30 April 2010

Do our 'Elected Representatives' represent?

It seems that some members of Somerton's Community are beginning to wonder what sort of representation Somerton now has at District level. With the Retirement Villages proposal raising its head again, Somerton is beginning to wonder exactly who is reflecting their views at Area North and that is a very fair question.

On the 27th October 2009, and with some theatricality, Tony Canvin threw down his resignation (one he had prepared earlier) and led his sad flock (ditto their resignations) from the awfully named Edgar Hall. Today, some six months later, Somerton has seen very little of its District Councillors, Messers Canvin and Beale, and the word is that they require an invitation before they will attend Somerton Town Council meetings. Which begs the question, how are they going to be able to represent their electorate if they don't attend Council meetings and hear the views of the electorate?

Well the answer is that they can't reflect the views of the wider community and, in my own view, Tony Canvin, as a Local Councillor, never did. There was only ever one view, 'Tony's view' and nothing underscored that fact better than Tony's 'resignation speech' where he said, and I quote, ".............I think now that there are members of the public that don't like the way (I'm) running it as far as I'm concerned now I will let them have a go and I'll resign, as from now." (Applause)

Tony saw Somerton's Town Council as his Town Council and the moment that he faced any real resistance from the community he had a hissy fit and stomped out in a strop. But he didn't have the courage of his convictions enough to resign from District and there is a very good reason why he didn't. The reason is that decision making lies at District and, in planning matters, it resides in the Area North Committee, of which he and Beale remain members. And this shows precisely where Tony's priorities lie. Somerton was, in many ways, a side-show for Tony and he is far too cute to give up his real power-base.

So, today, the community of Somerton need to do a couple of things if they are to ensure that their voice is heard. Firstly, Canvin and Beale need to have an ongoing invitation to attend Somerton Town Council meetings. Secondly, Somerton Town Council needs to make sure that the decisions on planning matters are clear and unequivocal and are communicated to Canvin and Beale in order that they may reflect these views at District and, specifically, Area North Planning Committee. Finally, some members of Somerton's community need to attend Area North meetings to make sure that our elected representatives don't misrepresent.

Till next time, I'm Niall Connolly