Recently I had a friend of mine who is a former Labour councillor in Rotherham post on my Facebook wall “Michael why are you always so negative about Rotherham and its councillors?”.
The person is somebody who I’ll always be happy to have a pint with but they did nark me a bit with this comment.
In a way their comments did reflect a snobbery that exists in some sections of the Labour Party in Rotherham that anybody who dares question any aspect of council policy or services is doing Rotherham down.
Equally the other way, if you’re truly independent in your thinking then you have to be big enough to say when the council have got it right. Over the years I’ve had criticism from the Tories and BNP in Rotherham for supporting policies that I thought were right for our town and feel the same criticism goes the other way with regards to sometimes wearing blinkers.
A lot of all this is down to the silly outdated my dad is bigger than your dad be loyal to your tribe and hate the other tribe because they are the other tribe politics we have in this country. By the way it is fair to criticise myself for getting down and dirty in this way.
To my ex councillor friend I would say that it is my belief that the vast majority of contributors to Rotherham Politics do so because they want a town that is better, because they do love where they live and Labour and the 18% of the total electorate who support them do not have an exclusive right to say what is good or bad for the area.
Here though is a challenge for us all to prove my friend wrong about the “always so negative” comment by posting at least one thing you think the council does well. I’m going to list 5 some of which I know you will disagree with but lets just for now concentrate on proving my friend wrong.
My Rotherham (council related) Top 5
1 Minster Gardens: an absolute delight and what has now got to be among the top public spaces in England whoever designed it if they didn’t get an award they should have.
2 Countryside Management: 75% of the borough is open countryside and the country parks are well managed.
3 RIDO: especially apt on the day they are doing the ground breaking for Rolls Royces new factory, thousands of jobs created and they do a great job of marketing the area to bring in investment.
4 Adult Social Services: controversial to some but especially with the way both of the last two governments have increased their workload by shifting responsibilities without any way near enough funding its amazing how they have managed at all!
5 One I know many Rotherham Politics readers will disagree with The Imagination Library: I think its a brilliant initiative targeted at a real goal of raising literacy rates and incredibly popular amongst parents and carers.
So they you are lets say something nice to support the council when things are right but retain the right to question when something is not quite and to downright oppose when they get things wrong.