Councillor Colin Raistrick: This is not the way to spend hard working taxpayers money

Halifax Town Hall
Halifax Town Hall

Recently reported in the press is a £500 million of spending on infrastructure in Calderdale.

This spending will deliver, and I quote, ‘a multi-modal package of improvements’ and ‘encourage modal shift’. Well, that’s alright then, I suppose. Essentially this means ‘get on your bike’.

The whole West Yorkshire Combined Authority thing is a con trick dreamt up by central government to remove power from locally elected representatives, who no longer have any say in how taxpayers money is spent in their area. Instead we have to go cap in hand to the WYCA to ask for our share of this money, which is given to the Leeds based Combined Authority to share out as they please . For this privilege we pay £10 million of our council tax revenue every year to support the administration of the WYCA! The current Calderdale administration is fond of saying we ‘punch above our weight’ and are getting more than our fair share of this money. That’s deluded, like the gambler who never loses.

It’s not the way to spend hard working taxpayers money, but it won’t change because the politicians love it as it gives them more opportunity to do their ‘politicianing’ thing on a bigger stage , without local accountability and it also gives officers more jobs and more chance to their ‘officering’ thing. What we really need is less of these things. Total waste of our councils badly needed funds.

I’m pretty cynical about the whole ‘politics’ thing, it’s probably my age. There are, obviously, some principled politicians about ,but at the end of the day all that most of them think about is votes and power. This is neatly illustrated by the current furores around anti-semitism and burkas that seems to have engulfed the two major parties.

In Calderdale we have spent time in the council chamber discussing the rights of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and it’s not unusual for some councillors to wear the Palestinian flag in their lapels. Votes or principles? Is it possible to imagine councillors in some wards in Calderdale (or in some constituencies nationally)being elected by supporting a pro-Israel viewpoint? Likewise the burka argument. Whilst the liberal in me would decry the state proscribing what anyone should wear, it is impossible to imagine that a politician courting the muslim vote would make such comments. So are the two positions arrived at by principle or by the number of votes they will attract. You decide ,I know what I think.

Brexit Update: Honestly ,I can’t be bothered anymore, let’s just go.