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How Desperate Can They Get!

October 1, 2010 6:00 AM
Rochdale Council are working hard to rid the town of anti-social fireworks.

There would be even more fireworks in the council chamber if Epsom-based RA councillors had to fight it out with Ewell-based RA councillors

One local Residents Association, a member of the registered political party Residents Associations of Epsom & Ewell, has obliquely blamed opposition councillors for the introduction of Blue Badge-holder parking charges.

Declaring that Blue Badge charges were introduced mainly by Ewell RA councillors who don't understand the problems of Epsom residents, it goes on to say that the political parties are ineffectual as far as Epsom residents are concerned - but that more Epsom-based RA councillors are needed. If ever there was a party in disarray, this is it. The article seems to be suggesting that if you don't like the way your RA councillor votes, you should trade them in for a different RA councillor. In political terms though, if you don't like the way your councillor behaves or what their party is doing, you change the way you vote.

To be clear, opposition parties voted against (actually, the Lib Dems publicly campaigned against) Blue Badge charges and the RA councillors voted them in, suffering one resignation from their own party over the issue. Would more Epsom-based RA councillors fight against the wishes of Ewell-based RA councillors and vice versa? Unlikely, since they are whipped into line on most issues and vote against 99% of anything suggested by any opposition party member. More importantly, councillors are actually elected to serve the whole borough, not their ward. Local governance is impossible without a certain amount of cohesion and policy-making.

To suggest that Epsom councillors should be battling it out with Ewell councillors of their own party is ill-considered and would surely make for an even more dysfunctional style of local government - and isn't there is already quite enough in-fighting within the RA Residents Party as it is? With their majority of just 6, undoubtedly desperate measures are needed, but this must be seen for what it is, clutching at straws and face-saving.

The ruling RA Residents Party is deeply unpopular after a year of cuts, What is needed are firm policies from parties who operate as a team after canvassing and listening to public opinion - at least if you don't like those policies you don't have to vote for them. With the Residents Party you just don't know what you are getting since they don't have policies - and if one is to follow the suggestion made by this particular Residents Association, each RA councillors should have his or her own policy!

Residents Associations and the ruling RA Residents Party are surely to be consigned to history in 2011's council elections.

For the Residents Associations themselves, this would be a great shame since they could operate as really powerful non-political pressure groups for the benefit of local residents.