They’ll do it their way.
Following the unedifying great big row that has been going on over there in the East of Waverley – we’ve been thinking about the huge role politics now plays in local government at its grass-roots.
In happier times – local parish councils and borough councils consisted of a bunch of incredibly dedicated local people who wanted to donate their time to making a difference to the communities in which they were proud to live and serve.
We are asking ourselves here at the Waverley Web… “What actual purpose do national parties serve on our local parish/borough and town councils?”
Let’s take a look at what they do – because their powers and functions are really quite limited – and said powers are reducing with every day passing day.
At National Level – then yes, we agree, political parties are part of our democracy – twas ever so – but locally? Politics with a big P should be dumped and soon. It is, quite simply, unhealthy – particularly for the poor old voting fodder. What possible purpose do national parties serve on local councils?
‘Your Waverley’ has, for many years, been controlled by the Conservative party. The borough is made up of 29 wards with 57 seats.
The Tories hold 51; Farnham Residents 5; and there is just ONE Independent. Until last year it was, pretty much 100% Tory controlled – but thankfully Farnham Residents have created a small chink by scaling the walls into Waverley Towers!
That cannot be right it is unhealthy. No checks, no balances, just – We’ll Do It Our Way!
Councillors are elected for four years to decide how the council should carry out its various functions and duties They should represent the wider public interest as well as individuals living within the ward in which they serve.
When it comes to voting at ‘Your Waverley,” the other parties are largely an irrelevance and they are treated as such. Watch a few webcasts and see for yourselves how disgracefully Farnham Resident councillors are treated. Lesser mortals could wither and die from Fat Prost’s finger of ice! We disrespectfully suggest – it’s time this woman stepped aside?
The Conservatives can carry any vote they wish subject only to the proviso that they vote together.Which they almost always, do!
The council’s largest function is planning policy. (It has no power over transport and education which are decided by Surrey County Council or over matters such as defence, foreign policy or taxation which are dealt with at Westminster.)
Its planning role is to apply a set of Government rules and guidelines called the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), in a non-political way. The vital ingredients that qualify councillors to make these decisions are diligence; getting to grips with the facts (which requires quite some reading,) fair-mindedness, and a sense of responsibility to ALL Waverley’s residents.
Sadly ‘Your Waverley’s’ Conservatives cannot claim these qualities. Having a large majority, in fact, allows members of the majority to be lazy or, in the case of the Joint Planning Committee – don’t bother to turn up! Most of the more important decisions are taken behind closed doors in the committee rooms, away from prying eyes.
Lets’ face it – the debates – just a handful of us watch on the webcast , if it is working, are just a little bit of theatre to placate the voting fodder and where individual councillors can tow the ‘party line’ rather than form their own opinion.
The most important job of an elected assembly is to scrutinise the work of Executive and the full-time council officials. Scrutiny is an essential part of the checks and balances in government. Even they recognise they haven’t performed that duty properly. That’s illustrated by the failure to scrutinise numerous issues – that is until Farnham residents turned up!
Another core function of the council is to maintain standards in public life. The “Don’t Mention The Fraud” cover up perpetrated by Waverley’s head honchos, and which could have affected the 2015 local elections – is quite simply a disgrace.
Neither have Waverley Conservative councillors done a half-decent job of implementing a new local plan. Work began in 2009. Two Daft Local Plans have failed and after spending millions – a new 2017 Local Plan in 2017 – still remains to be examined, and following a decision by the Secretary of State to call it in – now contains a huge hole!
Some argue that Waverley/ Guildford Borough and Surrey County Councils all Tory controlled, have greater access to, and influence at, county and national government and at agencies such as Highways England or Natural England because it is controlled by the Conservatives. Now the blue on blue rows are escalating over that ‘memorandum of understanding’ between ‘Your Surrey” and the Government – that’s another fine mess they have got us into?
There are some very troubling questions about of independence and impartiality among Conservatives in Waverley. Some and we stress, some are using their party as an instrument of political power rather than as a means to represent the interests of the people they are there to serve.
Isn’t it high time that residents took back control of their councils by voting for individuals who will represent THEM rather than those who are SERVING THEIR POLITICAL AMBITIONS AND THEIR POLITICAL MASTERS ?