So despite my call a few weeks ago, the Southend Conservative group haven’t sacked Cllr Mark Flewitt. Which is a shame, but perhaps I shouldn’t be looking for moral backbone from this group of Tories.
So Cllr Flewitt is still about, still a senior figure on their frontbench, and still — naturally — trying to pass off utter gibberish as a meaningful political contribution.
His latest blog, mercifully, is short. And appears to be written in something rather closer to English than some of his other offerings. Unfortunately, that only makes it easier to notice that one of the central points he makes is, err, demonstrably false.
So in Mark’s latest blog, he makes some claims about the upcoming changes to the waste contract, which regular readers will know that he has been excised about essentially since the Conservatives lost power last May. He says:
“Despite the budget cuts the Conservatives have received assurances that textiles will still be collected in plastic bags….So once again the local budget changes without any reference to anyone and makes the process almost without value.“
Now, regular readers may also remember that I made a similar point a little while back:
“My understanding is that although the bags will no longer be provided, there will still be kerbside collection for recycling of textiles (fabrics, clothes to you and me). They will not have to go into black bags.“
The timing is interesting here, because I posted that blog in the morning of 26th Feburary. The budget debate at the council, meanwhile, was in the evening. So…after my blog.
Maybe he doesn’t read my site though. (Well, given how upset he gets when this site calls his nonsense “nonsense”, it seems likely that he does -Ed) But luckily for Mark, this same point was raised, in the budget debate, by Labour councillor Julian Ware-Lane:
“I am also pleased that the listening administration has listened to my pleas regarding textile waste collection; I am assured that kerbside collection is to continue.
You can even go and watch it on the webcast, before skipping ahead to listen to Mark’s own disjointed ramble at the end.
So Mark’s description of “the local budget changes without any reference to anyone” are another nonsense, and are either the product of being selective with the truth or just not paying proper attention. It was pointed out by a number of people at the time that the collection would continue.
As if that weren’t enough, he goes on to claim that this “makes the process almost without value.” Does it? How precisely? The budget extended further than simply waste collection — actually, the new waste contract is being dealt with at a special council next week. The budget merely alocated the funds for it. And for a whole host of other services that the council provides.
At this point I start to wonder if Cllr Flewitt even understands how local government works.
What I suspect he actually means is that it makes the Conservative amendments meaningless. You’ll remember that one of their five proposals was to take £12,000 out of reserves to “save” the service. Which given that the service is safe, and it’s only the free bags to residents going, amounted on spending £12k on free bags for everyone.
This being the same party that wanted to — and by all accounts still wants to — close local care homes and children’s centres (cuts which, as part of the joint administration, Southend Labour have stopped). But £12k on free bin bags is a good use of taxpayers’ money. Apparently.
It was stupid then, and time has not been any kinder to it.
What’s truly scary, though, is that this is the lot who used to run Southend. And at one time Cllr Flewitt was a cabinet member. I am grateful to him for giving residents a reminder of how ineffectively useless he and his party are, and why they shouldn’t entertain a vote for the Conservatives on May 7th.