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One of the great strengths of any District Councillor is that he or she tends to meet all the people each represents some of the time. Where as a Parish Councillor tends to meet just some of the people all the time.

IS R.2 FUNDING GOOD FOR ONE’S HEALTH? The Tisbury Parish Council are enthused that the Parish should maintain ‘our snout deep in the R2. Trough’ . It is praiseworthy that it fights for our seat on the gravy train . The system exists and the Parish Council does its best to see that Tisbury gets its share of the money.

Does this fund fall as if the Manna from Heaven ? (cf John 6:57-59 .) If not from whence does it come? If I have it right it comes from those nasty Developers; well that O.K. then. Unless one queries where they obtain the money. Well they acquire it from other Affluent folk. Persons such as our sons and daughters when buying a ‘Starter Home’ . It would be naïve to think that there is some pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow, alas there is not. R2 funding means more expensive houses.

May be everyone buying a house new or old should be required to contribute to R2 funding. Why should only those purchasing off a new development have to pay such money? Like so much else the scheme is ill founded.

I have little knowledge where West Tisbury Parish Council stands on the matter of R2 Funding. Undoubtedly they too will share in benefits accruing on our latest R2 ‘Indent’.

A recent report from Tisbury Parish Council tells of spending R2 money not merely on the construction of Play areas for the children, and of the payment of £2,300 to a ‘Project Manager’ for the Lower Recreation Ground. An Vacancy that should have, in my belief have been advertised in the first place. (Stages two and three of this project have now been shelved). There is an allocation of £4000 to the Cricket Club in the adjoining Parish of FONTHILL for the purpose of funding the building of new Toilet facilities, possibly this means a loo, and the purchase of a gang mower. There is no record at my hand, as to how many Parish Councillors supported this proposed payment, This extra mural credit makes ones mind boggle, or is that an attempt at a tasteless pun?

A further R2 sum of £10,000 is designated for the refurbishment of Tisbury outdoor Tennis Courts. This Tennis has nothing to do with the advert ‘Anyone for Tennis?’ in ‘Focus’. Is that grouping well enough patronised that we in Tisbury detect a demand for windy outdoor courts? Courts that the Parish will need to maintain in the Years ahead. Can we afford so to do at a time when we are financially unwilling to accept the Swimming Pool Concept on the Hindon Lane Site? Rumour has it that further R2 cash would be welcomed in the cause of the Grand Piano restoration. Is not all this proposed expenditure slightly elitist in its concept? What about erecting a NOTICE BOARD for Public Use. What about SCREENING those unattractive re-cycling bins in the car Park. What about spending money on Football Pitch, and if too there is a need to help our Cricketers provide Nets thereby, or provide an area for roller blades/skate boards etc. Patters is great but at most only four persons can use a court at the one time. I am sure West Tisbury would appreciate such facilities, especially if funded by Tisbury’s R2 Funding.

England might be reconstituted as a plethora of ‘R2 Funded Communities’ each standing bravely ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with all our other ‘Communities’ currently so fashionably prevalent. One hopes not, I for one have no wish to see such fragmentation of our Country. We are either all in the mess together or we are not. There is no call for divisiveness. At one time the Trades Unions seemed to be running the Country, now one passes under the Yoke of Politically Correct Communalism, or is the latter word an alternative expression of Communism?

( from ‘Letters to ones son’)

SIX Parish Councillors voted in favour, and TWO against that Tennis Court proposal. That makes Eight Parish Councillors out of a total of fourteen then in Office. So for some doubtlessly incredibly pressing reason there were six Parish Councillors who failed to vote. Were they at the meeting, if not why not? Very recently members opposed the reduction of their number from Fifteen to Eleven Councillors? The fifteen members hitherto gave scope for absenteeism.

Our unelected Parish Council that has but another month in Office, would seem to be spending money as if there is no tomorrow. Might not this core be known as the ‘Pieces of Eight’? (The money, not that Revue with the likes of Kenneth Williams and Fenella Fielding). Will it be bequeathing financial goodwill to the incoming Parish Councillors; or have they been spending the ‘Kids’ inheritance?

INCESTUOUS AFFAIRS ? We are about to have nominations for a new Parish Council, hopefully we will have an election this time around, after twelve long years of but nomination and co-option, even one re- cooption. It is no good anyone standing unless willing to voice an opinion, be that opinion pro- or contrary. Just attending meetings is insufficient, it really is not good enough to sit there, contribute nothing to the debate if one is lucky enough to have one; and eventually raise ones hand in the air at the appropriate time.

Furthermore ‘Seconding’ no end of Motions with the good intention of helpfulness, is anything but helpful. Maybe it is not that ones fellows just could not be bothered to ‘Second’ the matter in hand, merely that they had no wish to do so. It is so easy and seemingly innocuous to become the ‘Fall Guy or the Patsy’ in situations one has no opinion upon. If a motion does not get a ‘Seconder’ then it does not get put to the Vote, so the motion falls. If one holds an opinion for goodness sake VOICE IT OUT LOUD, not ‘sotto voce’ to one’s neighbour around the table as one votes in contrary fashion, doing so in fear of what all the others would think, most of them probably share your opinion anyhow.

My apologies if I appear to be attempting to teach anyone ‘to suck eggs’ as the saying goes, however reflex Seconding is an unfortunate phenomenon. Proposing a motion is a statement of intent, seconding it is not a formality, but too should be a definite endorsement of the matter in hand, not something to be done just to appear helpful.

Too many of us equate the Parish Council with the Parochial Church Council as portrayed in the Vicar of Dibley. That would not be a fair assessment. The Parish Council keeps the Village ticking over. Being any sort of a Councillor is a Privilege . It is unbelievable that so few of us have a go.

PARTY POLITICS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT I would like to have been a District Councillor. I have mentioned already that I twice stood to be an Independent New Forest District Councillor. In fact in 1979 submitted nomination papers in two different Wards at the same time. Does that count as three attempts? The Returning Officer declared that he would invalidate both nominations unless I withdrew one of them. I wonder whether he would have been right so to do? There would possibly have been a requirement to resign the representation of one Ward had one actually been elected to both. Possibly he might have been correct to cancel one nomination, but both, surely not? Originality of thought is not a qualification for becoming a Councillor. Doing what one is told to do, is more appropriate, but Party Politics arrived with the 1979 District Council Elections.

I was later interviewed to be a Conservative Hampshire County Councillor, my ‘Independent’ CV was unhelpful, but neither did they chose the Chap shortly to become the District Council Chair and soon after an M.P.

At that time the ‘Party’ was promoting another of its number for Parliament, but he never made it. Too often Councillors acquire Office through the luck of the Draw, rather than because they are the product of the Ballot Box. It was after 1980 that I became ‘Politically feral’, becoming so in the belief that Branch Selection Committees choosing Local Government Councillors tended to be the servants of Westminster rather than have the better interest of the local Electorate at heart.

In 1979 one Unsuccessful Candidate standing to become a District Councillor elsewhere, was told by the Chair of that Ward’s Conservative Committee that it would far rather have had him as their Candidate, rather than the man it had nominated; it having nominated him because ‘The Committee had been unable to find any other person willing to stand’ in their cause. When such is ever the case, maybe the Branch Management is at fault?

There have always been Party Cliques. Seemingly adhering to the adage ‘that in the valley of the blind the one eyed man is king.’


contact : John B. Pope
Tel : 01747 870326
Email : pionono@tiscali.co.uk