes, you are bound to get cross.
The problem with the ruling Conservative body as I, a humble observer, see it is that they think they are right all the time. They have these great ideas and plough ahead with them even against Public opinion. Time and again they have ignored public fears at Consultancy meetings over things like the Outsourcing of the Elderly care homes at Nelson's court and Robert Bean Lodge, again with the Airport where local residents and indeed people like me who fear it is an awful use of Council tax payer's money and now with Strood Library. They are quick to label those who criticise and complain as Medway Knockers. When in actual fact these are members of the public who are genuinely aggrieved and angry at their blasé and frankly arrogant approach.
However the cherry on the cake was Cllr Jarrett, deputy Tory leader and portfolio holder for finance, dropped the H-bomb.
|Labour government worse than Hitler?|
Wow... just... wow...
Don't get me wrong, I have my problems with the last Labour administration and I am glad they were elected out in 2010 but brought the country to its knees? Baring in mind where I work, in our mess room right next to my head is a photograph of a Heinkel bomber (taken from another) over the London docks on a bombing run. Yes the country was brought to financial ruin in part by the last administration but compared to the Blitz, U-boat blockade, Channel guns, invading British territories and forcing evacuations of undesirables to their deaths this is nothing. What was he thinking?
I personally find it quite offensive and I'm sure that many others probably do as well.
After prompting from Vince Maple, Labour's leader, the comment was withdrawn but in all honesty it should not have been uttered in the first place. When you hold a position like that and a meeting like that you have to show that you are the grown up adult politician you claim to be and not continue to grand stand and politically score points.
It is behaviour like last night's display that is causing people to lose faith in politics and politicians. It is bad for Politics, it is bad for Democracy and above all, it is bad for Medway. Let's all grow up and treat the public, the voters and your employers as people to be listened to and not dismiss a negative opinion just because it is not in line with yours and above all show each other courtesy and dignity.