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We MUST solve our political crisis before we have any hope of reaching a Brexit situation that works for the UK as well as the EU

October 14, 2019 Leave a comment

img_4352Whilst many of us still cling to the hope that Boris is about to deliver a solution to the Brexit problem that will work for everyone involved, the noises thickening around everything happening between the UK and the EU is beginning to make it feel like there may have been a little too much wishful thinking involved.

We wont know exactly what it is that Boris has offered, conceded or thrown on to the table for discussion with the EU until the final version falls into the public realm – probably sometime at the very end of this week.

But what we should be increasingly wary of right now is the appearance of anything that is overly complicated – especially with the already tight deadline until Parliament sits on Saturday when anything that could run on that timeline is likely to be too detailed to be readily understood before any vote takes place.

Regrettably, the way that Boris is approaching his way of managing Brexit is falling completely into the Remain-collective-Opposition hands. And the delay beyond Leaving the EU on the 31st of October now feels inevitable – irrespective of which side in Parliament appears to be getting its way.

Boris could and really should have played his game a lot differently, giving the appropriate level of respect for the political terrain, the way the EU does things, but in the biggest part, because of the Parliamentary numbers and the previous behaviour of the MPs who are currently involved.

That he hasn’t and that we find ourselves in a situation where anything new that Boris brought to the negotiating table is being given away as compromises to achieve a deal that the UK can Leave the EU with at the end of this Month suggests perhaps too strongly now that what finally comes out of this will be talked up differently, but in the cold hard reality of daylight will equate to little more than a reconvoluted version of the Withdrawal Agreement that was championed by Mrs May.

The truth that Brexiteers are now likely to have to face is that it is only if we Leave the EU on Halloween with no deal or on WTO terms, that we can be absolutely certain that Boris hasn’t agreed unfavorable terms with the EU.

Whilst it is only fair that we wait these next few days to see for sure, it is becoming increasingly likely if not indeed certain that there are no MPs in this Parliament who are capable, have the necessary will or possess what it will take otherwise to achieve the meaningful and genuine Brexit that we Voted for in 2016 – without the reality being one that is simply far too compromised to be anything of the sort.

Yes, the difficulty that Boris is experiencing is in the main part because our Parliament has been hijacked by self-serving idiots who do not have the decency to do the right thing in any circumstances.

But we also got here because Boris was clearly thinking just about Boris when he took Office in the Summer, and also because most of the Conservative MPs who are backing him now are still the same ones who facilitated Mrs May’s disastrous tenure and all that that involved.

Whilst this Parliament is hell bent on doing everything that it can to weld the UK into a permanent subjugated relationship with the EU, they will have no legitimate mandate to do so if they succeed, even if they have engineered a second referendum to do so, after ignoring the result of the first.

Brexit or rather the Brexit that the British People Voted for will not be delivered by the MPs and the Parliament that we have got.

The Brexit that the British People Voted for will not be delivered by the next or any future Parliament if the majority of the MPs remain the same as they are today.

No matter how long it takes or whatever we have to do to get there, we will have the Brexit that we Voted for.

We will have a Brexit without strings or obligations.

We will achieve the Brexit that we need.

The British People will all experience the Brexit that will open doors to real opportunity for this Country, along with a whole lot more.

But we have to change our MPs and the way that British Politics works before we can get there and there’s going to be a lot more than just a General Election involved.

The behaviour of ALL of our MPs has been dreadful to put it politely. But not just since Brexit. It has also been severely wanting for years and decades before.

The manifestation of all that has been and is wrong with politics in this Country is the mess and chaos that is manifesting in parliament and destroying democracy – all taking place in front of our eyes.

Brexit itself – whilst being the doorway to this Country’s whole future, is actually being sidelined by the main event.

Until we solve the crisis in British Politics that we now have, successfully remove all these self-serving, incompetent and treacherous MPs from office and clean up the whole Political Party system to ensure that they or their kind can never return, the relationship problem that we have now and will have with the EU including and after Brexit will never be solved.

