Thursday 30th May 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

NYC & the Usual Suspects

NYC & the Usual Suspects

Guest Author NORMAN MURPHY joins the dots on the matter of the democratic representation presently available to the people of the former Borough of Scarborough in the wake of Local Government Reorganisation (LGR) in North Yorkshire. In short, plus ça change . . .

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In May 2022, we elected a new Unitary Council to govern the whole of North Yorkshire. The election saw the end of the old County Council plus the Borough Councils system. From now on, the fate of North Yorkshire residents will be decided by 90 Councillors drawn from all parts of the County.

For the town of Scarborough there would be six places on the new Council and these six elected members would, if you believed their election brochures, represent the interests of Scarborough residents at County Hall in Northallerton, the base for our local government.

The six members from Scarborough, like all the other 84 elected members, swore that the electorate, if they elected them, could rely on them to put the interests of residents first. Party politics would not influence them (nor Council Officers) with their own personal agendas and certainly not the get-rich-quick guys and gals with their fancy schemes that, if only councillors would back them, could not possibly go wrong. They would be “listening Councillors” and they would always back what residents wanted.

Needless to say, perhaps, these assurances lasted, in most cases, about a nanosecond and as soon as the results were declared the snouts went straight back into the trough.

This, of course, came as no surprise to many of us, especially those of us who live in Scarborough Town. We had already endured four years of the totally incompetent and secretive dictatorship of Labours Steve “It’s a Dog’s Breakfast” Siddons and we suspected that if these numpties were given another chance, they would toe the party line.

However, for some bizarre reason, enough of the good people of Scarborough believed the “you can trust us” drivel that Siddons’ cronies spewed out, with the result that the same useless and incompetent buffoons took all the six seats in Scarborough. Consequently, it has come as no surprise to many of us to see that, now elected, they are continuing to rule in the same uncaring and bombastic manner that they adopted when they were in power at SBC.

Having said that, the behaviour of the numpties who hold seats in Scarborough is not really any different to the vast majority of the current crop of elected representatives who sit comfortably in first class on the gravy train to Northallerton.

There are, however, signs beginning to appear which suggest, to me at least, that the residents of some regions of North Yorkshire are beginning to realise that our self-centred and self-obsessed representatives are not interested in those they claim to represent but are only interested in themselves.

This realisation has prompted several groups to be created with the objective of standing up for their local area and speaking out against the ludicrous decisions being made by their representatives at County Hall.

Here in Scarborough, we have a new group forming called United Scarborough” that is challenging a whole raft of issues which the Council in Northallerton proposes to inflict on the people of Scarborough. The list is long and I will not bore readers with a comprehensive review of the contentious projects. But one stand-out issue is the Council’s proposal to turn Scarborough’s West Pier, which for generations has been an essential part of Scarborough’s fishing industry, into a leisure park, which, if it goes ahead, will cripple one of our traditional industries.

In Whitby, one of the major issues of concern is the amalgamation of two of Whitby’s schools and the devastating impact this may have on the provision of high quality educational standards in Whitby. This proposal, which is strongly opposed by many residents, has prompted the formation of a group opposed to this merger Keep Choice in Whitby & Save Eskdale”, which tried with limited success to establish a dialogue between parents and education Officers.

However, the Officers – so far at least – are refusing to engage with anyone and are certainly not, it seems, listening to residents’ concerns. This lack of engagement has prompted “Keep Choice in Whitby & Save Eskdale” to write to North Yorkshire education chiefs pointing out that in their opinion the ‘powers that be’ are not listening to parents concerns:

“North Yorkshire Council and the Governors of Whitby Secondary Partnership have treated the Town Council, Whitby Community Network, this group, Dave Bradley and the Whitby Gazette, to name a few, with complete contempt. Refusing to answer questions, refusing to engage at all with the community, ignoring concerns and not giving details about OUR children’s Futures.”

So what, it might fairly be asked, has happened to the promises made by our locally elected representatives who, only a year ago, promised to fight for those who voted for them?

It seems, as was suspected, that they have disappeared – prompting groups such as “Keep Choice in Whitby & Save Eskdale” to point out that “The Whitby Area Councillors in Northallerton need to represent the people of the Whitby Area not their own personal agendas.

  • Cllr David Chance – is on the Executive – is he listening to the people he represent? NO.
  • Cllr Neil Swannick – Eskdale is in his area – he supports the proposal that the people don’t want.
  • Cllr Phil Trumper – done deal at the beginning, NYC’s silence since.
  • Cllr Clive Pearson – Silent…..

As can be seen, these local groups are now calling out those who are supposed to represent them and asking them why they are doing what they want and not what residents want. My guess is that they will, initially at least, get no response from these arrogant nobodies, but should the groups grow large enough and their voices become loud enough, this situation will change. These people are cowards and the retention of power is their chief motivation and if they feel public opinion is turning against them, I predict they will suddenly ditch their previous views and claim solidarity with residents.

The next elections for North Yorkshire may be four years away but by-elections, in the near future, will be inevitable, and my guess is that, given the chance, the electorate will not be inclined to trust the weasel words of the of the various political groups – and their seats on the gravy train might be taken away.

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