Oh dear, I seem to have offended one of the local residents’ associations with my post criticising certain terminological inexactitude in some Residents’ Assocation election literature. My goodness, the self-appointed representatives of municipal rectitude don’t like it when someone points out that their actions don’t always live up to their claims.
Anyone who would like to see the Conservative response to the allegations at which my comments were aimed should have a look at www.esherwalton.com where our reply is on the front page of our website. I’ll leave it up to readers to draw their own conclusions.
In the meatime I have been made aware of other allegations in some RA literature which, I am told, claim that:
1. “Conservatives have closed down the majority of the Shout programme.” We have not, and these popular activities are going strong.
2. “Conservatives have slashed the Arts budget”. Again, not true. We have frozen one post and the existing arts programme will continue.
3. “Conservatives have closed the frozen meals service to the elderly and vulnerable”. We have not. We have simply used a new provider who offers better choice to local residents.
But let’s just have a little look at the Residents’ Assocations’ oft-repeated claims, and see if they stand up to scrutiny.
1. “We’re not like those political parties. We are different”. The member groups of the Elmbridge RA group are registered as parties under the Political Parties Elections & Refendums Act. They sit as a group in Council. They have a leader, a group structure, campaigning websites and branded literature. If it flies like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck……….
2. “We use our judgment rather than vote in a party bloc, unlike those dreadful Conservatives”. The RA group vote en bloc just as often as we do, and then criticise us for doing it. The truth is that people of broadly similar views will often vote together, and that is what happens – on both sides.
3. “We are not required to obey the orders of our central party machine, unlike the Tories”. Do they really expect the public to believe that David Cameron has nothing better to do than to order his minions to send voting instructions to the Elmbridge Conservative Group? I have so far not received one directive from Conservative HQ in my time on the Council and frankly I would be livid if I were to receive such orders.
I have no problem at all with criticism of our record in office or of our policies. I am very happy to debate and defend them. But to claim that wearing a green rosette rather than a red, blue or yellow one entitles one party to the moral high ground amounts in my opinion to taking the voting public for fools.