THE EDITOR'S CHAIR: Voters deserve better than political walk outs
EXCHANGE OF VIEWS? The council chamber at Newport civic centre Voters deserve better than political walk outs
I’M not sure what Newport’s Conservative councillors thought they would achieve by walking out of this week’s full council meeting in protest at a change in the way the meetings are organised.
Questions to the Labour leader of the council now have to be provided in writing four days in advance of full council meetings, with question time limited to half an hour.
Tory councillors say the move stifles debate. Labour says it follows the model used in the Commons and the Senedd and prevents meetings dragging on for hours.
I don’t know who is correct on this issue. In all honesty, I don’t really care and I suspect that will be the case for much of Newport’s electorate.
Voters put their trust in local politicians to work hard for them, to help make their lives better, and to ensure services they pay for are delivered promptly and efficiently.
They don’t want to see the kind of adversarial, Punch and Judy party politicking that has dogged Newport and some other local councils for decades.
Turnouts at local council elections continue to fall and politicians have to accept they are largely to blame.
Voters want to see local councillors working to improve their city, not bogged down by political dogma and point-scoring.
This is not an attack on Newport’s Tories in particular – though my view is that walking out of a meeting is particularly childish and certainly not the way to represent constituents – but a plea for local politicians of all parties to prioritise what the electorate wants and not what the party line dictates.
Ask most people what they think of politicians and you’ll get some similar replies – they’re all the same, they’re on the gravy train, they’re only interested in themselves.
It may not be true but it is a generally- held perception.
The best way to challenge such perceptions is to show voters what you are doing to make good the promises you made at election time and to improve the lot of the electorate.
Hurling insults across the council chamber or stomping off in a huff is not the way to win hearts and minds.
We are in tough times. Our representatives need to grow up and show they are capable of doing the job they were elected to do.
Noble fell for first aid as a teen
I HAD the pleasure this week of attending a lunch laid on by St John Wales to thank some of their supporters.
Among the guests was Welsh broadcasting legend Roy Noble,pictured, who is an independent trustee of St John and an ambassador for the organisation.
Erudite and entertaining, Roy has a story for every occasion.
My favourite tale at this week’s event was of how he first became interested in the work done by St John. He fell off a roof as a teenager and, luckily for him, St John was running a first aid class nearby.
Members of the class “thought Christmas had come early” as they were able to put their new skills into practice – all except one first aider.
He was the local bobby and was more interested in what Roy and his pals had been doing on the roof than assessing the prone figure’s injuries.
Honouring our ‘unsung heroes’
WHAT a fantastic event Newport’s annual Night of Honour awards has become.
This year’s event, organised by King’s Church, recognised many of the city’s unsung heroes and it is brilliant to see their selflessness recognised.
As usual, your Argus was heavily involved in this year’s awards, receiving nominations and producing special ‘front page’ certificates for the winners.
It’s a great event to be associated with and long may it continue.