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Lib-Dems good in parts but miss the big picture

(May 07, 2009)

LIB-DEMS have put their manifesto for Wiltshire on line and at first sight it seems inoffensive enough but contains little to fire up an apathetic electoral.

There’s a lot of do-gooding in it. Reg Coole, the veteran Liberal Democrat councillor from Cricklade, always used to say it was better to be a do-gooder than a do-badder and he was right but filling up the manifesto with such stuff is a missed opportunity.

Looking through, it read as if it could almost have been about any county in the country as there was very little specific to Wiltshire in it. It could apply to anywhere.

No mention of the fact the county lacks many of the characteristics associated with a competitive economy - highly skilled people, high value jobs, quality employment sites and strong links with universities.

We have noticed this about Wiltshire and Warminster in particular but have the Lib Dems - NO. We need concrete plans  tailored to the local situation and the needs of Wiltshire not generic policies pumped in by the ALDC.

They also claim they want to boost neighbourhood policing teams but these can only be done by cutting response officers and Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabularies has already told Wiltshire it had too many NPTs and too few response officers - leading to a high rate of abstraction.

They also make a lot of expensive promises and claim to be able to keep taxes down but who are they fooling? Not Us.

“I couldn’t find any mention of litter or enforcing the laws surrounding litter which was disappointing,” said former county councillor Steve Dancey.

“But there were many good bits and I particularly liked the plans to bring back resident wardens at sheltered accommodation, look at the possibility of building new council houses and the £10,000 budgets placed in the hands of local members.

“This member budget idea is already in place in Conservative run Hampshire and works well.

“However I was worried about the proposal to give powers to residents to call items in when 10 or more residents objected to a planning application. I can see a large number of issues with that idea and would steer clear - though I would pass on power to call in back to town councils.”

Marks 6/10, should do better - this party lacks a Jack Ainslie figure.

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