The Brexit Catch 22 is that we won’t have a real Government until we have Brexit and Brexit won’t be delivered until we have a real Government.

If supporters of democracy and Leaving the EU are ready to donate, let’s skip any protest that will fall on deaf ears and go straight to being the change that the UK needs

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

img_4318As we look at the days and weeks ahead, no one can be sure what further twists and turns we will experience in the events that surround the Brexit process.

What we can be sure of however, is that nothing in British Politics is ever going to be the same again.

Unbelievable as it might seem to the many millions of us who have become captive spectators of the ridiculous shitshow that our Parliamentarians have been acting out now for some 40 months, the majority of our elected MPs continue to believe that contrary to all the principles of democracy, Brexit can be stopped and forgotten, and that they have some kind of mandate that justifies any action that they take to get this done.

The events that have led to a situation where we have a wilful majority of MPs squatting in Parliament that contradicts the will of the People and the instruction that they have democratically been given is pretty much the perfect political storm. One that has been created by inept self-serving politicians looking to preserve their own power; taken forward to the point of destroying British Democracy whilst they disloyally sell out their own Country to a Foreign Power under the auspices of Remain.

We may never know if David Cameron and Nick Clegg would have dealt with their need to create the Fixed Term Parliaments Act differently, had they known exactly what was to come.

Reality is that with the exquisite mix that is a hung parliament, filled with politicians who have no integrity or responsibility towards the People who elected them, all puffed up like a gargantuan peacock using the FTPA like a life-preserving crutch – we have what we can only hope will be an historically unique situation. One where resolving and clearing up all of this dreadful mess will only be achieved when we have politicians running this Country who can and will always do the right thing.

Sadly and most regrettably, politicians of this calibre and nature do not exist en masse in this Parliament today. If they did, we would never have found ourselves in the circumstances that we are currently in right now.

Whether the MP that you would normally Vote for or aim to see elected in the Constituency where you live would be Conservative, DUP, Labour, Lib Dem, SNP, Plaid or even from the Brexit Party, none of the Parties that they are loyal to are equipped, have the intention or have the policies in place (or the will to create them) to look at everyone and everything across this Country and then behave not as if they are acting out their own fantasies in a parallel universe, but are in touch with what we all need to see, feel and experience. Basically making clear that they are with us all in exactly the same room.

With all of this madness going on since the European Referendum Vote in 2016, it was perhaps inevitable that sooner or later the discussion amongst those who support Leaving the EU – even if just to respect the concept of democracy – would move to suggestions of protest and even civil disorder. All in the hope that action of this kind would change the minds of those who are misusing their power and the responsibilities of their Office to coercively overturn Brexit and bolt us into a permanent form of Remain.

It won’t.

Not because the argument that we have and share isn’t justified, right and legitimate. But because the people who have their hands on the levers of power and are therefore at the controls of this chaos are not.

Events are not under anyones control. Once each and every decision has been made, the consequences and the events that will subsequently follow are always out of the hands of the decision makers – no matter what they might have us believe or what we have already been told.

As such it remains possible something that Boris Johnson is doing already or is about to do will end up having the required result.

However, I like many others cannot say that I feel hopeful.

With this Remain-collective-Opposition running the Country, behaving like some giant snake attached to the tail of a very small dog, there is as much chance if not more that we could have this same zombie Parliament until the early Summer of 2022 as there is that we will have the General Election that we are all waiting for anytime soon.

When the next General Election does come – whether its this Autumn or in around 30 months time – without having change in the kind of politicians that we have and are able to elect, nothing will really change for any of us who are on the receiving end of all that they do.

Whilst the faces might look different, the way that broken politics has failed to represent us properly in this Country for decades, will simply continue onwards just the same.

At the time of a National crisis – which is precisely what we are now in, it is difficult to imagine engaging in any process that does not appear to offer an instant solution and a remedy for all those involved.

Yet if we don not start to think differently about the cause of all these problems we are having and how all these issues would actually be resolved today, as we look forward when we get to that place tomorrow, we will only be regretful when we get there and realise that nothing in our relationship with government will have actually changed.

