Sunday, April 20, 2008

Basildon Council talks about Bus Stations

It was Full Council last Thursday, that is a meeting with every Basildon Councillor theoretically present, and the Labour Party put up a motion:
This Council disagrees with Councillor Horgan’s view that there is no need for the bus station in Basildon Town Centre. The Council recognises the widespread public concern and support for the bus station. Therefore the Council will work with any future development partner to ensure the continued provision of the bus station.
Except, of course Councillor Horgan never said and does not agree that 'there is no need for the bus station in Basildon Town Centre'. Of course the Labour Party knows that, and they know that the Conservative Administration's plans for Bus Travel in the redeveloped Basildon Town Centre have been public for years in terms of the published Development Framework. This specifies an improved bus/rail interchange and additional bus stops besides and it was extensively consulted on, so it's not as if we have put it in the bottom drawer of a locked filing cabinet and told no-one about it. What happened was that an extraordinarily poor piece of journalism by the Evening Echo, suggested that to all and sundry that we pretty much wanted to do away with bus travel in Basildon. They didn't bother with the tedious business of research, or even accuracy and the Labour Party seized on the coverage knowing full well that it was nonsense. Or maybe they didn't know, it's actually hard to tell sometimes, and they were certainly quoting lines from the Echo at the meeting as if they were something from a peer-reviewed academic journal. Anyway, we amended the motion into something sane, which Labour promptly voted against, neatly putting themselves opposed t0 the concept of better bus travel for Basildon. Sometimes the election material just writes itself.

Of the opposition speakers we had a reasonable effort from Alan Davies, Labour deputy leader, but very one-dimensional efforts from the rest of the opposition. Words to the wise: sarcasm does work in a speech but not for an entire speech, every speech. Ranting just sounds like ranting and an entire speech on, well, what's wrong with me, rather misses the point of debating issues of importance to the people of Basildon. Of course, the elephant in the room was the impending Local Elections and the fact that with Labour firmly on the back foot in the national polls and having shafted their own core support by putting up their taxes, things do not look good for the people's party. Roll on May 1st.