Barlow's Beef: Cheshire East does exactly what it says on the tin


I was on holiday last week in one of Europe's sunnier isles. I'm not good at lying around the pool so decided to visit a local market renown for selling up-market products at knock-down prices.
Traders were vying with each other to prove the legitimacy of their designer brands sold for a fraction of the recommended retail price. Despite offering Rolex watches for as little as £40 and Ralph Lauren shirts for a tenner trade was rather slow.

I was attracted to one stall where a sizeable crowd gathered beguiled by one African trader who claimed: "Every item guaranteed 100 per cent genuine fake. All our Tiffany bracelets are genuine rolled gold. I should know I rolled 'em myself."

When asked if he took credit cards he replied to great amusement.

"Of course I take credit cards but you don't get 'em back."

At the end of his pitch customers flocked to buy his 'genuine' fakes. Obviously these customers could not complain of being misled.

It reminded me somewhat of our local elections in May since which I've received an avalanche of complaints from residents ranting against council policy and the perceived lack of democracy both outside and inside the town hall.

I simply don't get it.

There have been no surprises whatsoever. We knew precisely how this Tory council operated. As for our Leader his modus operandi has been clear from the start.

He dislikes indecisiveness and marches to the beat of his own drum and if he believes in something he will make it happen. Councillor Jones has been doing precisely that since the day he took office.

I haven't seen any councillors or senior officers fleeing from the town hall screaming 'foul!'

Councillor Jones and the Tories won the election by a landslide. Knowing precisely the track record of Mr Jones and his party voters flooded to the polling booths and pleaded for more.

It wasn't just the support of the Tory faithful Councillor Jones gained votes from every political spectrum.

And all we have discovered is that Tory led Cheshire East does exactly what it says on the tin. We got precisely what we voted for (please don't say you didn't vote Tory. In a democracy we live by majority rule and the majority wanted Councillor Jones and his style of Tory Leadership and ... got it.)

If anyone is culpable it is us the voters. There is no point blaming anyone but ourselves. It's called responsibility and this time that responsibility rests at our door.

Okay, if the streets aren't cleaned or the dustbins emptied we have a genuine complaint but the style and political persuasion of our Tory council was abundantly clear long before the election. No one who bothered to follow local politics thought this was regime would be a soft-shoe democracy.

Councillor Jones tied his flag to the mast from Day One. Tory councillors elected him as Leader and voters rushed to endorse him.

On April 21st in this very column I wrote the following:

You must decide if you want more of the same. Whatever they say going into an election these politicians are highly unlikely to change their ways.
We have no excuses. This is YOUR moment.

It's put-up or shut-up time!

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury... I rest my case.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Simon Worthington
Wednesday 21st October 2015 at 1:46 pm
Perhaps this piece will enlighten those parts of the electorate who fail to grasp the difference between national and local politics and political parties. The party system and the fact that it allows the local level to be ordered about by national level has hindered local politics for years. Rarely do the two national parties achieve much at local level as they are too busy currying favour up the ladder.
Manuel Golding
Thursday 22nd October 2015 at 4:59 pm
It is precisely for the very strong argument you have put forward once again Vic, that Residents of Wilmslow realised some three years ago that our Tory councillors were not in it for Wilmslow's voters but for the party. Our valid arguments were oh so glibly dismissed by both the CEC hierarchy & its councillor fodder.We tried working with them in the hope that our arguments for protecting the area's Green Belt, putting forward alternative brownfield sites, whilst at the same time acknowledging that there is a need for more housing.As for brownfields, we were told in no uncertain terms that developers don't want them as they are far too expensive to develop! Whose side was the council leadership on? Not the voters. Time after time concerned locals were told by the Council's leader that he understands the concerns, backed by the local CEC Tory councillor, & he would ensure their site would be safe. Tell that again to Dean Row residents.
RoW p.d.q. realised the Tories were not going to fight for our concerns, thus we felt we had to take them on. We defeated a Tory candidates in two WTC wards, Dean Row & East wards. This May we fielded two candidates in CEC elections, against two long standing Tories. We won one, Toni Fox being elected for Dean Row & David Jefferey narrowly lost in East, due in the main to a Green "paper candidate".
Some voters in Wilmslow obviously realise what the Tory game in CEC is and they don't like it.
Private Eye may in the fullness of time be able to throw more light on the council's antics.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 22nd October 2015 at 10:57 pm
The elephant in George Osborne's room must surely be Alderley Edge Parish Council; this time last year 100% Conservative, now 100% independent of party politics, all wards held by Alderley First (local people, many of them life-long Tory voters, who became fed up with the arrogance of the Tory incumbents on AEPC/CEC and kicked them all out of office).