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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 8 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

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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.

How to get Elected – and be a good Representative of the People both before AND after you win

December 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Get Elected 12

With Christmas and the New Year now very much upon us, Brexit overtaking just about everything and a general disillusionment with our Politicians and everything they do, you might spend a moment over the Holidays wondering if there is something that you could do.

Many people do think about entering Politics but don’t know where to begin. Either that, or they know that they will be hamstrung by having to join on one of the main Political Parties. In times like these, this may simply be something that you do not want to do.

Getting involved and doing it properly is a big commitment, especially if you are going to work as an independent and alone.

To help you decide if you would like to get involved in Politics for the right reasons and then provide some advice, tips and guidance of what do expect and what you should do if you do, I have written How to get Elected – and be a good Representative of the People before AND after you win.

Normally, the Book for Kindle is on sale on Amazon for £2.99. But as its Christmas, it will be available to download FREE for a limited time only on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Please get yourself a copy and enjoy!

Best wishes for Christmas & the New Year.

Adam

 

How to get Elected, the Book for Kindle is available to download FREE from Amazon on 24th – 26th December 2018 and 31st December 2018 – 1st January 2019.

Cheltenham & Boots Corner: When things don’t add up, questions need to be asked

November 2, 2018 1 comment

BCWith the Boots corner closure remaining firmly in local minds, the Council attempts to write the concern off as nothing more than the views of a ‘vociferous minority’.

Regrettably, this is how Local Government glosses over disquiet in the UK today and hitting the spot when it comes to overturning undemocratic decisions is a very hard thing to do, as the whole culture has evolved to protect itself.

In reality, even elected Councillors that do have their local communities and constituents at the heart of what they do, can find it an almost impossible task to get the right questions answered, as the system is geared to allow the close-down of unwelcome debate.

That said, persistence is the greatest ally in achieving worthy aims in Government, and if you keep asking questions, and then the questions which then follow any answers that you might get, the right result is far from being impossible – even if it doesn’t arrive within a timescale that you might find comfortable or like.

If I were representing people in Cheltenham right now, there are a number of questions that I would immediately ask. I would anticipate having many more, depending upon the answers I received or found. They would be as follows:-

Why has Boots Corner been closed?

Whilst it sounds like the answer should be obvious, it isn’t. BUT it is in the interests of the Council and/or whoever benefits from the closure for members of the Public to think that it is. Be sure not to fall into the trap of reading or listening to opinion, such as the article in last Sunday’s Observer, which framed the whole issue as being about pollution. That is just a useful excuse that takes the debate in a very different direction and is designed to make the real issues subservient to those that are in vogue.

Who or what is the driving force behind the change?

Is it the whole Council? Is it one of the Political Groups? Is it Officers? Were there Consultants involved? If there were Consultants involved, who paid the bill and what was the Brief?

What is their reasoning and motivation for the change?

Why now? What do the changes to Boots Corner really achieve? Is the reasoning given the full story, or is there more that we should know?

Who are the real beneficiaries?

Who stands to benefit from the changes at Boots Corner? What will those benefits be? What evidence was used to suggest that these results would be achieved? What modeling was used? What real-life examples were used and how do they relate to the very idiosyncratic nature of Cheltenham’s Road Plan?

What else is happening which is related?

There’s no such thing as coincidence. What else is happening on the same timeline as the changes to Boots Corner? What bigger Strategy is at work?

How did the Council reach the conclusion that the change was necessary?

What was the process within the Council that led to the decision to make the changes at Boots Corner? What is the chronology and timeline of the events that led to it? Who was involved in the process? What influence did each of the Parties involved have?

What evidence or tests being met will confirm the change as permanent?

The changes have been portrayed as being temporary or as a trial. What evidence will be used to decide if the changes at Boots Corner should become permanent? How have those levels been defined? Who has defined them? Who will write up the final Report, Conclusions and table the Proposal for the Council to decide?

What has been used as the basis of those tests?

Where did the ideas or methods come from which have been used to define these tests?

What has changed?

What has changed since the last time the Council and/or other Local Authorities considered closing Boots Corner and decided not to?

What is the long term Strategy?

 Is the closure of Boots Corner part of a much bigger plan? Does the Council intend to pedestrianise the whole of the High Street and Centre of Cheltenham? Is there something on the horizon that isn’t Publicly known?

What consultation with the Public has taken place?

Did a Public Consultation take place? If so, how was it carried out? What questions were asked? Who took part? How many people took part? What were their responses? What questions were raised? How were those questions answered?

What consultation with local businesses has taken place?

Did a Consultation with businesses take part? If so, how was it carried out? What questions were asked? Who took part? How many businesses took part? What were their responses? What questions were raised? How were these questions answered?

What consultation with Developers and Landlords has taken place?

Were Developers and Landlords consulted? What role did they play? What influence did hey have?

What influence has the arrival of the John Lewis store had on Boots Corner and other changes to the Town Centre Traffic system?

Has the arrival of the John Lewis store and its opening this Autumn had any influence on the Council’s decision making? If so, how?

Who designed the current plan?

Who designed the revised traffic and/or road plan to facilitate the Boots Corner closure? What modeling did they use? Why was that modeling considered appropriate as the basis for the changes?

What work was undertaken on traffic displacement modeling?

What work was undertaken on traffic displacement modeling? (Literally, what were the recognisable alternatives for drivers?) Where are the plans and figures showing where the traffic would go when Boots Corner was closed? How do the Council know what alternatives people who used to drive through Boots Corner to access the North of the Town Centre and beyond would use?

What steps were taken in response to the traffic displacement modeling before Boots Corner was closed on 28th June 2018?

What steps were taken to address the impact of the traffic re-routing which was going to take place after the Boots Corner closure BEFORE it actually took place in late June?

All of this information should be available in the Public Realm, but it is far from an exhaustive list of questions, and I am sure that many more would arise as you go along.

The primary sources of information should be the Minutes of the Meetings of the Full Council and also any of the Council’s Committees which have been working on or ‘overseeing’ the Boots Corner changes.

This is where all of the decision making, the reasoning and the evidence that supported it should be open to Public view.

If not, Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) should enable access to anything else that isn’t disclosed because it has taken place outside of Public Meetings.

Please Remember: The Boots Corner Closure is a matter of everyday Public concern. As such, legitimate questions should always be answered when asked or presented appropriately. If the Council and any party involved has been fair, balanced and done everything properly to ensure that the best interests of local people, businesses and anyone it has a duty of care to are served, they will have nothing to hide and everyone working on their behalf will be as open and helpful as they can be. They certainly wouldn’t need to rely on or have reason to resort to ridicule or any other form of personal attack as part of their response – whatever the medium.

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