The change we want and the change we need is not a change that will resemble anything that any of these Political Parties are telling us that they will do.

Yes, we must Leave the EU cleanly. But Brexit – in terms of our future – is just the symbolic act of opening the door.

So if we now back any of these proponents of the old politics, which is all about them and not about us – no matter what it is that they now say, all we will be doing is endorsing candidates and politicians who once elected will still resemble the politicians that we have got already in every meaningful way.

If there is the money, support and the will to do everything that is now necessary in order that the UK can take control of its own future and destiny AND do all that is best for our People whilst bringing democracy back in from the cold, we should together be seeking to create a new movement for change and with it a political party that reaches across all parts of the political divide.

Whether Left or Right, Leave or Remain, it’s what we have in common between all of us that should be dictating the public policies and the choices we make to create our future.

We must do everything necessary to remove bias and any form of manipulative behaviour from politics that prevents equanimity of government. We need leadership and power that values each and every one of us the same.

Together we have the power that can achieve this change if we can discover the collective will to do it.

But it will not happen if we sit back and believe that someone else is going to step in and make the difference.

If we as individuals, together as communities and being one as a Country want things to really be different in the UK now and for the future, each of us must step up and be the change.

 

 

Announcing that frontline Conservatives who vote for the Brexit Party will be excommunicated smacks of desperation, not leadership

April 29, 2019 Leave a comment

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During the 16th Century Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, explorer Hernando Cortez is fabled for the act of burning his ships so that his men would realise and understand that they had the simple choice of success or death.

It’s an interesting story that has found its way into use as a metaphor. Reading this mornings news that the current Conservative Party hierarchy is threatening to boot out any Councillors or MPs who fail to support the Party in the May Elections, one can only wonder if yet again, somebody somewhere is failing to read the script in its entirety, reverting instead to using a threatening jack boot in the forlorn hope that fear is all it will take to dam the parting tide.

Cortez was of course successful. Not because he knew how to lead, or because he understood the basic psychology of others and what it would take to encourage and motivate others to go up against what seemed insurmountable odds and go on to succeed.

No, Cortez was successful because he shared a tangible vision. A direction of travel and a clear understanding of what was to be required and what would be involved.

The Conservative Party today is offering none of this. No leadership. No direction. No vision of where it is going to take the Country. No tangible definition of what is to come.

When the Party itself is already crumbling around its MPs, Councillors, Officers and those left of its sick and tired Members, the threat of excommunication for any of them – even the most ambitious amongst them, simply no longer holds the threat or fear that until even very recently it always had done.

The People, with conservatives of all kinds snugly placed amongst them, now want our democracy restored. They want Brexit in its entirety delivered. And they know that the Conservative Party under May’s tenure leadership is not a political vehicle that is synonymous with any such cause.

Yet the Brexit Party is still placed within the realms of being no more than a protest party, and the European Election that it is poised to fight will be for many the opportunity to underline and shout loudly that Leaving the EU was always what the People intended. It’s just the Politicians who have got the whole thing wrong whilst trying endlessly to convince all others that they were always the few who were right.

If the Conservative Party, nearing its death throws from months of holding down its own self-destruct button, cannot see the rhetorical gesture underpinning what its own Membership is now doing for an Election process that should never have been called, and take appropriate action accordingly, it truly deserves that temporary loan of an ultimately meaningless vote to depart permanently and be gifted permanently to those who may be far from best equipped to provide good government, but nonetheless have the resounding attribute of at least being seen to intend to represent the best interests of everyone involved.

As I wrote in my most recent blog a few days ago, for what’s left of the Conservative Party in any physical sense today, there comes approaching a final and two way choice.

The Conservative Party will either utilise whatever comes from the results of the upcoming Elections to remove this destructive Prime Minister and go forward with a new understanding and appreciation of what conservatism in a 21st Century UK can be most effective for, or it will continue to look for a solution from everything it has ever known. That which is completely broken, not representative in any way of what a political party should now exist for and not in anyway near to that which the British People now rightly expect from A Government underpinned by true conservative ideals that are fit for our time.

