I AM not a prolific letter writer, I suppose that is down to email, but this is an important moment for our town with all out elections for the council for the next four years. And two letters from last week’s paper April 15 have stirred me to offer a response.
Firstly in response to Mr Sylvester “Council Chamber needs dissenters”, who is calling for greater opposition within the council. I thoroughly agree with this conclusion. We must never again allow any party to have such domination within the council, such that they believe they can do whatever they want. We must not forget what the ruling Labour party have allowed to happen in this town and according to Jay and Casey turned a far too frequent blind eye. Thus we must elect sufficient opposition councillors in number to ensure there is sufficient balance.
Secondly I must comment on the letter from Ms Barbara McNeely “Memories of old Rotherham”. Many clamour, as she does, for the town centre as it was, with the kind of shops and names that we all loved so much. But just where has this lady been for the last 30 years?
She is full of praise and admiration for Wickersley councillors, who as part of this Labour dominated authority destroyed the town we all love so much. Taxes and rents have increased for businesses, and they supported the disastrous transfer of the town centre to Parkgate. Together with other controversial policies this has facilitated the continual reduction in footfall within the town and major names e.g. M&S, have followed never to return. So what of the future? Well that is impossible to predict with certainty, but something along the lines of a poor man’s Wickersley is my best guess.
Closer scrutiny of the personalities upon whom she heaps so much praise is necessary, and reveals that a couple of these councillors were deemed unfit for purpose by Casey, and Mr Thirwall is certainly not beyond reproach. Mr Healey is around only when it suits, for positive publicity, but fails to answer any questions when it does not suit. For example he is quick to jump on the steel band wagon, but will not answer questions about his support for the removal of jobs from this area when the pensions office was transferred from Manvers to Dundee under Labour. And notably, recently all our M's were absent from parliament for the vote to block the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, yet they protest at Tory cuts. Ms McNeely seems totally oblivious of all of this!
In the May election, Labour is standing a number of councillors listed by Casey as unfit for purpose, and according to Rothpol (Rotherham Politics website), Cllr Roche, Hoober, is not without skeletons that I am sure he would prefer were left buried. Once again there is the allegation that Mr Healy was fully aware of his suspension from Pope Pius school at the time he went through the selection process as a councillor for the Hoober Ward.
So Ms McNeely I suggest you remove your rose coloured spectacles, these people are not the paragons of virtue that you claim, but merely opportunists of the worst kind. Thus I urge all Rotherham residents to consider just which Labour councillors they are being asked to vote for? People have rightly demanded resignations, Labour has failed to deliver, shown contempt, the number of candidates is the only important issue, as long as they wear a red blanket.
Graham Smith, Worrygoose Lane, Labour
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