I’ve joined a FACE BOOK Group entitled Stop the Heart from being ripped out of Hartlepool which has been set up to highlight the risk to the sea defences around the headland. The group is very well meaning and enthusiastic but they do not seem to appreciate how naïve their stance is and that if option 4 is actually ever under serious consideration then they have probably lost the fight before it starts.
The group are probably destined to succeed because Option 4 is only there as a sacrificial lamb to make the option the council really want appear more palatable. Standard tactics, propose something so bad that everyone will oppose it, then when the second worst option is actually implemented everyone is grateful and claim a victory. If Option 4 was really the aim of the powers-that-be then the group will fail because they are determined to be pure and above it all by keeping the fight NONE POLITICAL. This means they are relying on the good will of the Hartlepool Councillors and the Hartlepool MP to see that the best option is not the cheapest one! Of course when option 4 is dropped then the group will claim victory, the council will claim it listened to the people and then do what they wanted to do anyway! Cynical, not really, just know how politics works! In fact not politics, just any negotiation. Always start from a position you are willing to concede and fall back to the position you really wanted in the first place. By doing this you appear to be compromising and giving up something, in reality you get exactly what you always wanted AND appear to be reasonable and willing to compromise.
The group are making the same terrible mistake as the “Save our Hospital Group” back in 2004. The SOH Group had the political establishment in Hartlepool TERRIFIED but they then threw away their biggest weapon by deciding not to be POLITICAL. At a stroke the political class in Hartlepool realised these people could effectively be ignored because they were not a threat!
What people have to realize is that the ONLY thing most party politicians really care about is their political career which means they need to keep getting re-elected. Losing their seat is the death knell for an ambitious party politician trying to build a career in politics or who wants to make a good living out of it. If something does not threaten their votes or their career in their chosen party then they simply do not care!
By announcing they are none political the Prom Group have told the party politicians that they don't need to worry. If the Prom group announced NOW that they would be standing candidates in every ward in May 2012 fighting on a manifesto to “Stop the Heart Being Ripped out of Hartlepool” then just look how fast the current councilors would come on board, provided their national party allowed them to! which of course they wouldn't! They would be between a rick and a hard place.
If the Save out Hospital Group has stood a candidate in the 2004 by-election then they would have won and the town would have had a save our hospital MP. If they had stood council candidates then they would have won those seats as well. The Labour party would have been desperate to get the town back and the Save our Hospital Group would have been able to demand anything they wanted. Of course, the SOH group would have had to stand as a group, not just a collection of independents. That is something else people fail to appreciate. Politics is about numbers and about working together. You have to have numbers.
I have joined the group, but am not taking an active part because if I do then there are people in the group who will immediately go onto the attack and accuse me of using the issue as a political football. Therefore, I will support the group from the sidelines but sadly I think the Prom group will ultimately fail and will never achieve anything UNLESS they get political.