Sunday, 2 June 2013

May Day celebration causes Tory bloggers to fall out!

It has been amusing this week as Ipswich Tory bloggers and Ipswich Spy ‘fall out’ over May day!
Maybe I should describe the group as Ipswich Tory bloggers (but some thinking of joining UKIP) – The Three Tory bloggers all seem to be attempting to take the credit for the increase in fees now charged to the organisers of the annual ‘May Day’ event held in Alexandra Park.

Sorry to disappoint them all but as the Deputy Portfolio holder for parks, no one has ever mentioned their blogs- fees are constantly being looked at as we suffer from savage cuts to the local government grant from this Tory/Lib Dem Government.

But they also seem to be annoyed that Ipswich Spy keeps reminding them they said nothing when the Tories/Lib Dems were in power in Ipswich and they hired the park to the same ‘May Day’ organisers at the same low community rent that the current council does.

This is where the Tory blogs sudden and rare show of unity falls apart, Gavin Maclure informs us that backbenchers’ never know what is going on whilst Kevin Algar states it is because he was not a backbencher and if he had he would have kicked a fuss up about it.

So is Kevin telling us the Tory backbenchers are not up to the job? Many are still there- Goldsmith, Vickery, Terry – if they are not up to it why does he keep campaigning to get them re-elected? But more interesting is the comment that the backbenchers on the Tory Group are not informed of what their executive were up to – even funnier as Mrs Maclure was a member of that same executive! Or is the truth that actually the executive were also kept in the dark and that John Carnall and a smaller group of senior Tories ran the show?

As a Labour Group, we discuss all policy and our executive are left in no doubt about our feelings on certain matters and our views are always taken in to account. It seems that was not happening when the Tories were in power in Ipswich.

On a separate matter but one linked to the ‘May Day’ story – is the use of ‘Freedom of Information’ requests – FOI’s. I think they are an important piece of legislation that keeps Governments, councils and public bodies on their toes. But there is a cost to them both in time and money – and often they are just used by lazy journalists when they are short of a story - such as how many biscuits have been purchased for council meetings! Also as a council the public already have the ability to ask questions both at Full Council and now Area Committees – and in particular on the issue about the cost of the May Day celebration – why haven’t Algar, Spencer or Maclure asked a question at Full Council? Or even more importantly why hasn’t a Tory Cllr asked about the costs? The answer is they know the reply would have mentioned that the Tories charged the same community rent the whole time they were in power.

Who pays for these FOI requests? Us – the Ipswich Council Tax payer!

1 comment:

IS/BR said...

That was rather the point of the article on Ipswich Spy - they had got roughly the same figure that Bridge Ward News had got, simply by asking the press office.

Of course FOI requests cost money, but officer time is also used answering questions at Full Council or Area Committee.

Frequently the only way to get the information is to resort to an FOI request. Maybe if the administration at IBC weren't quite so paranoid about hiding things from bloggers, we wouldn't need to resort to FOI requests.