 

image thanks to unknown

The Conservative Party MUST have a New Leader, New Manifesto AND New Electoral Mandate BEFORE 31 October – AND they ALL have to be just right

April 25, 2019 10 comments

img_3013When Parliament has already voted to overrule the Executive, a Party Grandee who has been a Party Member for longer than the lifetimes of many MPs leaves to stand for a protest party, and Conservative Councillors and even MPs too are telling the media they are about to Vote against their own Party in an upcoming Election, anyone with enough sense and concern for what is going on around them would know that what is happening no longer fits with any rules they know. They would accept that following those rules is not now going to bring the situation to a close.

That our lawmakers have no real appreciation for the responsibility they have been given by the Electorate has now become painfully obvious to the People outside of Westminster.

Worse for all conservatives, whether members of the Party, tribal voters or simply lapsed, is the realisation that a horrible reality is now becoming manifest in Westminster. One where there are simply not enough Conservative MPs in the Parliamentary Party that have the understanding, stamina, wherewithal and everything that it takes to deal with a serious crisis – not one created by any external threat, but by something made manifest from within its own walls.

Those who observe and consider the steps of the journey that Brexit has taken will eventually realise that the decisions made by Theresa May and her enablers since June 2016 – right up to the 1922 Committee’s decision last evening not to put the flames out engulfing the Party that are now in open sight for all to see, have and are continuing to fuel a fire that has not only taken the Conservative Party to the edge of the precipice, but is on the verge of condemning the whole of the UK to political, if not civil chaos too.

We have reached a point where the true chronology of events that led to the Vote to Leave the European Union, the mess of the Brexit Process and the now the critical condition of our democracy too, is in imminent danger of being forgotten and responibility for all ills being laid squarely at the feet of the only Political Party genuinely capable of getting the UK through Brexit and to the promise of the opportunities that lie ahead for us all on the other side.

It is painful for many to admit that the disease within the Conservative Party may have already been allowed to spread too far. That if the majority of the MPs that are still obstructing change from within the Conservative Parliamentary Party do not put their self-interest, fear and obsession with maintaining a system that now, thanks in no small part to them no longer exists, that not only will the Party that gifted them their time in the public eye be gone, but the Country itself could be thrown into chaos and darkness of a kind that those amongst us still alive to remember the consequences of such times had long since hoped had been left behind.

People who I and many have time for and respect from right across the political spectrum, are now falling in behind Nigel Farage to support the Brexit Party.

Any serious conservative with an eye on the future and what happens next would be foolish not to read the electoral runes right at this moment in time and see what is about to happen to British Politics during the Month of May.

But whilst one of the key straplines of this very serious and credible protest party is changing politics for good, the Brexit Party only has the cohesiveness between its Membership and support provided by just one issue.

This commonality between Brexit Party supporters will evaporate the moment that the promise made to respect our democracy and Leave the EU has been made good.

In days and certainly no more than weeks, the Conservative Party has a final and defining choice to make about the part that it wants to play and can offer the British People as a choice for the future.

If the Conservative Party does not choose to take it, the Brexit Party could well become the overwhelming force in domestic British Politics that UKIP never could.

The anger, palpable amongst the British People today that could so quickly be addressed with reason and delivery, could instead be completely unleashed.

Make no mistake. A Political Party without professional governance, systems and procedures is not going to deliver the overnight change it is now promising us – even if it currently benefits from having many well known and well meaning names up front which gives it an even more credible feel.

The choice that the Conservative Party has to make is whether to do nothing and allow May to continue in a way that only she seems to know how. Or to commit to a hard-decision-laden and timely process that will require unbending commitment, coolness of character and dedication to a cause much bigger than themselves and their Party, all boiled down to the willingness to do whatever it will take to get things done.

Step 1. A NEW Leader

May MUST go.

May MUST go now.

May MUST be replaced quickly.

This is not the time for an incumbent PM to be allowed to run down the clock in an attempt to let history look more kindly upon her tenure than anyone actually does right now. It won’t.

