by Martin Wrigley on 7 July, 2016
It’s been two weeks now since the EU referendum, and it feels like a lot longer. When Harold Wilson said “A week is a long time in politics” I hadn’t realised how true that was.
However while Westminster sorts itself out, and nationally we try to heal the division caused during the campaigns, I’m thinking of Jo Cox’s statement “There is more that unites us than divide us”, and we need to focus on that.
One thing that has come into clear focus for me is that many people feel disillusioned, disenfranchised and disconnected from the political process. Whether that is about local planning applications, the placing of a play park, the route of a cycle way or even junior doctors’ contracts, I keep hearing a focus on the needs of the authority rather than listening to people’s needs.
Locally we can see that in the SANGS debate over Teignbridge’s wish to compulsory purchase Warren Farm, or the imposition of traffic in Elm Grove Road rather than building a new link road, or even the SWW lack of response on sewage issues. All of these call for the rights of the individual and communities over the ‘needs’ of the authority and I fear we have lost our way a bit.
To me, being a Liberal Democrat is all about the rights of the individual, and the responsibility of authority to recognise that. I am proud to stand up for people and to take their cases forward.
Going forward I hope we can keep our focus on residents and communities, and remember that councils exist to serve the community and for no other reason. When projects are put forward for the needs of the council over the needs of the community my fellow Lib Dems and I will continue to resist them and where we can, force a re-think.
This week, Teignbridge District council had a private meeting concerning the Dawlish SANGS. Let us hope that they have decided to re-think and take another choice rather than pursue Warren Farm.