Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Green verging on the ridiculous

Thanks to the Green Party for adding some entertainment to the Coleridge by-election campaign with their recent newsletter.

Outgoing councillor, Chris Howell, has provided us with his fisking of their newsletter:
Their stuff on the East Area committee ranges from confused to grossly misleading.
On speeding
The vote at East Area committee was only won on a recount, after fierce opposition from Green party Councillor Margaret Wright who described the use of police resources to enforce residential speed limits as a scandalous waste of resources. You wouldn't guess that from the Greens' newsletter.
On verges
The Greens claim they wanted to make verge repairs the number one priority at East Area committee, and this "did not get any support from Coleridge's currently elected Councillors". This point is utterly misleading - it's debatable if it is even factually accurate, as the vote that Adam Pogonowski forced was a nonsense amendment proposed for the purpose of political points scoring and I think I made that point at the meeting, whilst confirming that I agreed it should be top priority.

The committee had over many meetings narrowed down the projects to be funded by the Council's environmental improvements budget. At the last meeting, there was enough money left to implement all the remaining projects under consideration except one, so we picked a project that in the unlikely event all the projects proved to be technically feasible and supported in public consultation would be dropped on lack of budget grounds. That was not grass verges, which had therefore been allocated funding.

Adam then put forward an amendment seeking to set a priority for funding amongst the projects that we had just agreed full funding for - as there was no further contention for funds between these projects as they were all fully funded, this didn't actually result in any additional priority - all funded projects were to be moved forward as quickly as possible.
On the reason for the by-election
"Conservative Councillor Chris Howell ... Perhaps ashamed of the savage cuts the coalition government is undertaking, he resigned."

This is a completely false accusation designed to imply to the electorate that I resigned because of a disagreement with the coalition government's policies on the deficit - for the record, overall I am delighted with the direction of the coalition, both because of their firm but considered approach to tackling the budget deficit, and in the related area of how they are seeking to roll back the patronising, expensive, bullying top down government that is blighting so many local services and local communities.

Specifically, on the budget, my view is that if you borrow beyond your means and give every impression that you aren't that interested in repaying the debt at any point - which appears to be this week's policy from both Labour and the Greens - investors will only lend you money if you offer very high interest payments, and eventually they will stop lending altogether, as the risk of the government failing to repay the debt becomes too high. The firm action of the coalition has already ensured that the immediate crisis has been averted, and interest payments on UK government debt are already lower than they would have been under a Labour (or Green) government.

I certainly don't support the argument that the risks to the economy are lowered by delaying action on the deficit, rather if the coalition government hadn't taken the steps it has, it really would have had a devastating effect on the government's ability to provide essential services in future, and would have left our children with a horrible mess to fix.

If my blog post wasn't enough for them, and they wanted to confirm my position, they could have asked and I would have made it clear what they wrote was false.

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