Barlow's Beef: This is make-your-mind-up time


Having followed and commented on elections for over two decades the biggest single change I see is political spin. Sadly, conviction politics is all but dead. Whether you loved or loathed Margaret Thatcher you knew exactly what she stood for. Her values were genuine not a product of some focus group. Mrs T was prepared to stand or fall on her opinions. I didn't love her policies but I didn't have any doubts what they were. Anyone who voted for her knew precisely what they were getting.

Apart from the lust for power what do Messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband believe in? On what issues are they (honestly) prepared to live or die? Mr Cameron doesn't even know what football club he supports. Nick Clegg swiftly dropped his belief in tuition fees when he saw it would exclude him from a cabinet post and anyone who witnessed the ludicrous 'discussion' between Mr Miliband and Russell Brand knows now there is no humiliation too far for the vote seeking Labour Leader.

It is not what politicians stand for any more that counts it's what we THINK they stand for that concerns those seeking office. Obfuscation is the name of the game and by God are they good at it.

I recently read an exchange between two opposing candidates in the forthcoming local election. Then I read it again. I wrote the points down I thought each candidate was making. I studied the statistics they quoted. Then I read the exchange again and I had no idea who was correct or whether they were both wrong.

It was a confusing jumble of claim and counter claim with both parties insisting their 'facts' had been substantiated - which was clearly impossible. That little episode wasted 45 minutes of my life, which I shall never see again.

I doubt many voters can spare the time for that kind of analysis especially when they will be no wiser for doing so. Far from being 'transparent' (the most recent buzz-word) today's politicians talk in riddles.

"I may have 'over firmly denied' having a second job." What the hell is that other than lying? Sorry... I meant economical with the truth.

One politician's Greenbelt Invasion is another's Brownfield First and both claim to have 'conclusive evidence.'

So, here we are facing an important election how are we, the electorate, suppose to make a judgement when facts and statistics can be provided to 'prove' every candidate's point of view?

All we can do is to go on what we know. We know we haven't had a council tax increase in three years (that IS a fact) but have we paid for it with poorer services? Are our roads being repaired and our dustbins emptied? Are social services any worse because of it?

Do we believe a change would improve things? Would we be happy to pay more council tax and trust a new regime to spend it wisely?

Which candidate can we trust to represent OUR views even against their own party?

This is make-your-mind-up time.

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

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow


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

Tuesday 5th May 2015 at 11:24 am
No council tax increase? Instead we pay for the town council - despite the very limited vote in favour of this. How have Cheshire East saved money? Firstly,many of the important sevices are run jointly with Chester and Cheshire West ( yes- read County which we no longer have a vote for). I once asked for a list of services run jointly - I never got a response, - I wonder why? Secondly, they have sold off chunks of valuable land ( yes - the equivalent of selling of the family silver). Thirdly, they have set up Companies which now run some services - companies which are not answerable to the voters and which have "directors" - yes the same council members who sit on key Cheshire East Committees. Conflict of interest? Are these ASDV's answerable to residents? - only through the Directors. Do Freedom of Information requests apply to these ASDV's - who knows? - perhaps one of the local Cheshire East Councillors could enlighten me in writing for future use. Councils should be about democracy at a local level. As far as I can see I am actually getting less democracy for my money. Instead what I am given is an increasing amount of "spin" from the expanded "publicity" department at Cheshire East. No expense spared there it seems.
Manuel Golding
Tuesday 5th May 2015 at 5:03 pm
Vic, you wrote above - "One politician's Greenbelt Invasion is another's Brownfield First and both claim to have 'conclusive evidence.' "
The FACTS are not disputable, hence "facts" -
Cheshire East's Conservative councillors have made use of half truths and deception. It is not what they say to their electors it is how they vote when they believe the majority of their electors will be unaware of their perfidy. Let's look at the Local Plan in various stages.
Example 1 - .26/2/14 - Strategic Planning Board meeting to approve or not planning for Adlington Road. Cllr Whiteley spoke against development at this site.
REALITY is that barely two days later at CE's Special Council Meeting, 28/2/14, when asked if he would support the tabled amendment (which would delete Adlington Rd &Green Belt sites from the LP) to the Local Plan, Councillor Whiteley, when his name was called to vote, voted AGAINST the amendment - in other words a total volte-face to two days previously.

Example 2: Cllr Menlove stated in one of his WTC by-election leaflets last November that he "opposes any housing on the Royal London site", This site is Green Belt.
REALITY is that, just as Cllr Whitely above had done on the 28/2/14, Councillor Menlove voted AGAINST, when his name was called to cast his vote, the amendment described above. What he so clearly and obviously failed to tell his voters in his leaflet, was that he was NOT AGAINST Royal London's plans for more office development and a high-rise hotel on the very site he so loudly proclaimed he was against housing there. The three elements are part of the whole

Are you surprised the current crop of politicians create a very high degree of scepticism amongst the general public, when they so clearly have difficulty themselves in being able to identify facts from their own sleight of hand?

Residents of Wilmslow's INDEPENDENT candidates for Cheshire East Council, Toni FOX (DEAN ROW) and David JEFFERAY (East) (David is standing for both CE and Wilmslow Town Council) will not indulge in word play, as we've seen so recently by our current crop of Conservative councillors.

Honesty, straight talking, consulting voters, listening to their concerns and acting and voting in council on those concerns. They will not disregarding their voters, not voting in opposition to those concerns, as have the Conservatives bowing to the Party's dictates.
RoWs councillors will be ensure putting Wilmslow's People Before Party.