Most points I raise during a Hartlepool Council meeting result in a brisk come back from the other political parties. Labour are usually first into the attack but certain Tories, Lib-Dems and Independents can usually be relied upon to follow the Labour lead and attempt to shout me down.
Tonight however was different! After 8 years as a Ward Councillor I made a point in full council that reduced the other councilors to shamefaced silence. Not one councilor contradicted me or attempted to put an alternative viewpoint. The silence was total!
During the debate about the Corus closures several councilors, including the Mayor, made speeches demanding help for the steelworkers and insisting “the government must do something”. The Mayor even said the closure had a “silver lining” as it brought new money and opportunities into the town.
Unfortunately the end of steelmaking on Teesside was inevitable when the European Iron and Steel Community came into being in 1951. This was the first step in the formation of the European Union and when the UK went into the EEC in 1973 accepting the eventual loss of steelmaking in the UK was part of the price for joining, (along with concessions over agriculture, fishing and trade with the Commonwealth).
Steelmaking in the UK has been a dead man walking ever since!
Every government since then has collaborated in the slow death of steelmaking. I said at the Council Meeting tonight, “So long as the UK remains in the EU then steelmaking will continue to die and will eventually disappear totally from the UK” There was not one single Councillor in the Hartlepool Council Chamber who dared to contradict me! No matter how much they may now demand action to save steelmaking the Labour, Liberal-Democrat and Conservative Parties have all actively participated in killing steelmaking in the UK and they know it!