Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hengrove Academy: Why is there such a lack of conviction in the big parties?

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I'm really glad that the Bristol Evening Post has invited readers to write in with their views on plans for a new academy at Hengrove. People in the area are working really hard to make their views known. They are not getting the attention and support they deserve from their elected representatives despite their efforts to have ongoing proper debate over a decent timescale. We need decision making that is genuinely participative and on this type of issue the final decision should rest with the local community because its their kids schooling and their local environment.

The Green Party has taken a stance against the academy honestly based on its long-held convictions and issued a press statement as well as writing letters and publishing material on its local website. Where are the positively stated views of the Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative Parties? Why are they so silent on this issue? Why have the Hengrove people who have contacted us been able to tell us just how hard it is to get definite views from elected reps? Hengrove Lib-Dem Councillor Jos Clarke, also in the Bristol Cabinet with responsibility for education, has not exactly made herself fully available to her constituents according to our information.

It is situations like this, where politicians in the Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative Parties often seem to lack backbone and conviction, that helps to bring politics, local politics in particular, into disrepute. It seems they dont want to stand up and be counted for fear of upsetting voters, yet by not giving their views this is exactly what they have done anyway.