At full Council on Thursday night I received my usual verbal kicking from the Labour Party. However this time it was even more grossly unpleasant and personal than normal. I've become used to the fact that most times the Labour Group have no answer to my questions other than to attack me for daring to ask them. The tactic of shooting the messenger rather than dealing with the message being the first one the Labour Group reach for. Anything that even hints that anything is less than perfect in "their town" is immediately denounced as talking the town town and anyway we all know its the fault of the Tories under Thatcher don't we.
This particular meeting however had Councilor Brash quivering with moral outrage as he tore into me for daring to ask, on behalf of a constituent, about absenteeism levels at Hartlepool Council. His lip trembled as he paid fulsome tribute to the hard working families of Hartlepool, sorry wrong Labour Sound bite there, I mean of course the hardworking employees of Hartlepool Council, who struggled through the snow to carry on their endless and thankless task of providing four star services to the socially deprived masses of the poor and downtrodden who live under the terrible conditions imposed on the town by monsters such as Margret Thatcher!
Councillor Brash once again attacked me for not paying Council tax in the town. The fact that he's wrong there doesn't matter to him of course and how that is related to absenteeism levels in Hartlepool Council isn't quite clear to me. I think he was trying to make the point that like him and a large number of his supporters I shouldn't care how high Council Taxes go because I don't pay them? He then had a go at my attendance at Council Meetings and pointed out three years ago I had the second worst attendance of any Councillor (the worst was by a labour Councillor but we won't go there). The point he missed there of course was I don't measure my performance as a Councillor by how often I sit in endless meetings but by how much I contribute to meetings that effect my constituents and the town as a whole. I've been a Councillor for several years for example and there are many Labour Councillors with excellent attendance records who I've never heard speak. Their only function is to vote how they are told to. Their contribution to the debates and discussion ZERO.
Councilor Hargreaves then weighed in with a speech about Occupational health and with a voice dripping with concern suggested I might like to see the Occupational health nurse because asking this question clearly showed I was ill and in need of help. Thank you Councillor but I'm keeping my paranoia under control. Are you?
I was born in (the now demolished) Cameron Hospital, attended Fens Junior School (the same school as our current MP) and Hartlepool Grammar School for boys. Was a member of 54th Hartlepool Cub Scouts, played in the Hartlepool Table Tennis League and sailed my racing dingy in Hartlepool bay most Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays during the racing season for years. I even participated in the "Icicle Series" which was sailed in the dock, in the pre-marina days, every Sunday Morning from October to March. Both of my Children were born in Hartlepool Hospital. Apart from three years in Kent in the mid 1980's I have worked in Hartlepool all my life, setting up my first business in my bedroom at my parents house in 1986, a business that I still operate and which has kept my gainfully employed now for 23 years. Going backwards my family has been in Hartlepool for generations, Boagey and Bond being two well known names in my family tree. My grandfather on the Allison side being one of the residents of the Croft! To attack me for not caring about Hartlepool is not only inaccurate its wrong! However, since when has the Labour Group cared about truth or honesty? Spin, spin and more spin, that's the Labour way!
The answer to my question about absenteeism by the way eventually came out as 9.1 days per employee per year. That of course was an average so some long term sick will balance people who are never off. I'm not quite sure which part of my question attacked the hardworking employees of Hartlepool Council but of course if Councillor Brash is so quick to leap to their defense and protect them from questions that HE thinks are attacking them, then maybe the general public might think there is no smoke without fire? Rightly or wrongly there are members of the public out there who consider Hartlepool Council to be over manned and a soft touch as an employer. We cannot challenge that view if every time someone asks a question the immediate reaction is to try and ridicule the questioner rather than deal with the question itself!
I have always tried to keep personalities out of public politics. There are some members of Hartlepool Council that I think off as loathsome and who make my flesh creep at the thought of them. However, I hope I would never use personalities in debate. If ever I have done I apologise now. Council debate should be grown up discussions about the issues not childish name calling or petty point scoring about who is a fat bastard with body odor problems.