Posted by: westlancashirerecord | September 11, 2016

Local Political Tribalism

WLBC Mayor Liz Savage mayorliz reports on a “Fantastic evening last night [Friday] at the Charity Ball. Many thanks to all those who made it a success. We don’t have final figures yet but it looks like we made in the region of £3500. Great food, wonderful venue and wow, amazing singing from the Caroline Darbyshire Academy. Ben and Ellis were simply amazing singers. I hope those who came had a fantastic evening and managed to not only have a great time but to network with others in the community. Don’t forget to keep a look out for us in Lancashire Life!”

One person who was there, Cllr Owens, writes “Last evening, I attended the Mayor’s Charity Ball. It was an enjoyable evening with the community pulling together to support the Mayor’s chosen charities – The Artz Centre; Ormskirk Neo-Natal Unit; the Birchwood Centre; and The Civic. When I say the community pulling together, that unfortunately excludes the presence of even a single Conservative Borough or county councillor. What a shame the tribalism of local Conservative councillors in not supporting a Labour Mayor meant that these excellent local charities were the losers.

“The only point to make in their defence was that Labour councillors were equally absent at charity dinners under Conservative Mayors. That these people cannot even put aside their political differences for charity is a sad reflection of the culture at West Lancashire council – a culture Our West Lancashire Independents are working to change. Thankfully, “Conservative-minded” residents were present in a 170-strong audience that appeared to comprise a fair cross section of West Lancashire”.

Well, if by being “Conservative-minded” Adrian Owens means “disposed to preserving existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change” what was he doing in the “tribalist” Conservative party pre-2014 as its deputy leader? He wasn’t, apparently, preserving or limiting change to the greenbelts of Aughton, Burscough, and Halsall. Nor was he preserving concessionary bus services for elderly and disabled residents who had the gift of a “free English National Bus Pass” while social exclusion suddenly became rife in our villages because buses simply disappeared.

There have been some recent letters to the Champion championlogo about Cllr Owens and his OWLs. One described some OWL complaints as “smacking somewhat of hypocrisy” and referred to Cllr Owens having a short memory. The writer also comments on “blatant cronyism”, on retaining all the councillors while workers were made redundant, on One Connect, and his punch line that cuts to local services are solely the fault of the Conservative Central Government cutting local government funding. On the other hand another letter declares Cllr Owens deserves praise for his support “over the years” and suggests his loyalty to his constituency and community of Ormskirk should be seen beyond his past history.

All of which might describe the fine line between tribal and independent local politicians. Tribal Conservatives felt no collective guilt when Westley described many Aughton residents as liars weslur. There was no public tribal contrition and no public sense of moral scruples. But when Westley “aided and abetted two Conservative councillors” who wouldn’t accept a decision that “I was elected Leader of the Conservative Group on the council by the 27-strong group of councillors in a secret ballot – one person, one vote” what happened? “There followed two weeks of scheming and plotting by a few in the Conservative group. Ultimately the two councillors who refused to accept the democratic decision of the Group chose to refuse to vote with their Conservative colleagues when electing the Leader of the Council”. Well that’s tribalism for you! Meanwhile, carryonatthecouncil


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