Totteridge by election is taking on a whole new life of it’s own. The sad death of the incumbent Labour councillor wouldn’t normally have caused a political earthquake (Labour only held three seats anyway), but Wycombe’s ruling Conservatives have been making a pretty bad fist of things lately.
They recently decided to reverse an earlier decision and squash moves to make High Wycombe a Fairtrade Town citing ‘cost’. As far as I’m aware, they are the only council to have done this. But it get’s better. At the recent budget setting, they decided to hike our Council Tax by an above average 3.2% – and at the same time announce a raft of service cuts.
One of the cutbacks is the closure of our unique open air swimming pool set in famous park land called ‘The Rye’. We organised a petition which was signed by well over 2,000 people, but the Tories just said we were ‘pandering to public opinion’. They also cut funding for a lot of other important services too.
Our outstanding leader of the opposition, a Lib Dem councillor called Brian Pollock, came up amendments to the budget which would have saved the pool – and prevented other service cuts – while keeping the Council Tax increase below 3%. The Tories voted it down, so we now have the bizarre situation where the Conservatives voted for a higher council tax increase!
I’ve agreed to be the candidate for the by election. Possibly very risky – but it will certainly be interesting. Those who enjoy a good campaign will be made very welcome in Wycombe between now and April 23rd!