Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"The letters page in the Herald has once again become polluted with countless letters from Lib Dem councillors whingeing about the result of the elected mayor vote, either complaining about the outcome or complaining about the turnout.

Everyone accepts that the whole question of an elected mayor would not have arisen if this council was run by them in a half-decent fashion.

Most observers agree that if -instead of simply trying to shoot the messenger- they had listened to the public outcry summed up by the Herald Express so well, they might have avoided the current situation where they are being -in effect- sacked mid-term.

I have accused this gang many times before of shouting down their opponents, of discrediting people instead of addressing the points they raise, of making dishonest promises to win power, and of using sometimes downright dirty campaign tactics.

This kind of awful, arrogant and disdainful politics unfortunately damages all of us in politics - regardless of party, so although I am glad to see the Lib Dems exposed I am sorry for the ongoing implications for local party politics.

The idea that somehow party politics is a bad idea is mistaken, hung councils or councils with independents in control don't have a particularly strong track record. On the other hand the councils that have the strongest track record are overwhelmingly those with a clear majority party in charge, - a clear Conservative majority.

I accept that Torbay Conservatives made some mistakes in the days of our local power in the 1970's and 1980's. But -unlike this lot- the people that served for us then had only one aim, to make Torbay a better place to live and work in - and by and large they succeeded.

Torbay's heyday was when it had Conservatives in charge.

Up and down the country today Conservative councils are run more efficiently offering better services and lower taxes than their Lib dem, Labour or even their independently run counterparts.

Conservatives have consistently taken the view that the question of whether Torbay has a mayor or not was a constitutional decision, not a party political one. We believe that whatever system you have for local Government is secondary to whom you have running it. .

The Torbay Conservative party will offer Torbay residents a real alternative in October - our candidate will brandish a thoroughly considered and detailed programme designed to get the town back on it's feet.

We will show between now and October that the best way forward for Torbay is to elect a Conservative mayor."

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