Fringe Box



Letter: GBC Is In a Mess, Agreed – But I See No Sign of a Plan

Published on: 15 May, 2024
Updated on: 15 May, 2024

From: Brian Creese

Guildford Labour activist

In response to: The Dragon Says: The Solace Report States the Obvious – Real Change is Needed Urgently

It seems that there is finally something all parties can agree on in Guildford. The council is in a mess.

Sadly, that is as far as the agreement goes. Those in parties which claim not to be parties say it is the fault of those in parties; Tories blame the Lib Dems, Lib Dems blame Tories, R4GV blame the culture.

The problem is the Local Plan, too much housing, too little housing, the merger with Waverley (yes, Cllr Potter we know, but if it quacks like a duck…) or Experience Guildford. It is the Tory central Government, it is the Tory county council and it is all Julia McShane’s fault.

Of course, all of the above contribute to the problems currently facing GBC, but perhaps I could make one further observation; it seems to me that councillors of all colours are far too subservient to the officials.

The officials have expertise and experience that many councillors do not have, and they should be listened to seriously. But when push comes to shove, the officials should be carrying out the council’s policy.

Personally, I see no sign of a plan, an approach, a philosophy or a direction from the current council which means that the officials run the show by default.

The talk of a unity council is all fanciful. Politics works best with strong governing groups challenged by confident opposition, held to account and made to justify their decisions. That is how the best councils work.

For good or bad that is how the system in the UK is set up to work and it fails in Guildford because neither the council leadership or main opposition is strong or competent enough to allow GBC to reach the best decisions for Guildford.

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Responses to Letter: GBC Is In a Mess, Agreed – But I See No Sign of a Plan

  1. T Saunders Reply

    May 15, 2024 at 2:25 pm

    Not surprising when the last local elections were dominated by people throwing stones at each other within the same glass house, instead of using their time to curate positive visions for Guildford. Little wonder that same house they all now inhabit isn’t fit for purpose.

    The cynic in me thinks there is a clear plan though: the Lib Dem run council are executing a wider strategy to keep quiet and allow things to fester, in the hope to exploit voter apathy on the differences between national and local government. The aim is for grievances to manifest in voting behaviour favourable to themselves at the next general election. The giveaway was Cllr Potter making a pitch for Zoe Franklin in the hustings hosted by The Dragon before the last local elections.

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