Barlow's Beef: The times they are a-changin


I've been thinking-as I do- and can't help wondering if Bob Dylan was thinking about Cheshire East when he sang The Times they are a Changing?

We've had the Lyme Green debacle losing us almost £1M then adding insult to injury by charging us £400K for a report we weren't allowed to see. (Can you imagine any commercial organisation making its clients pay for information they were denied? No me neither).

We've had a £200K chief exec 'aiming for the stars' who spent more time off work than she spent on the job.

Then there was the Council Deputy cabinet member for finances who turned out to be a disbarred director of a company that folded owing creditors £440K.

We've had Physiogate and the jewel in the crown (of thorns) CoSocius who somehow managed to lose £800K in eleven months trading plus a £8M pension deficit.

The latest revelation of ludicrous pay-offs paid to short-stay officers is probably no more than we've come to expect so what do we do about it?

Sadly there is no effective political opposition to Tory dominance and it's not likely to change. Let's face it Labour have as much chance of becoming the majority party as I do of becoming Mayor and the Lib Dems have been sitting on the fence so long no one knows they are there.

I do however like the new Alderley Edge First council who took over from an arrogant Tory regime. AEF actually seem to understand and listen to residents, which must be quite pleasant for them after being ignored for decades.

They have transformed local politics in Alderley. Okay, it's only a parish council but it demonstrates what can be achieved when residents are prepared to change their voting habits.

My Cheshire East councillor is an Independent and he's doing a really good job. He's very responsive and follows everything through. He's not part of any inner cabal and has no certainty of being re elected. He has to work hard for his place in the council chamber. He can't afford arrogance.

Not so Tory grandees who are sufficiently certain of re election to be dismissive of public opinion. Destroying the Greenbelt while leaving Brownfield sites untouched is no problem when you are certain to be returned to office.

Alderley Edge First is a lesson we can all learn. Alderley had the same old tired faces running the show for decades. Now they have new faces with no guarantee of anything. Being dismissive isn't an option.

In politics certainty leads to insouciance and Cheshire East is awash with it.

As Bob warned us...
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.
(NB: Bob didn't like the letter 'g'.)

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

Photo: By Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz - Bob Dylan, CC BY 2.0.

Barlow's Beef, Vic Barlow


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

Nick Jones
Tuesday 11th October 2016 at 8:52 am

"There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all "

( Robert Zimmerman....'love minus zero')
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 11th October 2016 at 7:16 pm
I find the Alderley Edge situation fascinating; at a time when there was a national swing to the Conservatives an entire Conservative council was voted out and replaced by Independents! Unprecedented anywhere, I think. A lesson which other areas would do well to heed; there seems to be a growing disquiet with party politics in local government.
Dave Cash
Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 4:37 am
Perhaps the Party political-sponsored Incumbents of CEC should be considered as Samsung Galaxy 7 Note mobiles, now defunct.
Independent is not a recognized Political Party, but a catch all name for the rest. It allows alliances with other like-minded groups, eg Handforth Ratepayers, Alderley/Bollington/Middlewich First
Currently there are too few Independents sitting on CEC to make a difference.
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 5:59 pm
Dean Row Ward in Wilmslow is being very well represented by Cllr Toni Fox, Residents of Wilmslow.
From little acorns ......