The sweet smell of hypocrisy wafts round Blackpool like a ruptured effluent pipe out into the Irish Sea. For years the public have ignored the murmurings of ‘irregularity’ in local politics because not a single body appeared to have the stomach or authority to confront dubious activities.
The imagination with which politicians interpret rules to suit themselves is farcical and responsible for the moral cesspit that governs public perception. Where are simple ethics of Right and Wrong? Definitely not in Westminster and the country might say, not in many council offices. It is this perception that prevents perfectly decent people from entering politics and playing an active role in society.
When Steve Flanigan resigned as Treasurer of the Blackpool South Conservatives, there was not a murmur. The fact that a leading councillor had received donations of £250 from the late George Thompson of the Pleasure Beach and had chosen not to immediately declare it to the Treasurer is and was indicative of British politics at all levels. What happened was not illegal, just morally indefensible. If a political figure cannot hold the moral high ground then how can they make the hard decisions which affect the most vulnerable in society without being accused of, in the least, double standards?
Not that what Mr Thompson did was illegal. In fact it is the individuals’ duty to assist financially whichever party one supports, but within rules. The fact that Labours’ National Treasurer Jack Dromey, Teflon Jack to the media, proved morally corrupt during Labours’ period of revelations can be contrasted with the speed with which the local conservative treasure departed his post. How anyone would want to be associated with that level of deceit emanating from the Labour Party is laughable, but we have all witnessed this in the past with the arrogance of the ever righteous Conservative hierarchy.
The proof of the public’s isolation is obvious for everyone to see. Attending any meeting where a councillor or council official is supposed to listen to the concerns of the public is worse than the inquisition. All that is missing is the crucifix, the wrack and boiling oil; small wonder Joe Public does not complain. The professional malcontent gets all the attention and the silent needy get ignored. Within a few homes in South Shore there is the alcoholic, 50 plus years of age, never worked a day in his life, who has been allowed to turn his flat into a slum and who claims every penny the state allows, just a few yards from the disabled ex serviceman who has recently retired, who gets a few coppers over his entitlement (sic) and is harassed continually by Town Hall, Inland Revenue and all the agencies that are suppose to assist. Not much consolation for over forty five years of work? Yet local councillors ignored the serviceman for years because he worked, even though he is disabled. This is the future of the wounded servicemen flooding out of Afghanistan, fact.
The Tory names banded about in these latest accusations have their detractors rubbing their hands with glee. Much of the chagrin is that the dissenters are probably all natural conservatives, disillusioned hard working people who gave much in time and effort to the welfare of former service personnel. That insidious sinecure, the Ex Service Liaison Committee, appears to have been bequeathed from one sycophant to another; another subsection of Blackpool Conservatives? Senior charity service workers wonder at precisely what the role of the Ex Service’s Committee is as they seem to have no idea of the scale or proportion of need amongst former service men. For example, rumour has it that Audly Court is in difficulty with finances but nothing is said of the potential problem. More, several former soldiers are very visibly in desperate need of help, but rarely is there an arm around their shoulders since Ssafa ceased to be an entity in the region. So what does the Ex Service Liaison Committee do, apart from silencing any former serviceman who dares tell their own perception of fact?
Councillor Fowler was witnessed ignoring a group of kids damaging a public toilet in Highfield Road Park, choosing to telephone rather than act, casting the die. What is galling is that Councillor Sue Fowler is on the Police committee and a stern word was probably all that was needed. Not exactly the reaction you would expect from a senior political figure, but there again obfuscation seems to be the by-word of the day.
Politician, don’t you just love them?