Question: Should MPs and councilors be talking to each other?
Answer: Yes, when it concerns the town they purport to serve.
Caveat: Yes, but in practice and as far as Southend goes, only if they are members of the same political party – at least that is the message I am picking up when listening to the leader of the Council, Ron Woodley, pronouncing on the matter in Council chambers and on reading the letter the deputy leader of the Council, Ian Gilbert, wrote that was published in today’s Echo. Ian concludes: “in snubbing an administration elected fairly and squarely, and liaising with Conservative opposition members, they are treating the democratic process with contempt”. Unless this statement isn’t strictly true or there are extenuating circumstances I am not aware off then I have to agree with Ian. It beggars belief that our elected representatives might not be talking to each other when all my instincts tell me that this what is needed to make progress.
So David and James, pull your finger out and get talking – it is not about you but rather the issues facing the town I live in and you represent, which are too pressing for any of us to get involved with petty squabbles, for we really do need MPs and councillors, whatever their political persuasions, to be working together.
And Ron, I like your open door policy to talk to anyone with anything to say or contribute, and you demonstrated that when you turned up to the SHAN meeting the other week, which I happened to chair. But you did let yourself down I feel when a “member of the public” last night. in the Full Council meeting. asked you a pretty fair question (imho) and made that same offer. You ignored the offer to meet and said he had walked out after a short time, that same SHAN meeting. That was true but there were good reasons for doing so. In fact, he left having given his apologies, and with regret as he wanted to contribute in your “slot”. (I should add this guy is worth talking to as he knows more about the homeless living in Southend than any I can name.) Fairs fair mate – politics is a dirty business at times with a lot of subtle glossing over and one upmanship being exercised, but snide comments don’t go unnoticed. As for the question, which was how you were going to spend some money that came your way designated to help the homeless, a more thorough answer would have been appreciated. I was left with the impression it just went into the Council coffers, which is sort of understandable given it is strapped for cash, and I agree it will have been a much needed addition. But straight answers please and, with all due respect, you need to put your money where your mouth is.