Wednesday, 30 May 2012

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Keeping busy ... but to what likely effect?

The busiest committee at Boston Borough Council at the moment sits again today for the fifth time.  The “Social Impact of Population Change on Boston - Task and Finish Group” – which is looking at the impact of immigration in  Boston - will hear from representatives of all other Lincolnshire local authorities  –  except, apparently South Kesteven District Council.
As well as representatives from East Lindsey, South Holland,  Lincoln City, West Lindsey, and North Kesteven, the meeting will be attended by Lincolnshire County Council executive member Councillor Peter Robinson, who is a  representative on the East Midlands Councils’ Strategic Migration Board, and Sarah Short, Human Resources and Development Manager of  East Midlands Councils – a talking shop comprising 97 members from 91 local authorities, two  fire and rescue authorities, two police authorities and two parish and town council representatives.
And then – ten days later on June 8th –  it’s the turn of local MP Mark Simmonds to grace the committee room.
Although the Task and Finish Group has met on different days since it set up shop, it has never before met on a Friday – nor in the afternoon … the meeting will be at 3-30pm.
Not that it will make much difference, but we think this is a bit of a poor show.
Immigration is one of the most significant – if not the most significant -  issues to impact on Boston and it seems a shame that our MP gets special treatment rather than be treated like the rest of the hoi polloi ... so that his visit can fit in with the traditional parliamentary practice by MPs of dropping into the constituency for a long weekend.
As we have said before, we are not gamblers here at Boston Eye – but we cannot see much emerging from either today’s meeting or Mr Simmonds’s guest appearance.
To ask questions of seven politicians will produce no answers whatsoever – because this is what politicians exist for.
Similarly, we doubt that Mr Simmonds will do much more that reiterate the highlights of his speech during an immigration debate in the House of Commons on December 12th last year.
In it he spoke of the need for government funding that is proportional to the size of the local population - which does not address grass roots concerns - and the pressure on the police, heath and local authority services – i.e. the mixture as before.
The Task and Finish group was concocted largely as a pawn in the bigger game of preventing last year’s proposed protest march.
In that, it appears to have succeeded – because on the rare occasions members of the Protest March Group’s Facebook page  become frustrated and suggest stepping out, they are invariably told that a march will not achieve anything.
But will the Task and Finish group?
Of the various organisations invited to give evidence, the police and educationalists virtually declared that immigration issues were not a great problem – which we have to say taxed our belief.
Trade unionists insisted that the arrival of EU immigrants has had “no impact” on job availability for local people, whilst an NFU spokesman accused locals of “a lack of work ethic in terms of poor time-keeping and shoddy workmanship, a lack of enthusiasm and a disengagement with the work itself.”
And, of course, Mr Simmonds was famously heard to say: “I meet some young people in Boston who say ‘Mark, when are you going to get all these migrants out of our town, and I say to them, ‘Well, when you’re prepared to go into the fields or the packhouses.”
As meeting has followed meeting of the Task and Finish group, we have seen a pattern taking shape – a bit like a jigsaw with pieces being added slowly,  creating a picture of the likely outcome.
Sadly – and unlike other meetings – no minutes appear after each session.
But we are starting to get the impression that like the last such Task and Finish exercise – which was supposed to help Boston Business Improvement District get its act together – the result will merely see a few more trees felled unnecessarily.

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1 comment:

  1. Yet again Boston Eye is bang on the button regarding the most likely and quite predictable outcome of this meeting, which of course will achieve absolutely nothing of benefit whatsoever.

    With the honourable exception of the few permitted and token realists it seems that the meeting will be packed with nothing more than the usual back slapping and self congratulating suspects as always, repeating their factuous worn out slogans over and over, "diverse, vibrant, communities and so on. They all appear to be suffering from some sort of collective Institutional Myopia.