Scared or Simply Out of Touch
Only the Conservative Leader of the Council Councillor David Mackintosh can answer the question as to whether his refusal to call and attend an Open Public meeting to discuss the Bus Station relocation is because he is scared of facing the public.
What is becoming increasingly clear is that it is a fundamental part of the Conservative strategy to avoid at all costs being put in a position where they can be held accountable for the decisions they are taking, preferring instead to administer control of decision-making through pre-prepared statements which are delivered on cue, and ignoring any other contributions.
It is a strategy that they clearly think works for them in Northampton and reflects the knowledge and experience the Conservative leadership has gained from being involved at the highest level of the Conservative party in Westminster where the same style of “How can I Ignore You Today” leadership is the norm.
Last week Nadine Dorries the Conservative Member of Parliament for Mid Bedfordshire, said that the major problem with the Conservative party is that it is being run by “two rich posh boys, who are out of touch “ which in itself is a damning indictment an is how many Conservative MP’s, and especially those who are making tracks to UKIP feel.
Ms Dorries isn’t the first to cast doubt on the ability and understanding of the Conservative leaders, even one of Northampton’s local MP’s has as many know gone on record describing the Chancellor as someone who has lost his toolbox and doesn’t understand the need to promote growth and comparing the Government, his Government, with sleazy backstreet second-hand car salesmen.
I have no problem on a personal level with people who are wealthy being in positions of power and authority providing they understand, or at least demonstrate that they are prepared to listen and understand what ordinary hard-working people need and the impact their decisions will and are having on them.
It is why the most damaging charge, not only for David Cameron and George Osborn, but also for Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander who make up the controlling foursome is that they are out of touch with the electorate and people, and that they show no indication of intending to even make an effort to get in touch.
Northampton Conservatives are of course as you would expect saying it doesn’t apply to Northampton, when the evidence suggests that in fact the refusal to hold an open public debate, ignoring the call from thousands of the people of Northampton demonstrates that they are out of touch.
But what about the charge of being out of touch and not listening to the people of Northampton – is it fair?
The statement in a letter published in the Chronicle and Echo on the 23rd February 2012 written by the Chairwoman of a Conservative Association Branch and leading fund-raiser for the party in Northampton in which she said,
“If it’s not a moan about the lights being switched off, it’s about the bus station or the PCSO’s. Please give it a rest”
sums up the change in direction of Northampton Conservatives in which a leading member of the Conservatives is effectively saying never mind the cuts to policing and safety of the public, we know best stop complaining because we’re not listening.
A brave statement if you don’t live behind a seven-foot high stone wall with locked gates protecting you and your home and in an area where the Parish Council to their credit have committed themselves to keeping the street lights under their control switched on.
In other words it doesn’t affect me and my friends so why should I worry about the rest of you.
Interestingly when I talk to a number of people in the same area it isn’t a feeling they share, many of who voted Conservative in the past but have made it clear they won’t next time,
But what about everyone else, many of who were courted on the promise of putting public safety as a priority when asking for their voted less than a year ago?
It may well be that all Conservative Councillors, and Cllr Mackintosh tells us they are ‘wholly united’ so it may be right that they do support the statement from one of their leading people to “give it a rest” and if it is and they are prepared at future elections to stand on the doorstep and say so in their leaflets then fair play to them.
I’ll not hold my breath, such honesty just will not happen.
We know for example that the Northampton Borough Council Conservatives have now stated publicly in a statement made during a debate at full council by one of the Cabinet members that
“We will not be held to statements and promises we mad a year ago in our manifesto”.
I can’t recall any previous administration who less than a year after an election has admitted they are not going to be held to the manifesto promises.
In ignoring and refusing to listen they are showing either a contempt for the public and especially those who voted for them, or are showing a breath-taking arrogance of the sort we continually see from The County Council, or it may simply be that we have the equivalent in Northampton’s of the Conservatives own ‘out of touch posh boys’.
It will of course be the electorate who will ultimately decide and this Thursdays local elections may well see a turning point for what is an increasingly out of touch Government, County and Borough Council in which even the politicians will not be able to stop the people of Northampton having their say.
Northampton Labour is listening and will continue to listen to people and support them in holding the Conservatives to account.
So it may not be that Cllr Mackintosh and his colleagues are scared but simply that they are out of touch and believe that all problems and issue can be resolved via a slick PR strategy orchestrated from the Guildhall.