Thursday, 30 December 2010

The end of the year

I began the year talking about the last Labour governments attempts to keep people in jobs with the various schemes and strategies.

This bore fruit in the middle to late part of the year, with unemployment falling, but since the general election and austerity measures biting there are signs of unemployment starting to rise again.

The Town Council has staggered on for another year, directionless alone, The Town Council surrendered the Quality Status standard as for the previous three years the council never produced newsletters or communicated with it's parish, a qualifying standard, but those cheeky Tories didn't remove it from our letterheads, until they were reminded that they haven't met the standard. In the last couple of months talking about our budget, it's seemed like living in a parallel universe, County and District Council slashing and burning services and from the Town Council ivory tower, were talking about yellow lining in West Shepton and Red telephone boxes. Sublime.

In March we planted a tree in remembrance of Brian White the former Town Clerk, a truly likable and knowledgeable man who is sadly missed.

I attended the interviews for a new headteacher at Whitstone. We had a number of talented applicants, but Gill Rennard had an exceptional presentation and interviewed very well and Shepton is lucky to have secured her services.

The General Election was a huge personal disappointment, the first I had not fought in the Wells Constituency, it was fought in the backdrop of the deepest recession for generations, for all Gordon Brown's failings, history will be kinder to him than popular opinion of today. I cannot conceive the damage that Osbourne would of done, no bailout of Northern Rock, austerity even earlier. OUCH.

In Shepton West we had elections in May, June and July, I stood for Labour in the Shepton West Mendip by election, Ashley Taylor the Conservatives expulsion for non attendance, The new politics has been exposed to the sweet mid somerset air, we have seen five months of barely covered anger between local Conservatives and Lib Dems, the new Lib Dem councillor seemingly able to wind up the local Tories at every post, why do the local cons have no sense perspective or of irony? Can this be because of their need to control every moment of council life. Tragic.

It's slightly ironic that the 30 year rule documents are released and Mrs T's economic experiment was running into trouble in 1980, the period of my political education, now tell me the importance of history.

The coming year will see the implementation of the cuts agenda, the cuts we know about and the cuts we are unaware, the privatisation agenda for the NHS, Councils given the freedom to slash and burn local services.

The interesting point is whether the private sector jobs promised by Osbourne materialise, whether you turn public sector jobs off to be replaced by turning private sector jobs on.

And whether you can take billions of pounds out of the economy through 300/400,000's of jobs, wages and cuts to benefits and increase VAT and this will lead to less or more spending.

I suspect good times might be rationed to those who have and those who haven't, well 2011 is going to be a very tough year.

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