Thursday, 31 January 2008


North Hartlepool Neighbourhood Forum on Wednesday and surprise surprise I was in the firing line again. Apparently I'm a "laughing stock" on the Headland over comments I made in the local Paper regarding a couple of parking tickets for bus parked with two of the wheels mounted on the kerb in Marine Drive. The usual suspects took the opportunity to have a go at me but I've got broad shoulders! It’s actually refreshing to see these people come out of the woodwork and attack me openly rather than whispering behind my back. Their problem now is that I've got so many knives in my back that there isn't any room left for any more so they have to come at me from the front now. Of course the more they attack me the more I know how it really, really irritates them that I got elected and they (or rather he!) didn't.

Of course the local paper got it wrong, as usual. They reported I was backing the appeal against the ticket when in fact all I was doing was using it as an example to highlight parking problems at the Police Community Safety meeting last week.

I did advise the coach driver he could appeal and that he could ask for proof that the contested ticket was actually issued. The Council will probably have some photographic evidence and they do not contest any driver who receives a ticket has the right of appeal.

The abuse did get rather personal and as with every other Committee or Forum the Chairman (or Chairwoman in this case) allowed free reign to those shouting abuse at me but decided the debate had gone on long enough when I asked to respond to specific allegations made about me. Ah it's a wonderful game politics.

There actually was some agreement in the end that Hartlepool needed a clear policy on parking and that the entire situation has gone on for years without anyone getting a grip on it. Unfortunately I doubt anyone will get a grip now either. The problem being that anyone who attempts to sort it out will end up on the receiving end of abuse such as that thrown at me. It is a "rock and a hard place" because there is no simple, easy answer that will satisfy everyone. That being the case the politically advantageous option is to do nothing because you upset fewest people that way. However, I didn't become a Councillor to keep my head down and say nothing. In 2010 the people of St.Hilda Ward will have their opportunity to chose who they want representing them in the Council in the seat I currently occupy. That's called democracy.


  1. One issue that bothers me with this whole parking debate is that those objectors to such meetings stand and shout abuse at people like yourself for standing up and trying to do something about it, yet on the other hand many of these are guilty of it themselves.

    Whilst they might 'toe-the-line' generally with the parking requirements, they certainly aren't averse to bending these rules when it suits them...

    "Sorry mate, you can't park there!"
    "But I'm only nipping in here to see someone/I'll be two minutes/I've got to pick the kids up" etc etc. It is this sort of wrong thinking that promotes others to think "well, they're doing it, why can't I?"

    And don't get me started on business or service vehicles who think nothing of pavement parking whilst they are emptying bins, fixing roads, or even servicing someones gas boiler. They all seem to have a different rule book to everyone else!

  2. Thank you for that comment. I agree with you about the "just pop in" brigade and the people who think the rules are there for everyone else. I have been trying to get Parking as an issue onto the Agenda for years. Unfortunaytely no matter what you do it will not be popular and hence no politician wants to grasp the nettle.

    But, nil desperandum, as they used to say in the Roman Forum or more up to date "Don't let the Bu**ers grind you down"