Search

Tories need fighters, not ostriches

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 December 2001 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 March 2010

WHEN I launched my broadside against the Ipswich Conservative Association last week, I expected to get a response – and that's just what happened.

Two letters to the Star from "elder statesmen" of party in Ipswich showed that there is a clear divide among them about the state of the party.

WHEN I launched my broadside against the Ipswich Conservative Association last week, I expected to get a response – and that's just what happened.

Two letters to the Star from "elder statesmen" of party in Ipswich showed that there is a clear divide among them about the state of the party.

Brian Pinner has a superb track record of work for his town, his county and his party – he was the last Tory leader of the borough and a leading light at County Hall for many years.

But his letter on Tuesday was a classic case of "shoot the messenger" as he accused me of bias.

I said that the locally the Tories had policies that struck a chord with many people in the town – policies on issues like planning, transport, the environment, business development, and many other aspects of life in Ipswich.

What has let them down over recent years is the degree of in-fighting and paranoia that seems to have gripped them.

It might be a shock for Mr Pinner to have that pointed out from an independent standpoint – but it's true.

And it's recognised by former Conservative county councillor Jeffrey Stansfield who wrote an equally strong letter backing up my criticisms of the local Tory association – and saying that it was time to put internal disputes to one side and get on with rebuilding the Party's electoral support.

Frankly that's the kind of attitude the Tories in Ipswich need at the moment – then they stand a chance of staging a political comeback.

Shoving your head in the sand, pretending everything's fine with the party, and that the only reason you won't win next May's elections is because the boundaries were fixed by your opponents is the sure way to political oblivion.

WHILE on the subject of whinging letters, I found the rant by UK Independence Party leader Jeffrey Titford about his party's apparent lack of coverage in The Evening Star highly amusing.

I would have thought that the leader of any political party would have enough knowledge of the law to know that the Electoral Commission, Press Complaints' Commission and the Returning Officer has no role in determining how much coverage is given to each political party in newspapers during an election campaign.

At the Star we try hard to be fair and politically independent because it's the right thing to do – not because outside organisations say we have to!

I PAID a rare working visit to the town where I grew up earlier this week – and I was struck by the fact that despite the construction of two nuclear power stations, Leiston hasn't really changed as much as many other towns over the years.

One change that it missed out on – along with other towns in Suffolk Coastal – was the introduction of CCTV cameras.

That really came home to me as I covered a story about a jewellery store being the victim of a smash-and-grab raid.

Three cameras would cover the town centre. The villains would have been caught on film, and it would have made the job of the police much easier.

But Leiston, along with other towns in Suffolk Coastal, missed out on the chance of CCTV cameras in the mid-1990s.

During that time the Labour-Liberal Democrat administration at Suffolk Coastal decided that cameras would infringe civil liberties.

It wasn't an argument which cut much ice in Labour-dominated Ipswich, which pioneered CCTV coverage in East Anglia, but it kept the cameras out of Suffolk Coastal.

When the Tories regained power there a couple of years ago, they tried to reverse the decision – but by that time the government's funds for such schemes had been cut back because, it was assumed, most places that wanted CCTV had now got it.

Now towns in Suffolk Coastal – like Felixstowe, Woodbridge, and Leiston – are not covered by this valuable crime-fighting tool and are attractive to those who would think twice about staging raids in places like Ipswich because they could be caught on camera.

And I'm sure that very few of us law-abiding citizens really feel as if our civil liberties are infringed by CCTV cameras – that really is a case of paranoia overcoming common sense!


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ipswich Star