It seems that my blog is reaching parts other blogs cannot reach. I got an email from an extremely senior and nationally well known member of the Conservative Party asking me to ring for a chat. He'd read my "open letter to Mike Freer" blog and been rather interested by it. He felt that I'd made my point well and that "it is a shame that there appears to be a lack of transparency" in the whole future shape discussion. He suggested that I remind the leadership of the council about what the Conservative Party should stand for.
* Open, Honest and Transparent Governance
* Pragmatic decision making
* Making Town Halls more accountable to Local people
* Restoring public trust in politics
The Conservative Party website (click HERE) says what the party stands for. If you compare and contrast this with the Tories plans for regeneration and Future shape, it is clear that they are not following Party Policy.
On the subject of Democracy, the Tories say "We need radical change to restore public trust in politics and increase public engagement in the decision-making process." (Click HERE to see their full views on Democracy).
I'd suggest that "Future Shape" discussions would be a good place to start this radical change. I wondered why a senior Tory would bother to contact me. Rather interestingly, he'd been sent the link by a local Tory supporter who was worried about the discussions. It seems that the last thing the Tories want is a high profile council carrying on in this fashion in the run up to an election.
I'm rather hoping that pressure will be brought to bear in other quarters. I'm not a fool and I realise that a Tory Council will try and implement Tory policies. What both I and (it seems) some rather senior Tories agree about, is that the "Future Shape" discussions should be carried out in a more open and honest fashion.
Oh and by the way, what did he tell me off about? Well he said that he thought the future shape blogs were very interesting and informative. He said that I really should lay off the gratuitous Brian Coleman bashing if I wanted the blogs to be taken as seriously as they should be. I think "Future shape" is important enough to listen to this advice for the time being.
A bit of discreet and friendly advice never goes amiss. Unlike our beloved Council Leader, I'm prepared to listen to advice from people on the other side of the Political Spectrum when it is sensible.