I have seriously considered closing down this blog over the last few days. I have several reasons for this but uppermost in my mind is the tone of the debate over libraries and, in particular, the nasty personal attacks on councillor Christopher Hawtree.
The library issue, as with everything to do with the budget of Brighton and Hove City Council, is fraught with difficulties, and ethical dilemmas for those involved. But attacks on an individual’s integrity is not acceptable.
We should also remember that no party is immune from some culpability in what is happening:
- The Tories and Lib Dems are imposing cuts of 35% on the City Council. There are alternatives, but this is a government with an ideological commitment to cutting government. That is a political choice.
- Labour failed to maintain confidence of the electorate, are not mobilising opposition, are more interested in who should lead their party, and they are failing locally and nationally to provide a viable alternative to the cuts agenda. Nationally, their political choice is to make cuts but not as quickly.
- The Greens have made the political choice to form the administration locally, and to best manage the level of cuts imposed on them.
Within each party there are honourable people trying to do their best. For many it is a question of compromise which, after all, is the most common feature of politics. For some, it might lead to resignation.
I find it unacceptable to question, in such personal terms, the integrity, morality, even the mental health, of someone who is struggling with issues. I can only conclude that those who indulge in this political form of bear baiting have no positive policies or proposals of their own. It says more about them than the target of their vitriol.
We are fortunate to have the likes of councillor Hawtree in Brighton and Hove, just as we are fortunate to have the likes of the Hangleton Twins (Barnett and Janio) and many others who sacrifice a great deal to stand to become and then serve as councillors. Let us start all debate by recognising this, and then, by all means, question the policies being implemented, but keep the debate about policy, priorities and alternatives, or as Craig Turton always says, stick to the ishoos.
I once referred on this blog to Thumper from Bambi who said “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say anythin’ at all”. There are some who could learn from Thumper.
I am still considering whether or not to close down this blog.