LETTER OF THE WEEK: Disheartened and without hope after unitary vote

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I feel extremely disheartened. I went to the Wellingborough Council meeting and saw council members vote to disband our council and hand the control of our local services to people somewhere out there in the ether.

People who aren’t elected and aren’t nessarily working for the benefit of local people and communities.

Most often they will be administrators who may have a mind to create new entities of vision and hope but more likely they will be new entities that ration services and develop a penny-pinching almost computerised compassion lacking systems, again just about spreading services and funding thinly on an ever diminishing slice of bread.

Will they come heralding any kind of vision of hope, and at what level could this hope occur?

I don’t have hope that they will strive to help people consistently in this county, I don’t have hope that these creators will ensure that local people and communities play a leading role in creating the new councils and their democratic systems.

I don’t have hope that they will come up with open innovative ways for selecting or electing new councillors for this entity or will work to enable greater community participation in service delivery and provision at all levels.

I don’t have hope that they will ensure every resident’s voice is heard.

Most importantly I don’t have hope that these councils will actually be able to do what they are set up for, provide good quality local community and essential services, as well as engendering a sprit of ambition, enterprise and creativity in the county to help us all thrive.

Put simply, I don’t have hope that they will ever do what we need.

The basis under which they are being created will be built on a foundation of suspicion, lies, arrogance, exclusion of opposing voices, abrogation of responsibility and an overarching desire by some to break up people, communities, and the common philosophy of working together to meet our needs.

The classic divide and rule mentality and work to move as much power as possible into the hands of the smallest number of people as possible to enable them to take control and steer common services, and the vast public money allocated for these, away from the people that need and use them to a handful of big businesses as distant as they can possibly from local people and communities.

It cannot be right that at the very time we as residents will be paying the most we have ever paid for our public services that we will receive the least services and value for money

for our contribution, and this will only get worse.

No other business would ever get away with demanding so much money from people and not guaranteeing anything in return.

So no I am not hopeful, this is not a new dawn but rather a new nightmare, and in Northamptonshire it will be playing out alongside the other present nightmare which is Brexit, god help us.

But maybe it will be the kick to encourage many of the willing to help us abandon the present farce of local decision making in this county and instead look to see what else we can create which does embody hope, compassion, fairness, supports aspiration and innovation, and builds real and powerful community empowerment from the grass roots up.

A movement which could make present decision making systems obsolete, is fully participative and not representative and enables us all to be heard equally.

Which builds on and embraces ethical morality, and sees through the mud of what support we all need and helps us embrace personal responsibility for our own lives and respect and compassion for each other.

A system based on the thriving of all, not survival of the fittest.

This would give me hope, and I hope we will all wake up enough to dream and believe that we can create this.

There are so many models from across the UK and other countries where people are doing this, we can draw on these ideas and start to make some of these a reality in our lives and our communities.

Lets make these reactive, unimaginative, mean spirited councils and councillors a thing of the past and create community assemblies, community chests, and community trusts to help us realise the true wealth or our communities and of each other.

Marion Turner-Hawes

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