Monday, 27 August 2012

Should Politicians tell the truth? (My monthly article in Sussex Local magazine)

porky pies

I always have had heated political discussions with friends in the Pub, the banter normally follows as they say to me “typical politician, can’t tell the truth or answer a question” I love the cut and thrust of these discussions, but there is maybe a serious issue to air, should Politicians tell the truth?

Well sometimes people don’t want the truth, they would prefer to be in blissful ignorance and blame the fact that they have been left in the dark by a politician.

So if we face this issue head on, then how do we deal with thorny problems like say travellers, before I start a few hares racing, I have no agenda on travellers.  But there is an issue that every summer we have travellers descending on West Sussex and the Police and Local Authorities have to contain this problem.  How can we do this in the best in the interests of the electorate?

When it comes to fighting Travellers sites, I am as reactionary as others.  When a site was considered for the old petrol station along the old A27 in Crossbush, I fought tooth and nail not to have that site designated as an official long term pitch. I used the pre-text of the distance from shops, schools and the noise from the A27 By-pass adjacent the site, I successfully defended my ward, but was I ducking a thorny decision or just representing my residents?

But this comes to the rub of the problem, The Police need transit sites to manage this issue and to house travellers temporarily for up to 72 hours until they can move them on outside the District, but where would residents want these sites? the chorus I am sure is not anywhere near me.

If we had transit sites I personally would favour very remote rural areas which are fenced and could contain travellers, but I am sure that last line will generate many emails of complaint, but we have a problem and we need to deal with it, how we best deal with it?  Not a problem that will be easily solved in the near future I think.

I think communication is the key to eventually solving problems, continually communicating and building up trust, but politics took a really bad turn back in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton and the US Democrats developed Focus groups, where as Politicians started not to lead Public Opinion, but started to follow it.  I believe Politicians have to stand up for what they believe in and try to take the population with them.  I hope I can always be honest with you, but everyone has to realistic in what we as mere local politician can deliver.

Until next month, please keep updated via my web site www.pauldendle.org  email Pauldendle@aol.com  

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