Saturday, 15 October 2011

Why politics has a dirty name

Nothing makes my blood boil more than political lies, disinformation or half truths.  I've always tried to play straight as a politician and hope I will continue to do so. 

So in the space of 24 hours I've seen at least two examples of what could well be negligent comments or something far worse.  

First, last night Cllr Louise Gittins (Labour) tweeted suggesting I was not listening to the communities regarding the preservation of the greenbelt.  Now I take this to be a gratuitous and unmerited attack and one very wide of the facts and indicative of what I, and I suspect many people find unpleasant about politics.

I rarely speak on planning matters - and therefore many people simply does not know what my views are.  However, and somewhat ironically I have spoken out in public about CWaC's proposals regarding Gypsy and Traveller sites.  And I would like to think that if Cllr Gittins had listened to what I had said she would have realised that she had no justification for those remarks at all. 

I very much support CWaC's policy of seeking to provide extra Gypsy and Traveller sites - not only is that the right thing to do for that community - it is also the right thing for CWaC so we regain control of our greenbelt and resist inappropriate development.  Ask the communities in Helsby, Alvanley, Dunham-on-the-Hill about CWaC's control of the greenbelt and resisting inappropriate development and they will tell you straight forwardly and unequivocally why providing G&T sites in appropriate locations is the right thing to do  and how it strengthens our control of the greenbelt.

When I spoke at the August Executive I supported this policy.  When it came to the suggested sites I stayed clear of saying too much - I may be called upon to be involved in planning decisions - but I did urge the Council to push on with uncontroversial sites and to take its time and think long and hard where the communities questioned the proposals.  Incidentally Labour Cllr Don Beckett also said little about the sites - and he explained precisely why - he is on the Planning Committee.

In other words I was saying to the Executive that they should listen to their Communities.  Unfortunately it appears that Cllr Gittins did not seek to check her facts.  These comments are available for all to see on the webcast of the Executive meeting.  Those in the room applauded me.

Now what she doesn't know is that I take democracy very seriously and that I passionately believe in the importance of helping anyone and everyone present their views to Government and Local Government whether or not they accord with my own.  Cllr Gittins - ask yourself the question who was it who advised the local communities in Saughall and Mollington to present to Council earlier this week... You won't know ... it may well have included others - but I certainly helped them!

So, Cllr Gittins I won't bother asking you for an apology ... I'd like to think you'd proffer it once you realise you are wrong.  Let's see shall we?

And the second example - a Labour leaflet is circulating at the moment suggesting that we should all support their 'Bank Bonus' tax and put that money into supporting youth employment.
So what Labour don't tell you is that the Coalition Government's Levy on Bank's balance sheets  has already raised more in revenue from the Banks that their bonus tax did.  The levy will raise around £2.5bn per year when fully in effect.  Labour's bonus tax raised around £2.3bn.

The bonus tax was vulnerable to avoidance.  Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling said; “frankly the very people you are after are very good at getting out of these things and will find all sorts of imaginative ways of avoiding it”... 

And then Labour's crocodile tears on youth unemployment.  Under Labour, under the apparent years of plenty... when Labour lashed money around ... according to the Office of National Statistics the following happened:

'For people aged 16-24, both the unemployment rate and the unemployment proportion (that is,
unemployment as a percentage of total population of that age group) fell steadily after the peak in 1992-1993, before levelling out between 2001 and 2004. Both measures then increased slightly between 2005 and 2007 before rising sharply in 2008.'  

Channel 4 has looked at the data too - and has said:

'When Tony Blair swept into Number 10 in May 1997, there were 664,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds.  And when Gordon Brown walked out in May 2010, there were 920,000. The Conservatives work this out as an increase of 38.6 per cent.
Our friends at the ONS confirmed these figures were right. And we calculated that the rate of unemployment therefore, rose from 14.5 per cent to 19.4 per cent among 16-24 year olds under Labour.'
Channel 4 pointed out that significant increases in the youth unemployment rate took place towards the end of Labour's tenure.  They link that to the credit crisis.
Now did you notice what I did then - I quoted various sources to back up my arguments and also pointed out material showing an explanation for the data - in other words giving a balanced view.

So you try it with the apprenticeship data.

If you 'google' apprenticeship numbers for the UK you can see that this government has already doubled the expected number of apprenticeships for those over 25... and is committed to another 100,000 of them by 2014.

I respect those who hold different views from mine ... but only when they tell it straight.