The ridiculous infighting, self-interest and ambition that have created so much of the Brexit impasse and constipated version of Parliamentary Politics we have witnessed over the past year has to stop and be consigned to the bin.

There MUST be a practical acceptance of the reality that right now, in this climate and with our Country facing the issues that it is, that there is no such thing as the ‘best’ or ‘Perfect’ candidate to be Prime Minister. It is now all about putting the person into the role who will be best placed to get results and yes, get the job done.

Under such circumstances, there is little doubt that whilst far from a perfect situation, the Party Membership would support an immediate ‘crowning’ of a new Party Leader and de facto Prime Minister, AS LONG AS THE PARLIAMENTARY PARTY APPOINTS THE RIGHT PERSON IT HAS AVAILABLE.

As recent polling work undertaken by the Conservative Home Website has shown, which is reliable for gauging the mood of the grassroots Party, the Membership wants a Brexiteer PM in Downing Street.

By far, the PM that the Membership wants is Boris Johnson.

The lack of understanding and appreciation of what really gets results, instead replaced with private ambition and the idea that each and every Member of the Cabinet is the only one who really knows best and can be the next Prime Minister, is precisely why so much of this has gone wrong already.

Trying to control or obstruct a workable solution to these problems for personal reasons, rather than doing what’s best for everyone, no matter how challenging or distasteful or unpalatable the alternative might be, is likely to replace one bad Prime Minister with another. Not because the alternatives aren’t capable or any good at what they do. But because they cannot be the person to bring together the formula that this Country needs right now and effectively become the necessary catalyst for change and for good.

Boris is very electable, as has been demonstrated by his highly effective campaigns to become and to be re-lected London Mayor.

Yes, Boris has a propensity to look silly at inappropriate times. But he also identifies his own destiny as being closely aligned with the success of the people and the policies that he leads. And as Prime Minister he will know that he MUST surround himself with the full range of best talents and voices. To be inclusive, but to make sure that the results achieved are good for all parts of our society and not just those who are directly involved.

This is where the opportunity lies for all who can see, accept and facilitate what now needs to be done to align themselves, contribute and for their genuine ambition to do good for others to be recognised fully for the part they play in delivering for the much bigger Public cause.

2. A NEW Manifesto

No. Oddly the next step IS NOT to worry about Brexit and the EU.

For right or for wrong, we now have until Thursday 31st October 2019 to sort out the Brexit mess and to get things done.

That’s 6 Months. And with a week being a long time in politics, as long as the Conservatives get moving quickly AND do all that needs to be done, 6 Months will be plenty of time enough.

The first priority is to create, promote and engage the public with a NEW Manifesto.

A Manifesto that demonstrates:

  • That the kind of working relationship that WE ALL want with Europe can only be created and developed once we are a fully Independent and Sovereign State once again and that to do this WE MUST FULLY AND CATEGORICALLY LEAVE.
  • That the Conservative Party is NOT only the Party of the rich, but the Party of all those with aspiration. The protector and safe-guarder of all those in genuine need and all those who want to succeed as a result of genuine effort and not riding off the backs and exploitation of others. A Party which really is for ALL of us too.
  • That Politics is in fact the means and not the ends to get things done. That it is a calling, not a job and that those who gain the very special and privileged elevation to Public Office must be able, prepared and committed to engaging fully foremost and as a priority with the People that they represent.
  • That good governance of this Country can no longer be something regurgitated from history, read from a book, accepted as an established rule or contrived on the basis simply of how it will look.
  • That decisions will be taken no matter how hard, to ensure that Government delivers fully for everyone, without bias, favour and with fairness as we are all right and justified in expecting that it should.

It will not take months or years to formulate.

The Conservatives only have to look beyond themselves and begin to engage everyone in a natural conversation, without the hard sell and without falling back on statistics and analysis to confirm what being out there will soon tell them should then be a quickly changing mood.

3. A New Mandate

With a New Leader and New Manifesto, the Conservative Party then MUST go back to the People.

