Thursday, 3 May 2012

 D is for

So here we are – twelve months on from the elections that saw the Conservatives take overall control of Boston Borough Council for the first time since local government reorganisation back in the early 1970s.
And what have they done since then?

If the answer seems to be “not a lot” – there is a reason … which is that the Tories contested an election they did not expect to win. Instead, they hoped for a situation of No Overall Control – which is a bit like a political Get out of Jail Free card in that it accords power without responsibility.
So have they not done much because they had no plan in mind.
The chaos in party ranks after the surprise result was palpable.
Immediately after the election, Raymond Singleton-McGuire the leader who had secured victory “stepped aside” and has been virtually silent ever since.
His replacement, Councillor Peter Bedford then decided to do things on his own terms. 
Even though the council had adopted a government model which said the leader would remain in office for the full four-year term, Councillor Bedford declared that this was not for him. Instead he “clarified” his position by saying he was dedicated to the job for two years at least - and would have a rethink once Lincolnshire County Council elections had been held. Not an encouraging start.
We’re now halfway to the LCC polls, and three years from the next Boston Borough Council elections, and so it is reasonable to ask what the Conservatives have achieved.
Looking back over our blog for the past twelve months, we are struck by the number of times we have asked when the leadership was going to start doing something.
If we accept that the Tory manifesto was nothing more than a back of a fag packet exercise from a party expecting to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, at least some promises were made in the run up to the election. But they have not been kept.
There was acknowledgement that more needed to be done to improve the town’s roads, and criticism of the “disgusting” closed door decision to allow buses to use Strait Bargate as a rat run – something that is now dismissed as a situation that cannot be reviewed until the present contract expires.
Yet for all its railing against its predecessors, when the Improvement Board - which had monitored the council’s progress since it sailed into choppy waters in the days of the BBI - let the council off the hook, the announcement came so soon after the elections, that the improvements simply could not have been achieved by the new arrivals.
But that did not stop the Tory leadership taking the credit.
At the hundred day mark, Boston Eye found that the Tories were still napping, and sadly, this remains true a year from the election.
To date we have seen a £200,000 raid on reserves to cobble together a contentious deal to keep the Moulder Leisure Pool open;  the pointless Task and Finish Group report on Boston BID, and what may well be a flawed plan to collect green garden waste.
We also have we have the current Task and Finish Group investing the pressure of immigration on Boston, which is soldiering manfully on.
The group is the direct result of appeasement by the leadership to prevent last year’s planned protest march – but if the council had spent less time in denial and more on constructive action prior to that, neither the threat of a march nor the subsequent enquiry might have been required.
Information to voters remains haphazard. Meetings are cancelled due to “lack of business.” The press and public are still routinely expelled from meetings so that discussion can take place in secret.
A year is a good length of time in which to start the ball of progress rolling – but it simply hasn’t happened.
Who can say whether that is by design, or merely due to lethargy?
Whatever the answer, we award the Tories a mark of D – for Dilatory.

You can write to us at  Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.

Our former blog is archived at:

1 comment:

  1. 'A year is a good length of time in which to start the ball of progress rolling'

    Ah ha! ..... the hitherto carefully concealed symbolism of the eagerly anticipated vegetable bowling spectacle, has just become apparent.