Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Oh dear…………

When political candidates put out dishonest information in their literature when seeking office, how can they be trusted to show honesty and integrity should they be elected?

Sadly the Wallington South residents have been subjected to the unpleasant tactics of vague and unsubstantiated insinuations as well as outright fabrications from opposition candidates in the by-election.

The Independent candidate has suddenly invented a second incinerator, UKIP have nothing but smears and allegations to peddle, and the Conservative messages contain yet more fabrications deliberately to plant doubt in people’s minds – the same tactic they used in their General Election campaign to ruthlessly eliminate the Liberal Democrats.

To address just a few of the worst claims:

The Wallington town centre improvement scheme was only completed in 2011 – why would we plan to do any further works, especially as the current scheme was so well received by local people?

As the custodians of public money councils are subject to very high levels of scrutiny – often viewed as excess bureaucracy.  Yes council assets could be sold off to the highest bidder, however as Liberal Democrats we listen to the views of our residents. Our residents told us that they would prefer our heritable properties to continue in community use so when voluntary sector organisations like Ecolocal and SCVS offer to take on the costs and provide a service to the community from the buildings we think that is a good deal saving the council money but retaining the buildings.

Lib Dem, Conservative and Labour run boroughs of Kingston, Croydon, Merton and Sutton jointly agreed to enter into a contract with Viridor to cease the use of the landfill site in Sutton and have their waste treated instead in an Energy Recovery Facility. But only the Lib Dems in Sutton have been honest enough to stand by that decision and try to explain to its residents how incineration techniques have become the modern and safe way to deal with waste across Europe, and how having the facility in Sutton will improve air quality, save taxpayers money, and mean funding for improvements to the Beddington area.

The decision about whether to sell the Wallington public hall site or have the council develop it itself has not yet been made. There has been no developer interest in the site so talk of mosques and tall buildings are pure myths. Also a bit hypocritical of the Conservative candidate to have raised this spectre given Rosemount was built when the Tories had control of the council, and now they have taken power in Kingston they are being criticised by residents there for approving new tower blocks.

As for Lib Dems not listening to residents, when local people were loud and clear about their opposition to the McDonalds drive-through proposed for Stafford Road the Conservatives were tweeting that  they ‘didn’t see a problem with it.’ Fortunately the Lib Dems did champion their residents and together we stopped McDonalds.

There is a reason that Sutton residents have trusted the Liberal Democrats to run the council for the last 29 years, and that is because we are honest and we listen to our residents. We cannot always deliver everything our residents ask for, but they know that we do what it is in our power to do. Basic things like keeping the streets clean and well maintained, our parks and open spaces of a high standard for everyone to enjoy, and supporting and encouraging businesses to thrive and grow. Residents told us they want to be ‘green’ and protect the environment, and so Sutton has been at the forefront on issues of sustainability with its BedZed development, One Planet Borough accreditation and Sustainable Suburb initiative.

And, as for any individual or organisation, it is impossible to get everything 100% right. But when things do go wrong residents have seen the council be transparent and most importantly, learn lessons and make changes to improve.

So after 29 years of Lib Dem control we have seen Sutton voted one of the best places to bring up a family, our schools and green spaces winning awards, the fastest house sales, and one of the highest levels of resident satisfaction with its borough in the country.

I have heard these election smear campaigns dismissed as just to be expected in politics. I disagree. Politics and politicians have a bad name because of such tactics. Just because you are a politician it does not mean that this is the way you have to behave. Yes it is harder to be an honest politician, and to tell people the truth rather than what they want to hear. To make difficult decisions and try to explain why they are necessary, rather than taking a populist stance that sounds good but makes no actual contribution to solving the problem.

I know what kind of politician I try to be, and the kind of politician I want representing me, which is why I am a Liberal Democrat. Not perfect, but honest,  prepared to stand up for all members of society, and most of all, principled. The Liberal Democrat Party is made up of people like Steve Cook, whose drive is purely to do his best for his fellow residents. Steve saw how the Lib Dems work with people locally, and decided that was the way to do things, the way he could give something back to his community. I hope he gets the chance to.



June 10, 2015 - Posted by | Liberal Democrats | , , ,


  1. I personally was in favour of the McDonalds in Stafford Road and I know others who were as well.
    Since then the area is still empty, that’s great for jobs and the local economy! What is the big plan then?

    Comment by luckyluxy | June 12, 2015 | Reply

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