It MUST have the faith, confidence and guts to know that if the Party has done Steps 1 & 2 right, the People will come back and provide the Party with a New Mandate.

A New Mandate that is required not only to break the Brexit impasse that can only come from our clean-break Leaving the EU. But to deliver the change that the People now require of our politicians. So that the UK can find its place and ensure that we are all secure in an ever changing World, where the agility and flexibility that our status as an Independent and Sovereign State is the only way that we can effectively adapt as a Country to ensure that we can continually work together towards the prize of something better for all.

 

 

 

 

 

Are you wondering how GOOD politicians would behave differently to the shower of shite we have now?

April 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Get Elected 13Nobody is talking about what really needs to change at the baseline of British Politics.

Amazing as it may seem with all the chat about new political parties such as Change UK and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party being tipped to clean up at the never-should-have-been-held European Elections on 23rd May, there is simply no discussion underway about what it will actually take to put things right and to correct everything that is going wrong.

Worse still. By falling into the trap of thinking that change is as simple as electing one party that says its all about change or another party only dedicated to delivering on the Leave Vote over Europe, we may together blunder into electing yet a load more politicians who might look different, speak different and maybe even behave different, but will actually do everything just the same.

Things will not change in politics until we think differently about politics and make sure that the people we elect to represent are thinking about politics just the same.

That’s going to take work.

Whilst we needed the change that’s coming to have taken place 3 years or more ago, it hasn’t, because the very reason that the change is needed has continued to get in the way.

Yes we need a quick result.

But when there aren’t quick options available that actually work in the way that we need them too, the battle is won in each and every step that we take to make, become and live the change and not just about what we perceive to be a fleeting result.

If you’d really like to see, know and understand what it will take to get British Politics in the right place, with the right politicians doing the right things for ALL of the People that they represent, I would like to invite you to read my e-book ‘How to Get Elected’.

How to Get Elected is not just a guide for those considering running in elections wherever they might be across the UK. It is a basic code of practice. A guideline and framework for anyone who wants to be a good public representative for other people, with pointers to what to do, consider, how to behave and how to go about getting things done.

It’s available to read in the form of a click-through Website which you can access without charge at anytime HERE.

How to Get Elected is also available as a Kindle Book on Amazon and will be FREE to download over Easter Weekend by following the link HERE.

Please enjoy my book, leave a review on Amazon and don’t be afraid to let me know what you think.

Best wishes to you, whatever your natural affiliation or view,

Adam

 

Yes – Taxi Driver Qualification could be tighter, but further centralisation of the rules will discriminate against good driver applicants as well as bad

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

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One of the most tragic ways that MPs and Politicians fail the Electorate, is by giving excessive weight to the advice and input from membership organisations that sell and portray themselves as representative of entire demographics or communities. For they are susceptible to the very same biases, tunnel vision and levels of self interest on the part of their representatives and leaders that the MP would be expected to consider if they were just talking to any one person alone.

All too often, Ministers who have little or no real-world experience of their brief or the wherewithal to understand at an intrinsic level, what someone is telling them who has, respond in knee-jerk fashion to what these organisations tell them. They are under the misapprehension that the words of such representatives genuinely reflect the will and desires of whole swathes of the Electorate, when reality is that they seldom do any such thing.

With four years experience as a Licensing Chair which ended in 2015, I was intrigued to hear the news that the Government is now to Consult on changing the qualification rules for Taxi, Hackney and Private Hire Drivers. The direction of travel suggested being to emphasise that the rules governing their Regulation should become more uniform, and therefore centralised so that an applicant or driver dealing with one Licensing Authority would now be effectively dealing with them all as one.

In principle this sounds good. There is definitely a disconnect between the reality that Drivers are often only Registered or ‘Licensed’ by one Local Authority, but in almost every case other than a large Licensing Area such as London, they will cross into the jurisdiction of at least one and possible many others perhaps as often as every day.

