A Spectacular Tory Own Goal
- – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, reporting on a spectacular Tory ‘own goal’ played out in Scarborough last week, much to the embarrassment of the Scarborough Town Deal Board (STDB).
Privy as I am to a host of forwarded email threads, I am in the fortunate position of being well-placed to sort the wheat from the chaff of various North Yorkshire Council machinations – generally devised by the ‘ruling’ Conservative ‘apparatchiks’.
Last Thursday (25th January 2024) saw the culmination of a spectacular series of cock-ups amounting to an own goal of astonishing proportions, intended (no doubt) to score a brace of successes, but failing on both counts and leaving PM Rishi SUNAK [Con.] with a wasted journey and more than a little egg on both faces.
Firstly, to display the youthful face of the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for Scarborough & Whitby, Mr Roberto WEEDEN-SANZ [Con.], who has been ‘parachuted in’ to fill the shoes of the outgoing MP, Sir Robert GOODWILL [Con.], whose barely visible legacy amounts to the crowning achievement of having been honoured as a Knight Bachelor (for what else has he accomplished, in the nineteen years of his tenure, on which to hang his hat?).
Secondly, Mr SUNAK’s presence was trumpeted as a last-ditch attempt to provide some Prime Ministerial endorsement to the unwanted, unsupported, uninformed, unviable and unilaterally unloved Scarborough Town Deal Board (STDB), along with NYC’s inherited Regeneration Management Team (RMT).
The Two Robbies
The plan was to parade the PM along Scarborough’s West Pier, in company with Sir Robert and Roberto (the two Robbies – “There’s no representation from him and there’s no representation from him!”), in the hope of shoring up – if not the crumbling Pier itself – the ludicrous proposal to turn a historically vibrant commercial fishing Pier into a common-or-garden tourism plaza.
But the Tory ‘apparatchiks’ must have tuned in to social media, where they discovered that a well-researched, well-prepared, well-supported protest had been orchestrated to head the PM off at the pass.
Earlier in the week, I had emailed Mr David KERFOOT MBE – a former High Sheriff of North Yorkshire and presently Chair of the Scarborough Town Deal Board (whose home is an hour-and-a-half from Scarborough) – asking him to confirm (or deny) that the forthcoming meeting of the Board would be its last.
Mr KERFOOT declined to elucidate – but the Board meeting was cancelled/postponed, at the last moment, so once again openness and transparency has been lost in the customary fog of passive smoke and mirrors.
As it turned out, the Scarborough protest halted the Prime Minister’s ‘flagship’ visit – intended to salvage what was originally the brain-child of the former Labour Leader of the now-defunct Scarborough Borough Council, Steve “It’s a Dog’s Breakfast” SIDDONS (reportedly Labour’s candidate to oppose NYC Councillor Keane DUNCAN [Con.] in the NYC/CYC Combined Authority Mayoral election in May), aided by his fellow CIPFA member and stop-gap CEO, Mr Nick EDWARDS (whose present task it is to oversee that same May ’24 Mayoral election).
All the usual suspects . . .
David Kerfoot (left) and Steve Siddons
When the music stops, pass the poisoned chalice . . .
Meanwhile, the hapless Head of Regeneration for NYC (and formerly SBC), Mr Alex RICHARDS, has reportedly toddled off to pastures new, leaving who-knows-who to cobble together some semblance of an excuse for why the £20.1 million Scarborough Town Deal funding has achieved nothing more than uniting the public opposition to its bizarre West Pier proposals.
What is obvious is that there was a complete failure in the security arrangements surrounding the PM’s visit – apparently almost all the Scarborough seafront community knew well in advance, yet some NYC officials seem to have remained oblivious.
This resulted in a last-minute relocation to Eastfield – that Tory ‘No Go’ area – where the prospect of Roberto WEEDEN-SANZ picking up a majority of votes is next to bonny. He might, however, cop for an apprenticeship.