We get a one off shot at electing ward councillors every four years. 75 councillors for thirty three BCP wards.

As matters stand now in Spring 2023 I think many would agree we have not known our country in a worse state going back many decades.

Medical staff in our National Health Service we cannot praise more highly but with large scale underfunding for a decade waiting lists the longest for millions in the history of the NHS.

Ambulance wait times ever rising. NHS dentistry for new applicants all but non-existent. In Upper Parkstone we recently lost our last NHS dentist. In Poole end of our local Accident and Emergency centre.

British government policy as clear as day over a decade to run down NHS availability pressuring more and more to try and afford private. The American model. For decades back to 1950s Britain with national health service the envy of the world now in the direct state in its history.

And lets not forget Brexit 2020 with the UK ending with the Boris Johnson hardest hard line Brexit possible. Did supporters really vote to leave the Customs Union and Single Market with our food costs soaring 20% higher than two years ago with added custom import duties?

That wasn’t what we voted for. We voted for more funding into the NHS and rising living standards. Not falling living standards with more and more dependent on food banks.

And the huge climate issues. Are you aware residents that the BCP senior councillor for Zero Carbon Emissions – Cllr Mike Greene – is telling the world his “proudest achievement” was ending the “threat of Navitus offshore wind farm”?

A wind farm – vanishingly small on the horizon ten miles out at sea – would have provided 1,000 Mega Watts of clean energy for decades to come, huge amount of inward investment, and a lot of local work, is dismissed by this Cllr as a “threat”.

Plans for a wind farm that would have won our county huge world-wide praise closed down by Tory led opposition. Notably not a word to say on Rampion offshore wind farm, near identical to Navitus, running now for five years 80 miles up the coast offshore Brighton.

And sewage in our coastal waters and local rivers. Britain with the most sewage polluted waters in Europe as delivered by privatised water companies. Even when Wessex Water publishes real-time sewage overflows BCP do not follow up with red warning flags. Blue flags all summer but no BCP red flags to tell us when sea water is polluted.

And environment apart for all of us we have the huge cost of living worries and stresses with rising costs of rents and mortgages and ever rising difficulties finding homes.

Inflation soars. Cost of living soars. We all get poorer. Is it any wonder we have so many sectors of the country taking strike action. Keeping in mind when people strike they don’t get paid. Not what they want to do what they are forced to do in ever increasing numbers.

Also nationally and locally we have the consequences of the horror of Grenfell 2017. Seventy-two people dying in a cladding fire in a high rise with no sprinkler system. Only for us to find many hundreds of high rises in UK, including Sterte Court in Poole, have cladding with the self same fire risks.

What then most will not know is that a Parliament environment committee warned as far back as 2000 “It should not take a major cladding fire in which many are killed before action is taken to end the use of high fire risk cladding.”

In 2017 this issue was taken up repeatedly with Poole authorities only to be told repeatedly the system on Sterte was “different and safe”. Four lengthy emails to Poole Tory MP Robert Syms. Not one reply. In the end a year later Poole authorities announced cladding would come down – not because of cladding fire risk as high as Grenfell but because of “workmanship”. And here we are six years later and still the work is on-going.

And the matter of our local roads. Where do we start? So many local BCP pot-holed roads no better than farm tracks all but unusable. As of 2022 at least one of our local authorities Poole can still afford chauffeur driven limousines for the mayor – but we can’t maintain our roads. Notably leave BCP cross into Dorset and a world of difference.

And keep in mind as we recently learned we have BCP executives with salaries over £100,000 up to £180,000. Part time Cllrs £11,000 a year, part time cabinet Cllrs to £30,000 a year. But no accountability to the public.

All very cosy. In my view for many years one huge gravy train. All parties and none benefiting from generous packages for doing what exactly we don’t know.

As for voting I don’t know how anyone can continue to support the Tories – decimating our NHS, catastrophic hardest of hard line Brexits no-one knows of one national benefit, Covid partying and bullying scandal after scandal, and above all for me six years on from Grenfell still no proseuctions for Gross Negligence Manslaughter.

There has to be better political options. It is up to us the electorate to press candidates and insist whatever party if elected they publish live web blogs telling us what they are doing. A matter of accountability. 21st century democracy – not 20th century beaurocracy.

How goes local elections this spring so goes the general election next year.

Jeff Williams

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