You can always tell when it's local election time, the local political parties suddenly wake up!
We had a leaflet through the door the other day from the Lib Dems. I think that it was the first time we've heard from them for a year! Now this is despite the fact that one of our councillors is a Lib Dem. The leaflet told us why we should not vote Labour, but wasn't very convincing on why we should vote Lib Dem.
Same with Labour. Our Borough Council is Labour controlled and what do we hear? Not a peep! We don't actually have a Labour Borough Councillor at the moment, but we do have a County Council one. So when do we hear from them? When it's election time of course! The only way of finding out what our County Councillor is up to is to read the local paper.
Now the local Conservatives have got it right. Despite what people may or may not think about them, in our area they communicate with the electorate. We get a newsletter 3 or 4 times a year and something through the letterbox when there is a single issue problem (phone masts!!!). This does at least give the impression that they are doing something for the area and not just sticking their heads above the parapet when they want something!
Oh, yes, there was a leaflet from UKIP a few weeks ago.
So who will I be voting for? Well let's say it most certainly won't be Labour.
Why, well a few reasons –
At Borough level
They voted to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to refurbish the Council Chamber when it wasn't really needed.
They have cancelled Newcastle Carnival due to cost. These are the same prats who spent nearly £1000 last year hiring 'Posh & Becks' lookalikes.
The council tax increase is 4.9% when inflation is about 2.5%. My pay increase this year is 3%.
The proposed emptying of the bins once every two weeks. Now we could probably manage, but a family of four?
At County Level
The County has no coherent transport policy. They couldn't even work together with Stoke City Council properly to save Etruria Station from closing last year. They need to look towards Nottinghamshire. They've managed to reopen railway lines (the Robin Hood line) and get trams.
The state of the roads!
The fact that Staffordshire gives one of the lowest amounts of money per pupil to its special schools in the country.
At National Level
The proposed loss of 1000 jobs at our local hospital. Loosing nearly 350 nursing staff will not improve productivity. Hospitals should not be treated as a business, they are there to care for people.
Derek Twigg the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, responsible for Transport, closed Etruria Station in September last year. I'm sure that had he been a local MP it would not have closed. He is the MP for the Runcorn and Widnes. Try closing a station there Mr. Twigg. Etruria was closed so that the local train company (Central Trains) didn't have to bother with it anymore after years of neglect and so that Virgin Trains could knock an extra 30 seconds off the journey to London!
Local people opposed a phone mast going up in our area, the Council's planning committee rejected the application and it was over ruled by the Deputy Prime Minister's department. And to make it worse, the told no one! Not the people who originally objected nor our local Councillors!
Compete change of direction.
Over the weekend I started to sort out the backlog of about 2 years worth of photos. I guess there are about 1200 to sort and put away! I must point out that this includes 4 weddings (including mine), 1 honeymoon (mine), 2 stag dos (1 was mine), a couple of holidays and Crewe Works open day last year!
It was great looking at our wedding pictures. I didn't realise so many had been taken. Just as well really, as neither Carol or myself can remember much about the day – it went by so fast.