This does indeed leave grey areas over infringements in the regulatory sense. But more importantly where existing Taxi Drivers and their Operating Companies are concerned, there is a big issue over outsiders treading on toes. Vehicles from other areas are perceived to be stealing business from ‘local firms’ with the subsequent suggestion that the Authority Licensing that ‘outsider driver’, employs a policy where anything goes.

Because Taxi Licensing Policy is open to localised tweaks, additions and therefore non-adoption of policies which might have been adopted elsewhere too, it is easy to give fictitious credence to the arguments that roll away from myth that every Authority is run differently.

The reality is that the rules governing all forms of Licensing are already heavily centralised, have been set in London and in the main part with basic issues like qualification, are pretty much consistent wherever you might go.

Unfortunately, the Taxi Lobby has form when it comes to influencing Politicians to change rules for their own ends.

A decade ago, changes to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 closed a loop-hole preventing private drivers from gaining a fee for transporting Special Educational Needs Students between their homes, schools and colleges. Sold as a way to raise safety standards, the outcome of this ring-fencing of local authority contracts to a the closed audience which lobbied for it landed Local Educational Authorities with an average additional annual bill of at least £1 Million, without any indication that the benefit to the end user at larger was in any way improved.

Yes, there is always a need to make sure that the rules are tight. But rules can also be twisted to benefit those with the most to gain whilst there is a significant cost to others.

We should all be very concerned about the potential for further regulation which is being sold as being in the best interests of the Public, that may actually only favour particular types of operators, has the potential to price others out of the marketplace and put up prices for all customers.

All this at a time when Taxis themselves are increasingly the only lifeline available for people disadvantaged by the remote nature of their communities, where commercialisation of public services has failed them more than perhaps most.

Like Planning Law, which is often perceived mistakenly as being set locally by District Level Authorities, Licensing is predominantly set centrally already. It is just interpreted in the main part by Local Licensing Authorities.

In what is a typically quasi-judicial setting that some would recognise as not being massively dissimilar to the Magistrates Court, applications and reviews that cannot be determined by Officers under delegated powers are heard by a panel or bench of three of the Council’s Licensing Committee Members.

Within such a setting, there is regrettably always a chance that because of the inconsistency in the quality, approach and motivation of local Politicians – as with Parliament – that you will get a different outcome from a hearing. It is very much dependent upon who is sitting, who is chairing and facilitating, how they interpret the evidence given, how they are advised by Licensing Officers and yes – just because it’s the way that it all went that day.

It is here that there is real inconsistency within the Licensing system.

But this inconsistency needs to be tackled with measures put in place to ensure that there is consistency in determinations, that impartiality is the guiding factor in all outcomes and that nobody sitting in ‘judgment’ is allowed to influence a decision because of personal bias, experience or because they are on a power trip and want to get their own way that day.

The risk in moving towards a national form of Licensing administration is that it will remove what little flexibility is left within the system. Flexibility that needs to be monitored and improved, but not overlooked, forgotten or ignored.

Not everyone wants to be a Taxi Driver. Many people take on the role as an in-between to keep themselves working whilst the move between other things. Some take on the work because they do not like being employed but do not want the responsibility of being self-employed in the generally accepted sense and are as such making the very best of things that they can.

Yes, there have been some very serious cases of Taxi Drivers abusing the responsibility and the trust that they have been given. But whilst what those individuals have done is wrong, the cases that are now being used as a reference point for changing the whole industry are statistically very few, and like in many areas where Government Policy is being used to pursue the passions of the few, there is an inherent danger to this of the tail being used to wag the whole dog.

The signifiant danger is that by appearing to tighten up rules which are already working well – when you consider that you will never create the perfect system, there are many would-be Taxi Drivers who could be assets to an industry which itself is facing challenging times, which will be denied entry to these roles at an incalculable cost.

People who could now, through the further synchronisation of rules be excluded because of the already overzealous nature of decision making in the public sphere, where risk of any kind – which includes giving people the benefit of the doubt when they are turning their lives around or are leaving mistakes made in their youth a long way behind – would be in much shorter supply.

