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Councillor on Medway Council
Speech delivered to full Council about a Labour Motion on Play Areas

John Ward

Speech prepared for the full Council meeting on 25th September 2002

Thank you, Mr Mayor.

You know, I find this motion—not the subject matter, of course, just the Motion—highly amusing. It strongly reminds me of a television programme some years ago called Not the Nine O‘Clock News, and one week they did a spoof of the Esther Rantzen That's Life programme. In this they purported to look at a number of complaints about various things such as cracked paving stones, dodgy double-glazing companies, and even the weather. Every time, 'Esther' said "We phoned the gas board. They saidŒ" and the 'Glyn Worsnip' character replied "This really has nothing to do with us".

I see exactly the same happening here, Mr Mayor. No matter what the problem is or who is responsible, some Labour bright spark always tries to put the blame on the Cabinet or the administration.

Of course, just about everyone else in Medway realises that it's vandals who are putting the play areas out of operation, and one major cause of that is the wishy-washy lackadaisical Socialist attitude to law and order and anti-social behaviour. The whole culture here has degraded during recent years, and only now are we seeing the gradual change for the better that a stronger enforcement régime brings.

Tackle the cause. To do otherwise would be a fruitless exercise and a never-ending waste of money, and would also provide a stream of fresh targets for the vandals, thus encouraging and supporting vandalism. Youngsters involved in vandalism (for most vandals in Medway are youngsters) and their parents alike need a change in attitude.

Meanwhile, I understand that we are fixing the play areas anyway, as and when we can. This Motion is, therefore, complete and utter rubbish.

Indeed, several recent Labour Motions, not just this one, have been not only misleading, not only have they shown an unprofessional attitude to the task of being a Councillor, Mr Mayor, they are also insulting to the people of Medway who—contrary to the obvious assumption made by at least some Labour members—are not so thick as to be taken in by this sort of garbage.

The only benefit is that they constitute an "own goal" as far as the local electorate is concerned, as the Labour Group destroy their own credibility, needing no help from anyone else. Perhaps they should get something akin to the Darwin Award for their service to politics in systematically wiping themselves out in successive elections. Now that will be worth seeing!

Thank you Mr Mayor.

John M Ward (Councillor, Horsted)