In a Twitter I read today, Leeds to switch off main street lighting from tonight, it sparked a memory from my youth of the the two major political protagonist using the same threats under similar circumstances. Let me explain the game that is being played in Leeds. Central Government has pronounced an edict that savings have to be made. Leeds Council have published their cuts and announced it can go no further without switching off the lights of the city. The idea is for one to embarrass the other as an election approaches and the losers will be the gullible electorate. That is not going to happen.
This situation is terrible, but it is also very false. It is avoidable because it is contrived. It is all part of the cynical political game.
To threaten the vulnerability of the city, the Council is relying on the basis that the government cannot allow such an event to happen because of dire consequences to the vulnerable Leeds occupant. The Government for their part expects that any council would withdraw such a threat because the consequences are so dire and only a barbaric mind would execute such an order. If the lights are turned off crime will rise and the old and disabled become the targets of the unscrupulous and the heartless. Except in this instance the unscrupulous and heartless are the two protagonist, the coalition Government and the Labour city council.
How matters turn out will depend, not on the poker game, but on the veracity of the opposing arguments. History has decreed that neither Conservatives nor Labour have a good record when it comes to telling the mindless masses the truth. Not that the masses are now so mindless. With a third party prepared and willing to expose the Game Masters for their lies, it is harder, as Ukip alone revealed in the European Parliament. To hide behind the thoughtless minorities who bow at the alter of the Parties egos and fable telling to the detriment of the ordinary people is now no longer an option. Party posturing means more that the welfare of the people. Just look a the Mid Staffs Health Authority and the chess game as culpable management seeks asylum in other authorities over paid sanctuaries. And those so guilty of neglect appear to find it easy to move from one overpaid cabal into another. Surely enough is enough?
If Leeds needs to save more money, start in the Council offices with the fat cat executives that grow wealthy whilst the average citizen struggles on an ever dwindling pay packet. Reduce the over costly bureaucracy to a level below that of the Prime Minister, as should be done in every council chamber in the country, then watch as cost tumble. Cut the salaries of the senior executives to that proportionately below the salary of the Prime Minister, issue all staff with bus passes and free the parking lots up for traders and shoppers. Take the people back into the town centres by making them use public services. If they have to commute, let them pay for it out of the salaries as other workers do, like soldiers, nurses and health visitors.
Will this happen? Not under the two parties so shamelessly responsible for all the ills that have befallen us.