The local Tories really are a party divided against itself as the latest CCEA Panel meeting flushed out.
When Peter Beard and myself voted against the Askett Hawke development of Kings Meadow it was because of:
- Over development
- We didn't think they'd get planning permission
- It was a big hunk of cheese casting a massive shadow on Kings Meadow
Pretty clear and unambiguous we thought and a logical position to take. The Kings Meadow Campaign wasn’t perfect, but we thought more likely to deliver. However, we got a load of abuse from the Tories as they either voted for or abstained in favour of the developers. Then after it was apparent they had scored a massive own goal with their own supporters, we saw their panicked backtracking. They then called-in the decision when it was abslutely clear to anyone that had actually bothered to read the officers' reports that all would happen was a 6 month delay and Askett-Hawke would tell them to sling their hook.
So what did we get? A 6 month delay, Askett-Hawke told them to sling their hook and eventually the cabinet backed the Lib Dem position. Could have saved everyone one time and effort if you’d listen to us in the first place boys and girls.
Then we have Rob Wilson... the man wot “saved the Woodley routes 63/64” claiming unjustifiably that it was all down to him as his press release was regurgitated by the Post without any semblance of journalism or actual facts.
All fine, except we'd started campaigning on saving them a full month before Rob’s “parliamentary straight from nursery” researcher put out their “me too” press release... and even then that was factually incorrect as it was Labour that bailed the routes out by using Transport Infrastructure Fund pump-priming money.
Now we have the Tories failing to back Lib Dem calls to reverse Tory Wokingham's and Labour Reading's 21% hike of Park and Ride fares. Yeah, real joined up thinking from a bunch of muppets who want you to trust them to run public transport in Reading. In a prime example by the Tories of how exactly they’d back public transport... they agreed with Labour to jack up the prices. Sometimes, actions speak louder than words.
The worst insult they could muster was that we would dare to put the Tory position on our Focus leaflets? Duh! Too right, the local press won’t publish the real story. Despite their Labour leaning ways, the press now are so desperate to not annoy the Tories before the next elections that they choose not to report things fully.
It’s increasingly clear to even the Tories’ own supporters. There really is only one opposition party in Reading.