I don't mind ruffling feathers

POLITICIANS at Civic Centre do seem to have had their feathers ruffled by me last week.First I upset the Labour administration by pointing out that Band D council taxpayers - considered by the government as the “average” band from which all other rates are calculated - pay £35 in subsidy for the Regent and Corn Exchange.

POLITICIANS at Civic Centre do seem to have had their feathers ruffled by me last week.

First I upset the Labour administration by pointing out that Band D council taxpayers - considered by the government as the “average” band from which all other rates are calculated - pay £35 in subsidy for the Regent and Corn Exchange.

In Ipswich there are more properties in Bands A, B, and C - but it's Band D rates that are quoted as the basic figure.

We're not saying the subsidies are right or wrong - but with the venues' futures under review there has to be a public debate.

Is it right for households in Whitton and Chantry to subsidise entertainment for people from all over the region?

Why are theatre and concert performances subsidised, but not films at commercial cinemas or football and speedway matches which attract more people?

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Also I've been taken to task for suggesting that the Conservatives at Civic Centre are costing us money by playing politics over the future of the building.

What else are we to think? The council has been told by its insurance companies that Civic Centre will not be insured after December 2005 unless £13 million is spent rebuilding it.

Officers have been drawing up plans to move to new offices for months - but no decision has been made because of the fluid political situation.

They have said it is crucial that work starts on the new offices this month, but there's now not going to be any decision until September.

And when the Tories are asked what their attitude is we were told: “Wait and see!” There is no reason why they couldn't have considered their position by now - everyone has known about the situation since January.

If the move is delayed, I'm sure the borough will be able to get insurance for the last few months of Civic Centre's life - but it won't be cheap and that extra cost will be totally unnecessary.

And that will leave council taxpayers footing the bill for the political games of councillors - from all the parties!

IT'S very distressing to see the naked racism that's been stirred up by the shock news that travellers have bought some land between Woolpit and Elmswell.

But then racism accompanies travellers all over the country - just look at the rows that have built up in Cambridgeshire and Essex.

I cannot understand the objections to the travellers who have bought a site in open country between the two villages.

They want to install services and give themselves somewhere to call home.

What's the objection? They're hardly creating an eyesore in the heart of either village and there is no reason for anyone to be worried about their presence.

I know some travellers who move from illegal camp to illegal camp leave a mess behind them - but travellers who have their own land are as clean and tidy as anyone else.

Just look at the West Meadows site on the edge of Ipswich - it's no more untidy than anywhere else in the town.

And then there are those who say they don't want travellers moving in because they fear a crime wave.

Talk about tarring an entire community because of one or two bad apples!

The fact is that again prejudice is overcoming logic.

Criminal elements of the Travelling community move around to make it more difficult to catch them - the last thing they want to do is settle down on a permanent site.

In fact the arguments against the travellers are very similar to those you would hear in the 1960s and 70s when ethnic minority families moved into an area.

You often heard comments like: “Of course I'm not prejudiced, but you'll be able to smell the curry all over the area!”

Of course that kind of thing would be totally unacceptable now - but taking a pot-shot at the Travelling community still seems to be fair game.

People who would never dream of using racist language will happily use offensive language to describe travellers.

I hope Mid Suffolk Councillors don't allow themselves to be swayed by the racist objections - let's try a bit of tolerance.

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