If no publicity is bad publicity then I'm delighted to see that I got front page again in the Hartlepool Mail while I was in London attending the UKIP Conference. Unfortunately I was once again being criticised for not going to a meeting. Along with six other Councillors I didn't make it to a special planning meeting to discuss the Ghost Ships. Unfortunately the meeting was not scheduled in the Councilor's Diary but was an additional, special meeting. It is hard enough sometimes to juggle work and Council meetings when I know in advance that they are going to happen, its even harder to attend "special" meetings called at short notice .
The meeting itself would have been a rubber stamp in any case. As has already been revealed (so I'm breaking no confidences here) the Council has been advised by its Barrister that we cannot put up a winnable case to prevent the Ghost Ships being dismantled and should we continue the fight then we are just incurring costs (and considerable costs at that) for no reason.
The Ghost ships is a perfect example of how UKIP's policy of local referrenda could have been applied. UKIP want local people to have direct influence over significant local issues. If we had held a referrenda into the Ghost Ships then at least we would know what the real feelings of Hartlepool people were and how many felt strongly enough either way to turn out and vote. At present we are paying most attention to those who shout loudest, a common problem in our "democratic" system when fewer and fewer people bother to vote. As turn out drop those who do vote get a proportionally bigger say on what happens, giving special interest groups power well in excess of their actual size.