Thursday, September 21, 2006

Letter to the Herald Express:

Dear Sir

In his letter to you of September 18th Cllr Peter Killick demonstrates perfectly the disease that the Torbay Liberal Democrats, and through them Torbay Council, has had since they came to power sixteen years ago. They turned Torbay into "the council that likes to say NO".

The one constant I have noticed when I talk to local business is endless stories of a Council who have crushed enterprise and deterred anything new.

While Conservatives, local businesspeople, trade groups and countless willing independent citizens have been brimming with ideas for regenerating Torbay, - whether supporting yacht races, backing new development ideas or supporting inward investment the Lib Dems have slammed the door in the face of plan after plan.

And since our mayor was elected by the people of Torbay, the Lib Dem group have opposed every new idea or proposal he has come up with.

For instance, Nick Bye made a perfectly reasonable suggestion last week to consider bids from a non-profit organisation to run the St Kilda’s care home yet before a single proposal has come forward Mr Killick is already saying ‘No’ - why not wait and see what's on offer first?.

But then he and his party said ‘NO’ to a referendum, then another big ‘NO’ to a directly elected Mayor in the first place.

Offered a chance to be in the cabinet -making positive contribution to the future of Torbay- the Lib Dems said no, and then said it again six months later, just to make sure we understood.

Nick brought in property experts to try out some fresh thinking about ways to deal with the Councils sprawling property portfolio and its £50m repair bill. I was horrified says Cllr Ruth Pentney, -or in other words - 'we won't consider anything that might help improve Torbay unless we thought of it first'.

Emergency seafront repairs; the 2006 budget; saving Upton School - even urgent matters like these the answer has been "No, No, and No".

As a result of the Lib Dems negative attitude and closed minds Torbay has been stuck in neutral since they took charge in 1990.

The local economy has been drifting while the rest of Devon has been booming. Millions - even billions of new investment has poured into areas like Exeter and Plymouth - because they had the sense to say 'yes please' whilst our lot were too busy arguing about their allowances and how many loos to close.

All is not lost, in May next years there will be elections to the council and residents can at last say 'No thanks' once-and-for-all to any more of the Lib Dems childish political antics.

Torbay deserves a fresh start and a positive attitude, hopefully in next years elections we will get both.

Yours Truly


Anonymous said...

Although I agree they could and should have done more, Lib Dem councils are not the only reason why Torbay has been in decline; partly it's a change in holiday habits that has been going on for much longer than the last 15 years.

Torbay hotel businesses have tried to attract long stay (1-2 weeks) visitors (mostly oap coach parties and poor families) instead of wealthier but shorter staying weekender types who go to places like Padstow.

Also the traffic problems at Kingskerswell put people off.

The 'kiss me quick' shops in the Bay are not what we need and the nightclubs and noise put people off.

Anonymous said...

'The town that likes to say No' well you got that right.

Is it any wonder your visitors and businesses go elsewhere when all they get from your town is a parking ticket and a boarded up seafront cafe?

Glad you are highlighting the issue, what are you going to do about it though?

Anonymous said...

Not a word about Dunboybe, St. Kilda's, the silly 'dressing up' games of mayor Bye (as Poirot, Parking Attendant and Mr Humphries) which act as a substitute for decision making. Everday seems to be another photo-opportunity, but very little concrete politically from Bye.

And, as a PPC, you should be explaining your views on matters relevant to a would-be MP, but instead you want to act as [unelected]'Councillor' Wood - critic of Torbay Council Liberal Democrat Group.

His 'it's all the Lib Dems fault' and never mine is starting to jar. Bye is out of his depth and his latest petulant outburst in the HE shows how far from leadership material he is !

It must be hard hanging around waiting for your old Etonian leader to come up with new ideas to junk the very manifesto he wrote and put before the public in 2005 !

If you're that deeply concerned about council business stand for election to Torbay Council and prove your worth at the same time. Marcus if you've nothing to positive or worthwhile to say or contribute ....say nowt !

Marcus Wood said...

Sameoldtory, what an interesting post you write.

Having Nick Bye as Mayor has proved a hit with the public and you hate it, don't you?
I expect Nick is thouroughly fed up with coming up with new ideas just so the Lib Dems can block him in council; I know most residents are.

Positive things could I say about the Torbay Lib Dems, no; I can't think of any just now.

As for 'saying nowt' about their antics - why should I, someone has got to stand up for local people and it isn't the current MP is it?

People turn to their MP for help when they have trouble with the council only to find in our case that he either backs the councillors or sits on the fence; which of course as a 'fellow Lib Dem' I suppose he is obliged to do.

But for most of the big contentious local issues brought on by the Lib dems - their pay rise, Upton school, the toilet closures, the crematorium cross and the 11% council tax increase for instance, people expected more from him and definitely felt let down that he put his Party before his constituents.

It fell to myself and others -including, it has to be said, a few ex Lib Dems- to speak up on these things which has brought about the change Torbay needs.

I am afraid I won't be silenced by angry opponents like you just because I point out some unfortunate truths.

Anonymous said...

Is Marcus Wood anti-monarchist? In that case, as a Conservative, I'll be working for whoever will beat him.

Marcus Wood said...

Where did that come from? ...

For the record, I am not anti-monarchist.

Barrie Wood said...


I fully remember you saying a few months back that you support your [Conservative] mayor and councillors in a way Mr. Sanders doesn't support his council colleagues.