Dehumanising the system might be reflective of the world at large, but the disadvantage and cost of such steps will be much more far-reaching than what will only ever be a perceived and tangible benefit to very few.

image thanks to unknown

Boots Corner closed for 6 Months and the consequences for Cheltenham appear very much ‘out of sight, out of mind’

December 28, 2018 2 comments

Boots Corner montage 2

Yes, that’s right. The Boots Corner debacle, the traffic problems It has created for everyone beyond the Planners masterpiece and the now ghost-like roads just a stones throw from the Town Centre have been an evolving problem facing local People and Businesses for 6 Months.

The glad-handing and self-congratulation that we see pouring out in response to every legitimate concern that is tabled, wouldn’t be a problem for anyone outside the Council and the ‘project’ itself, if it weren’t absolutely clear to everyone else that the passage of time and every new thing being added is making the problems worse and worse.

Be in no doubt, the quantitative data that will be used to legitimise this train wreck of a Town Traffic Plan will inevitably support everything that Officers and Councillors say.

What it won’t do is consider any of the qualitative or experiential impacts which are the real consequence for local People, Businesses and frequent visitors or commuters to the Town. Simply because that was never what this vanity project was about.

Out in the real world, Cheltenham’s many passionate Small Business Owners know what does and doesn’t work in the Town Centre. They’ve done the trial and error already, many times over and know intrinsically how footfall and the number of customers who enter through their doors is directly affected and proportional to the cars and traffic that travel past and have direct access and line-of-sight knowledge of who they are and what they are offering to customers.

They possessed this knowledge long before the Boots Corner project got underway and have since increased their level of knowledge and understanding in a very practical way. Information which the arrogance and ‘we know best’ attitude of the controlling Councillors and the Planners both before and since the Scheme was launched has been overlooked.

The only figures and data which now matters to the Council are the number of feet on the High Street. And the answer to the question which should automatically follow this reality simply raises many more questions and a justifiably significant level of concern about what the priorities of Cheltenham’s District Authority now are as opposed to what they should actually be.

Take a walk in the streets behind boots, M&S and John Lewis and only the most unaware of people could walk away from the experience without recognising the physical and atmospheric change to what is still a part of Cheltenham Town Centre.

Whilst the confusing mish-mash of changes to what used to be a straightforward and accessible road system may seem much safer to some faceless bureaucrat in an office somewhere, the strange silence of these roads doesn’t foretell a beneficial change taking place for any of the businesses that cannot afford the significant rents and mortgages of the revamped High Street, forcing them to go beyond.

No, it tells us that the priority in Cheltenham is only big retail business, and that the lifeblood of the town which will always be it’s plethora of Small Businesses is being condemned by both the actions and words of both elected and appointed Public Representatives.

Unpalatable as it may be to idealistic Councillors and influential Officers who have been culturally conditioned to believe that they have no other way to respond, people notice and remember the places that they want to go when they are travelling through the Town in their cars.

Yes we may have a wider, cultural problem with the dependency upon four wheels that there is.

But there is nothing practical in trying to pretend there are not natural laws at work and that human behaviour itself dictates that the lack of foresight and absence of intuitive consideration of what these changes to the Town Centre have already and are set to do, confirms that this Council will only ever deliver on its own ideas, whilst paying scant regard to the consequences of its actions upon others. Namely the very people it exists for and is there to serve.

What is effectively the closure of what used to be the inner ring road is an avoidable blight on a large swathe of Cheltenham Town Centre which will mean existing businesses will fail, new ones will never get the footfall that they need to keep going, and instead of being a destination of business opportunity for the many, this idealistic approach to managing a Town Centre will instead only really be of benefit yet again to the deep pocketed few.

For the people who know and love Cheltenham for the great Town that it already is and has been for a considerably long time, John Lewis and The Brewery are great enhancements for the Town to have. But they should never be interpreted by anybody as being all that Cheltenham is now about.

Changing this Council may be the only way that Cheltenham can now overturn this injustice, as political action is the only way that self-serving Councillors are likely to be pushed to respond to any thoughts, feelings or ideas other than their own.

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