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Letter: I Can No Longer Support the Conservatives in Local Elections

Published on: 14 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 16 Apr, 2017

From Bernard Parke

Hon Alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

For most of my life I was a Conservative. I first stood as a Conservative candidate in the borough election for the Westborough ward in 1959, at the tender age of 21.

In later years I served in all the local association offices from divisional Young Conservatives chairman right through to the office of Guildford constituency chairman.

However, in common with most local Conservative supporters I speak to, I am gravely disappointed with the U-turns in local affairs.

I am sure that we are all aware of these, but perhaps the most misleading was the statement that of the “Conservative Say Green Belt to Stay” which was a banner headline on a campaign newsletter during the 2015 election.

On this pledge alone I am sure many  people voted in the belief that this promise was to be honoured. Unfortunately this appears not to be the case.

The leader of the council recently asked publicly, in the local press, who I would support.

Naturally the ballot is secret, but I will now find it very difficult to vote Conservative in the coming election on the May 4th, even if my support for our MP, Anne Milton, at a parliamentary level, remains.

Perhaps I will not be alone after recent events which effects not only our borough but the whole county?

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Responses to Letter: I Can No Longer Support the Conservatives in Local Elections

  1. Jenny Procter Reply

    April 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    My experience is that there are very many angry and disaffected voters in the borough who feel betrayed and deeply uneasy with the way the local Conservative Executive has been, and is, behaving.

    We are on the third draft Local Plan. The issues have not gone away. An enormous amount of our tax payers money has been spent on fees to consultants, acting for developers, employed to shore up these unpopular and unviable plans, despite huge protest at each consultation round.

    Our voices are not being heard and the notion that “Localism” holds any sway in this matter becomes more and more ridiculous. The latest move to reduce the planning committee to 15 is further proof of the determination to reduce opposition.

    The county council does not deal with planning but does deal with all the attendant services: highways, education, and so on, all vital in any planning scenario and I hope those who are disillusioned with broken promises and imposed solutions will think twice before voting in more of the same on May 4th.

  2. Jeff Hills Reply

    April 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    The trouble is the electorate, most of whom do not bother to vote, seems to have very short-term memory.

    I say, please vote this time: don’t vote for the party, vote for the person who is going to represent you. One that will listen to what the public, whose money they will be spending, want.

    Too many county councillors earn too much and toe the party line, ignoring the people who elected them.

    And they say we live in a democracy.

  3. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 18, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Yes, vote for the person and not the party.

    I hope that the electorate will remember this when they cast their votes at the General Election in June.

    In the case of the Guildford Constituency our present MP has shown great dedication in the service of all.

    Perhaps the best Tory MP since the late Dick Nugent.

    • Lisa Wright Reply

      April 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      I beg to differ.

    • Harry Eve Reply

      April 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      I also beg to differ. I still have no idea what Anne Milton’s position is regarding the green belt, the countryside, or the draft Local Plan. I can only assume that she fully supports the Guildford Borough Council Executive and that removes her party from my list of suitable candidates in any election.

      • Jim Allen Reply

        April 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm

        Small correction here Anne Milton is a central government victim of the electoral process while the draft Local plan is a victim of the Local Government electoral process. While they wear the same colour neither have a control over what the other thinks, acts or does, save expressing their personal opinion like the rest of us.

        Anne Milton has worked damned hard for our communities and individuals within it. So I say, don’t trash the top level simply because the bottom layer is suffering poor moral fortitude.

        • Harry Eve Reply

          April 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

          Anne Milton may well have worked hard on some issues but, as there is a national election coming up, we need absolute clarity on who is to blame for the current attack on our environment and who is so keen to throw away protection of the green belt.

          Is it the council Executive, the government, or both? I would expect a local MP to be shouting from the rooftops about this. This election is not just about the next couple of years – we will be stuck with the outcome for five years.

  4. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 20, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Surely local affairs are one thing and national affairs are another, or so they should be.

    I do not know if she supports the GBC councillors. Perhaps someone should ask her.

    Anyhow, I shall not be voting for her party next month after the broken pledges made only two years ago.

  5. Valerie Thompson Reply

    April 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I shall be writing to the ombudsman about the failure of GBC to reveal the SHMA research results.

    Without this information, no one can make a considered decision as to whether the housing numbers in the Local Plan are a true reflection of what is actually needed.

  6. Bernard Parke Reply

    April 25, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Perhaps more of those people that are not satisfied with the present situation should now follow Valerie Thompson’s lead and not just sit back and do nothing.

    This is a time when our local election candidates might listen and act accordingly.

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