One peculiar side-effect of the disgraceful democratic deficit that’s occurring in Suffolk is that we 11 solitary Lib Dems – the official opposition – are daily being asked for support, information, and advice from residents from all over Suffolk. That is, not only from our constituents, and from people who are affected by affairs within our districts, but from people who are supposedly being represented by the 54 Conservative councillors in other Suffolk council districts.
Why? Well, we are getting a lot of mails and phone calls from people who have despaired of getting any contentful explanation from their own elected councillor about these cuts to frontline services by the SCC Tory leadership. A leadership that is insisting on making 30% cuts over three years although even they are finally admitting that national cuts amount to no more 19.5% over the same time. (And we Lib Dems think it is actually less.).
In other words these are mails and phone calls from people suffering from the effects of seemingly unnecessary cuts of over 10% without any reasonable explanation (except for those three fateful letters N S D). Cuts aimed at libraries, school crossing patrols, eXplore cards, local buses, yet not at the pay of senior executives or the cost of contracts or consultants nor in gagging clause payments to senior staff who have been ‘let go’ (£500,000 last year alone).
These are mails and phone calls from people who have discovered that if they write to their own Tory councillors to express their despair and disbelief , they will get no help, or any adequate representation for their plight. And its a serious plight for most of us – the loss of vital services for which we not only pay, but which we pay SCC executives to run, and for which we elect our local councillor to represent us. Instead, we only get variations of that same old theme:
I hope that my response has gone some way to re-assuring you that we share your passion for the county and the most vulnerable within communities, and that our New Strategic Direction is designed to help precisely these people.
(I hope the writer of this can recognise his style!)
Don’t get me wrong – I am very happy to help anyone who asks me. But there are 54 Tory Councillors who should be asking themselves: “Why is it that our electors do not trust us to support, inform, and advise them?”
And contrariwise there are many people in Suffolk who should be asking themselves: “Why are we electing people that we cannot trust to to support, inform, and advise us?”
My Chinese chengyu for this post is:
东风吹马耳 dōngfēng chuī mǎ’ěr: (literally – the east wind blows the horse’s ear) eg: information falling on deaf ears