LETTER OF THE WEEK: Conservative councillors and MPs must admit guilt

Former council leader Jim Harker.
Former council leader Jim Harker.

I write about something that will affect every person in northamptonshire, the future of local government about which there seems a paucity of letters or opinions.

The county council is, or about to be, bankrupt.

The idea is to split the county into two uitary councils and do away with local councils.

But hold on, is not the county council run by the party that represents the best that capitalism can offer?

When that council presented their plans for the future of Northamptonshire all those years ago, the only letters I saw were from one or two or two Labour opposition councillors.

Yet, hypocritically, all the Tory MPs representing Northamptonshire constituencies signed a letter saying “it were nowt to do with them” as soon as the news of near bankruptcy was declared.
Funny, I thought it was their party in government and their party in Parliament that decided on an “austerity” policy. It was their sheer hypocrisy that they can find a few billion pounds to bribe Ulster Unionists to agree to whatever they wanted, but nothing for Northamptonshire. But this is how capitalism works these days.

If you can not make enough money from it just give it up for other people to pay the debts, normally those who cannot afford it. A quick example is the East Coast main line. Virgin and Stagecoach cannot take the greedy amounts they wanted, so they just ditch it. Consequences? Who cares, that is capitalism.

But in the case of the county council, it affects many, especially the poorer among us, working or not.

Take libraries. According to the Museums and Libraries Act, 1965 it is illegal to shut a publicly owned library or museum. This act was passed because various Tory councils even then were trying to shut them. Who cares? Certainly not the rich of Northamptonshire because they will just buy any books they need.

The poor family will not be able to, nor will they be able to get to libraries, not only because of distance or fares, but because the subsidy from the county council has gone and the bus route no longer exists.

And that is just two aspects of county council responsibility.

I feel really sorry for all those volunteers who are working what should be paid jobs in an effort to keep humanity going in such disgraceful circumstances.

So, it will be the people least able to afford that will pay.

Now the plans for the unitary councils to come after the Tories have run away from their responsibilities for the county council. They must think they are in heaven. Now they can muck about with ward boundaries to make sure that no “red spots” will ever occur in Northamptonshire again.

Boundary Commission independence does not exist ever since Margaret Thatcher interfered with constituency redrawing plans after the 1981 census. As just one example she managed to get the Boundary Commission to agree a constituency along the medway that was 25 miles long and at one point 25 yards wide, all to wipe out that “red spot”, a Medway town.

The constituency looked so ridiculous that even the BBC had a news item on it. It worked though, because all those Tory voters down the side of the Medway outnumbered the town and it went Tory. That was not the only shenanigans that went on then and no doubt since.

If any Labour person, councillor, prospective MP or voter does not think it will happen here they are closing their eyes to disaster.

But even when the Tories have their way, who will be paying for the shortfalls of the capitalist Tory county council? Certainly not them.

No, all debts will just pass on to those least able to afford them in increased poll tax – well, it is hardly council tax anymore! Then again there is a proposal for “town councils”.

I believe there is one of these under the auspices of Kettering Borough Council but, according to your letters page, this town council keeps getting over-ruled or ignored.

If the Tories are what they claim to be, champions of capitalism, then they should take responsibility for their actions, MPs for their government, councillors for the councils.

As they do not seem to be shining examples of the capitalist system they purport to support, maybe they should be branded as failures and all quit and have done with it.

The alternative will probably be bye-laws that we all have to touch our forelocks in the presence of our betters and if we do not know our betters, get fined. That will help to stop any bankruptcies.

John Barratt