The ever-popular Alderman NORMAN MURPHY provides our latest Guest Author article.
Oh dear, how sad; glorious Leader of the Council, Steve (“It’s a dog’s breakfast”) Siddons, did not get his flagship project, the ARGOS scam, through Planning. Just when he was probably about to pop open another bottle of the finest Italian champagne in celebration of his glorious victory over the “little people” (as, it is rumoured, he contemptuously calls residents), his dreams were shattered when a majority of elected members voted to throw his pet £30 million ratepayer-funded, ARGOS project, under a bus.
Not, I hasten to say, a bus that might be found in the Old Town of Scarborough; they are like hens’ teeth.
Anyway, although the Scottish developers, Buccleuch Estates, and their partners in crime, Wrenbridge Developments, did everything they could to bully residents and Council members into accepting the ARGOS scam crock of crap, the majority of residents, and just enough elected members, pissed on their bonfire.
However, although eight members of the planning committee decided, very sensibly, to support the wishes of the residents who had so recently voted them into office, and rejected the ARGOS scam, seven, disgracefully, put two metaphorical fingers up to their constituents, and supported Siddons ARGOS scam.
In supporting Siddons ARGOS scam, all of these seven members, in my view, completely betrayed the residents who had taken the trouble to vote for them.
Moreover, four of the seven – Chairman Shubash Sharma (Labour: Newby Ward); Paul Riley (Independent: Hunmanby Ward; Rich Maw (Labour: Weaponess Ward and Theresa (“Gluey”) Norton (Labour: Eastfield Ward) – not content with shamefully betraying residents wishes, also, in petulant outrage at not getting their own way one suspects, proceeded, in one way or another, to insult fellow members of the committee, ridicule residents and totally ignore the Council’s own procedural rules.
Councillor Paul Riley, who one can only assume has totally lost the plot, opened the offensive against those who opposed the ARGOS scam by insulting Councillor Heather Philips and shouting at her that she should “Be less of a bed wetter”.
What point the clearly enraged Riley was trying to make by this preposterous outburst is unclear. It just seemed as though somebody had given Riley a few insulting remarks to say and he just blurted them out as opportunity allowed.
What Riley’s comments had to do with the Planning Application I don’t think he or anyone else could explain. They appeared to have been thrown across the chamber just as insults and had no other purpose other than to offend.
Next up came loyal Labour footsoldier Rich Maw. Maw, like Riley, had nothing to add to the debate over the Planning Application but was very keen to tell everybody that he thought that remarks made on social media indicating that some members of the public thought that those who were supporting the ARGOS scam were in some way corrupt was unfounded and unfair.
Now, I don’t wish to be picky, Maw me old china, but it strikes me that residents and, more importantly, ratepayers who can quite clearly see that the preposterous ARGOS project is a scam, might consider that your backing for the scam might not be because you actually think it will bring regeneration to the Borough of Scarborough but for, ulterior, perhaps corrupt, motives.
Indeed, as one Old Town resident put it to me only recently, when explaining to me how corrupt he thought the present administration was; “If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and swims like a duck it probably is a duck”. Enough said.
It is, I would suggest, Councillor Maw, a simple question of trust. And as I see it, there are very few residents, if any, who have any trust in anything you, and especially your master Siddons, tells them.
Finally, up pops “Gluey” Norton, determined to add her thoughts to those of the nitwits who had already made fools of themselves.
“Gluey”, presumably freshly un-stuck from some motorway or other, had apparently, found time to attend the meeting, and was intent on having her say.
“Gluey”, ever the eco-warrior, wanted to know if ratepayers would be paying to have electric vehicle charging points installed for the students.
Well, at this question, as you might imagine, the dopey Officers did not know where to hide themselves and I am sure that, right at that moment, they would have liked the ground to open up and swallow them.
Here were the Officers, busily telling everyone who would listen, that students did not have cars and that parking would not be an issue and now “Gluey” has just given the game away by confirming not only that they would have cars – expensive electric ones – but we should be paying for them to be charged up.
Never mind that the ARGOS scam would add another £30 million on to our rates bills, “Gluey” now wanted ratepayers, including her own already hard-pressed constituents in Eastfield, to pay for students’ cars to be charged up – cars, we might note, that her master Siddons had repeatedly said they would not have.
However, what is perhaps more worrying than the disgraceful and contemptible behaviour displayed by Councillors Riley, Maw and Gluey Norton is the fact that the supposedly impartial Chairman of the Committee, Labour’s Cllr Sharma, just completely ignored their bully boy tactics and allowed them to say and do as they pleased.
The current Labour administration, led by Steve (“It’s a dog’s breakfast”) Siddons is, I would suggest, confirmed by the disgraceful behaviour of his supporters. Sharma, Maw, Riley and Norton proved to be completely out of control.
This administration cares about nothing but the retention of power. The views of residents and what they might want, or indeed need, plays no part in the thinking of this Labour-led dictatorship.
Nonetheless, despite his dictatorial leadership, Siddons cunning little plan to force through the ARGOS scam was defeated and his cronies Sharma, Maw, Riley and Norton were shown up for what they really are; puppets of the regime, not representatives of the people.
Siddons, it is reported, is furious, and of course one suspects a firm of Italian builders are probably not too happy either. Just when they thought they might be able to crack open another magnum of, some say, ratepayer-funded champagne to celebrate their victory over the “little people”, the Planning Committee rejection must have forced the celebrations to be put on hold.
However, one suspects that this will not, if Siddons remains in power, be the last we have heard of the ARGOS scam. Although the barrack block of bedsits Siddons wants to inflict on the residents of the Old Town has been rejected by the Planning Committee, my guess is that he will not give up; there is, after all, still the temptation of £30 million quid of ratepayers’ money to play for.
I don’t think anyone now believes that the ARGOS scam has, or ever has had, anything to do with regeneration. It always was, and still is (in the view of all the ratepayers who have contacted me at least), about the “privileged few” getting their sticky little mitts on our money.
Sharma, Maw, Riley and “Gluey” Norton, and of course all those elected members who support the Siddons regime, should, I would contend, consider their positions very carefully. They should remember that they were elected into office to SERVE the residents of their respective wards, not to slavishly support the ambitions of an incompetent and dictatorial “Dog’s breakfast” leader.
Moreover, I would further suggest that any elected members who currently support Siddons should consider very carefully how the residents of the Borough will remember them once Siddons’ disastrous term in office ends. There will, I would guess, be no luxury villas for them to retire to.
Which reminds me; if anyone wants to get hold of enough Italian marble to tile a swimming pool, I think I might know where you might be able to get some going cheap.