Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Could make you a little bit cynical

To no-one's surprise this evening, Darlington's Labour Cabinet agreed to a "last-minute" amendment to the Medium Term Financial Plan, commonly known as the Budget, when they agreed to recommend to Council that the proposed closure of the Mayor's Charity Shop be deferred to explore ways to keep the shop open; that the proposed closure of the South Park aviary be deferred in order to examine alternative options; and that, thanks to the discovery of a pot of gold under the Borough Treasurer's desk, the proposal to introduce charging for cycle and pedestrian training not be introduced.

This was an entirely predictable outcome of the consultation process. Just like last year, the Labour Cabinet is able to claim it listened to residents. At least this year we didn't have to listen to Cllr Williams intoning, "You spoke...we listened".

No-one seriously expected these three proposals to go through. The Labour Party still hopes to win the next local elections, and they aren't going to risk that by making unpopular decisions about closing the aviary and the charity shop and denying kids basic safety training.

So, not only can they now claim to be a listening Council, but, by concentrating debate on these popular but financially peripheral issues, they have managed to divert attention from the real issue of this budget process: how did they get the Borough into this financial mess and how are they going to get us out of it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

in answer to your question about how they got us into this mess mike;
how about schemes such as buying a disused pub (the lascelles park) and demolishing it in order to improve the look of the area.
surely it would have been much simpler to require the owners of the property to maintain it to a reasonable standard whether it was in use or not, after all, i'm quite sure that if you failed to keep your town centre premises in good order their would be some legislation to force you to do so which would magically appear from up the ruling party's sleeve. or do you think i'm just being a tad cynical here?
regards ian