The Conservatives have a majority on Swindon borough Council, and democracy allows the party with the most votes to put through its policies or to achieve its political will.I am not contesting that principle in fact I am a supporter of the democratic process. What I object to is when the majority party are not listening at best and at worse rubbishing alternatives to their own ideas. I down right object to the majority party not listening to the people of Swindon or involving them more in the democratic process. In particular when it comes to cuts especially of the magnitude that the Conservatives are bringing down on the ordinary people of Swindon.
Labour councillors are and will continue to hold the majority party to account for their decisions and scrutinise their policies, and actions, more than ever over the coming months. The budget season is upon us and by February 2011 the Conservatives will have to confront everyone of us in Swindon with their package of cuts. They are telling us that they are going to cut money from budgets and that this will improve services? Are they boasting that they will improve services by cutting them?
No matter how slippery the Conservatives are in spinning their cuts I have difficulty swallowing such codswallop! Along with my fellow Labour councillors I will be scrutinising the finished Conservative budget carefully when it is presented in the new year. The people of Toothill & Westlea and the rest of Swindon need to know exactly what Conservative majority democracy actually holds in store for them when April 2011 comes around and the new Conservative “petty pocket style” services begin operating.
It is not just Labour councillors who are concerned Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner who visited Swindon’s Youth Services Provison at the Platform in July has voiced her concerns about local spending cuts. Youth Services and Connexions staff in Swindon are facing cuts of 60% and are still waiting to be told how this will impact on the important front-line services they provide to young people.
I think that Cllr Rod Bluh and his conservative majority are about to ride roughshod over the objections raised to their too deep and too fast cuts. Labour and the people of Swindon will not be acquiescent in allowing the dismantling of public services on a scale such as we are about to witness.