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Rather let others give you credit, councillor
3:00pm Friday 6th July 2012 in Letters
It was with incredulity that I read your article, ‘Councillors’ cash claims hit £500k’ (Adver, July 3).
Of particular interest were the comments made by Coun Bluh, ward councillor for Old Town, where he proclaims: “I believe for the job I’m expected to do and what I’ve achieved, I’m extremely good value for money.”
If Coun Bluh believes that the Wichelstowe white elephant, the Coate catastrophe, the Croft calamity, the Tadpole Farm tragedy, the Wifi fiasco and the recently attempted Gorse Hill giveaway (Pickards Fields), all hallmarks of his tenure, can be deemed achievements and value for money, then the people of Swindon can be forgiven for questioning if delusion stalks the corridors at Swindon Borough Council.
Coun Bluh would do well to reflect on the opening lines of the poem Self Praise Is No Praise by Francis Duggan: ‘Others will give you credit if credit you are due And that self praise is no praise happens to be true’ I wonder how many citizens of Swindon believe Coun Bluh is extremely good value for money?
James Boyd Hesketh Crescent Old Town Swindon
One can only marvel at the demeanour of Coun Bluh, Leader of the Council and a man whose very nature is the epitome of selfless service to the people of the town and whose dedication to public service is without parallel.
We are so fortunate to have as our strong leader a man who doesn’t claim expenses he is entitled to and survives on a mere £20,000 from the taxpayer; we should be grateful that he works a 60 hour week in managing a very large organisation and has an absolute belief that he is “extremely good value for money”.
Having read his thoughts on the matter (Adver, July 3), I was nearly moved to recant all those horrible things I had written about Coun Bluh. However, sanity prevailed and reality dawned when I read his final words: “If I were in an executive role doing the sort of job I’m doing, I would be expected to be paid a lot more”. And here is the rub, for Coun Bluh isn’t in an executive job, he has chosen to be a politician – not what anyone would call a ‘proper job’ but one which gives the holder an incredible amount of power and allows them to pontificate at will about their views always being the right ones for the town.
Sorry Councillor, but piety and handwringing just isn’t your style.
Des Morgan Caraway Drive Swindon
He is good value
If I might comment on your article about payments to councillors, I expect there will be knee jerk reaction that all politicians are money grabbing, and on the whole I feel that this would be an incorrect view.
Most politicians go into politics with a desire to do good and help. They may want to help the environment and give their constituents a better life or to make capitalism stronger. As they progress up the political ladder they often become hungry for more and more power, but on the whole, not for money.
If we take the three examples you gave, all three are paid well below the pay grades they would be on if working for an employer. Councillor Bluh, although I disagree with most things he does, with his responsibilities would be on more than twice what he gets now, and Des Moffat from my observations, works such long hours for his constituents, that for his £6,000 he would be on less than the minimum wage.
Steve Thompson Norman Road Swindon
Brain injury plea
I would like to invite your readers to help me raise awareness of an important new information website for parents which is very close to my heart.
The Brain Injury Hub (www.braininjuryhub.co.uk) provides comprehensive information and support to the parents and other family members of children who have suffered a brain injury. It’s been developed by the national charity The Children’s Trust, Tadworth.
My own experience of brain injury has been widely reported, but of course children can suffer brain injuries too – the causes include road accidents, falls, brain tumours and meningitis. A brain injury can leave a child with lifelong challenges, both physical and mental, and their parents will desperately need support and information. That hasn’t been widely available before, but now the Brain Injury Hub will be a vital resource for thousands of families across the UK.
As a Vice-President of The Children’s Trust I have already seen the amazing work the charity does at its national rehabilitation centre for children with brain injuries. The Brain Injury Hub combines this clinical expertise with contributions from parents sharing their own stories and a forum where parents can talk about their own experiences.
Perhaps you know the parent of a child with a brain injury, maybe amongst your family or friends or at your child’s school. If you do, please tell them about the Brain Injury Hub. It could help the whole family overcome challenges they may be facing.
Richard Hammond On behalf of The Children’s Trust, Tadworth
Green space alert
I am not surprised to hear that contractors are again looking at building on the land adjacent to Lydiard Park.
Robert Buckland may be stating his opposition to “inappropriate” development in this area, but he is speaking with a forked tongue. He is a member of the Government whose policies are those of the developer’s friend. The new planning legislation makes a presumption in favour of development, particularly next to an already developed area.
This is going to make green spaces in and around Swindon particularly vulnerable and we should all be aware of it.
COUN Cindy Matthews Lydiard & Freshbrook Ward Swindon
Car park woes
How I sympathise with Mr Snell from Highworth and his parking ticket after being delayed at the Walk In Centre (Adver letters, July 4).
My son had a similar experience when he parked in the Brunel North multi-storey car park during the last bank holiday.
He was taking my grandson to the optician. On returning to the car park he realised that he had mislaid his ticket and after searching his pockets and retracing his steps to no avail, he explained his predicament to the car park attendant. He was met with total indifference and told to ‘use the machine’.
He had to fork out £38 to exit the car park, bearing in mind that he could not have entered the car park without taking a ticket in the first place and had been gone for less than two hours! On appeal, like Mr Snell, he received a curt letter from Swindon Council with the added delight of a copy of the car parking tariff for the Brunel North car park.
At a time when we are supposedly trying to attract visitors to the town centre, I think a more sympathetic approach and discretion by the car park attendants would go a long way to achieving that goal.
Mrs Dee Yeates Lower Stratton Swindon
Salute to show
Please can I compliment the Swindon town centre on the Armed Forces Show on Saturday, June 30? Well done all ranks. Nice to see some World War II medals on show.
I also wish to say to fellow veteran Frank Avenell to ignore Kevin Small’s letter (Adver, June 27). He’s like a lot of politicians and doesn’t understand veterans’ feelings. All the best Frank.
Allan Thipthorpe Queens Drive Swindon
Give cash back
Having apparently chosen the role of the fool over that of the charlatan as made clear by his testimony to Parliament on July 4, claiming he did not know what was going on, should Barclay’s shareholders now ask for their reported £120million in salary and bonus payments to Bob Diamond to be returned?
Guy Green Old Town Swindon
So the main parties at Westminster think that the voters of Britain should be electing the members of the Upper Houses of Parliament? Well let’s open up the field for all comers, not just the usual hacks of the main parties or their generous donors.
In a voting arena for this event, let’s invite anyone who thinks they could do the job and have a go. Hustings or primaries could be held where candidates are invited to put their virtues to audiences in places like the Wyvern. Shortlisting could be assessed by an audience of lead pressure groups or interested voters. It would be interesting to see how many people put themselves forward.
Ballot papers could contain about ten candidates who have been shortlisted, sifted by apparent articulacy, sincerity and vision etc, and no deposit required from candidates so shortlisted to appear on the ballot paper for each of the election areas.
Hopefully, this procedure, or its possible refinement, would loosen the current stranglehold on the politics of the three current main political parties.
N Gardner Carlisle Avenue Swindon