As I start to write a glance out of the window shows signs of spring, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips growing happily together in the garden truly a sign of hope for the coming summer. On 3rd May I will have been a Councillor for one year. I hope during that time I have done a fairly good job of putting residents and their concerns first and in the main I have enjoyed it. However, it saddens me very much that, in my opinion, politics and tribalism is ruining the way the Council operates.
I personally believe there is no place in running a local council with such behaviour. Am I being naïve in wishing that the majority and opposition parties put aside their party politics and make the residents of the London Borough of Sutton their focus? My inaugural remarks at a Council meeting said as much and probably this is what has made me a target of one or two Councillors who have accused me of doing things I have not done. It shocks me that I cannot get an apology from either of them but I guess I will just have to harden my shell and accept that for some Councillors the truth does not matter.
I see on Facebook there have been many comments about Councillors expenses. I have never made a secret of the fact I believe Councillors should receive a basic allowance. I was stunned when I discovered how much it was as I thought it would be lower. Yes, I accept it but in the light of honesty and transparency I use it for expenses relating to my Council duties and donations to charities dear to my heart.
I also believe that the amount of money paid to those who have extra duties is too high and I was shocked to read on social media someone I held in high esteem thought the chairs of various committees should receive higher allowances otherwise “you would get people who were unable to do the job”.
Quite insulting I thought as many people work in the NHS on low pay because they want to make a difference. All of the facts about allowances can be checked on the Council web site as well as checking how many meetings a Councillor attends so anyone can see if their Councillor is offering value for money.
I think in light of comments aimed in my direction I need to clarify my position as an Independent Councillor. I am not tied to a political party or a political doctrine and am not subject to a party whip or pressure from a party leader. I make up my own mind on whether to vote for or against something or in fact abstain. My motto is “is this the right thing for the people of Sutton?”
Thursday 28 March sees the by-election in Wallington North. There has been much comment on Facebook about it. I hope voters will look in detail at the Independent candidate as the more Independents sitting on the Council the better in my view. We need to stop the stranglehold of the two party system in Sutton. Yes, voters are fed up with the leaflets slagging each other off but to make a difference one has to step around all this and look at the candidates.
Gervais Sawyer, in my view, is a great candidate because he is measured in his approach to things, has great vision and like me will put the residents he represents first and not be “whipped” into line. I do feel it is important for the electorate to use their vote in Wallington North tomorrow.
May I wish everyone a happy Easter.