This was in response to me questioning your then perceived lack of public support for Conservative mayor Nick Bye.
Now you accuse Adrian of either backing his councillors or sitting on the fence ! Consistent you are not !

As for judgement, you think Nick Bye is a 'hit' with the public ? Hmmm....

Sameoldtories rightly says Bye promises very little politically. He 'offered' an aspiration of a cleaner, safer, prosperous bay. As if Lib Dems [and others] would aspire to a dirty, violent, poor and crime-ridden bay !!!

Further, you DO seem more interested in offering a critique of past actions of some Torbay Lib Dem councillors from an understandably partisan and jaundiced perspective than saying what you and your party believe in. You are standing for parliament Marcus not Torbay Council, so stop the political sledging and tell us what you're for, or do we have to wait until your leader decides what he - and by extension your party - believes in. Remember 'Built to Last' - it lasted but a few months ! But then again, 'Dave' Cameron seems to continually change the Tories' principal political themes and priorities.

In short, Nick is great at PR and a good and witty speaker, so he was a great ceremonial mayor. As a politician making executive decisions I am less impressed !

Lastly, is Bye committed to the bay ? Or, has he his eye on a PPC position and using the mayoralty as as a stepping stone to 'better' things ?! It's time for Mr Bye to answer these rumours. Torbay must not be 'used' in such a fashion !

Marcus Wood said...


An elected MP is supposed to represent all his constituents, whatever their politics, and my point about him is that he has been accused of failing to do that - he has put the need for party unity ahead of the interests of his constituents over several issues; of which the most obvious was the allowances.

As for my own politics - as this website proves, more of my views are in the public domain than most people.

When there is an election, and people actially have the chance to choose, you can be sure that I will expend a very great deal of time and effort explaining to voters exactly what the party and I are standing for.

In the meantime I will continue to highlight the dismal record of the Lib Dems in office, but don't shoot the messenger - it's not my fault they are such an embarrassement.

Barrie Wood said...

The accusations about Adrian are mostly coming from you alone ! Secondly, you don't deny my point. First you said he won't back LD councillors, now you accuse him of the opposite !

You also fail to respond to the feeling that Nick Bye is just using the mayoralty as a stepping stone to a PPC position elsewhere.

No amount of PR, dressing up, photo-ops can hide the lack of positive impact the ruling Conservatives are having on Torbay Council !

I guess you have to idle your time away by denigrating our MP and endlessly bashing LD councillors because your party hasn't anything concrete to say right now.

As your conference is at Bournemouth you'll have flip flops on the beach and the policy vareity in the hall !

I bet the likes of Tebbitt, Redwood, Edward Leigh and Andrew Rosindell are well-hidden from view in case they remind us of the 'nasty party' era !

Marcus Wood said...

"The accusations about Adrian are mostly coming from you "

I can't let you get away with that, Barry; let me remind you of just a handful that are in the public domain already.
"He (Sanders) is a political has-been'
Lib Dem Cllr Chris Lomas.
"He has done nothing for Torbay - nothing for local people whatsoever in over eight years at Westminster"
Lib Dem Cllr (and ex leader) Chris Harris.
"We regret backing Adrian Sanders'
Lib Dem leader Cllr Gordon Jennings
"It's disappointing that he has put party before people"
Ex Lib Dem officer David Scott.
"Adrian Sanders has come across as slippery and devious which is not good for his image or the party."
Claire Brewer (Herald Express reader.

And those are just comments from his own side that I have found in about 5 minutes this morning!

Let me assure you that I have scores of letters and emails from disgruntled residents and businessmen saying much the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Adrian Sanders MP - faced with a choice of highlighting problems in the Lib Dem run council on behalf of his constituents or keeping quiet to maintain the appearance of party 'unity' - has always chosen to say nothing and do nothing.

The problem with this head in the sand approach is that his lack of decisiveness has meant he has annoyed everyone - his councillors say he has let them down - when the going got tough he cut them loose to try and save his own electoral skin.

Meanwhile residents know it’s useless asking him for help if the problem is his own councillors because he won’t get involved - as we Upton School parents found out last year (his advice to one parent was ‘look for another school’ and to another was ‘get the Church to pay more’- he never did a thing for us to help change the councils mind, unlike both Marcus Wood and Nick Bye).

For years he got away with it on the basis that he said he was ‘not political’. But then he is caught up to his neck in the shenanigans of local Lib Dem politics, the shocking attempted cover up over his involvement in the 'NO' campaign last year exposed him for what he is!

That is why many residents have had to turn to Marcus and others to air their complaints. If the MP did his job properly we wouldn’t have to.

Anonymous said...

Claire Brewer is a Tory.

Sanders savaged Harris and his record in the Herald - convenient for you to forget that.

Lomas - a loudmouth, not much loved by Liberals and Tories alike.

Barrie Wood said...


Still dwelling on personalities and the last LD administration I see. I note you have nothing to say about criticisms of Mayor Bye or that your own parties tax direction is causing spats within your own ranks !

Vote Marcus 'cos I hate the Lib Dems seems to be your platform !

Anonymous said...

Adrian Sanders was a good change that we needed in 1997. He ended the complacency of local Tories who thought they could put any fool forward and we would elect them.

But even people like me (I am not a Conservative) can see that Adrian has become caught up in the local party fighting which makes them look just as bad as the Tories were.

Also the changes of leadership have helped the Tories and not really helped the Lib dems - I don't think Ming Campbell is a vote winner and I have several friends who quite like what Cameron is saying.