Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Cllr Dibbs apology
A few people contacted me about Cllr Dibbs clumsy remark in the alternate week bin collection story in the News, that I am against anything the Conservative Group propose. I would like to apologise for this remark, for a number of reasons.
1. It is inaccurate, and were it the case, I would have left or been expelled from the Conservative Group. I am true blue to the core.
2. Cllr Dibbs remarks led many of you to believe Alternate Week Collection (AWC) is a "Conservative" idea. This was clumsy of him. It is not a Party issue, and I am deeply sorry Cllr Dibbs gave this impression. Members of all parties locally support or oppose this scheme. There is also clear Conservative opposition to the scheme throughout the Country, where Conservative Councils elsewhere have led the way excluding this scheme in support of residents concerns. So Cllr Dibbs may want to read the speeches coming from Conservative Central Office that express the same concerns I have about the scheme.
3. I would also like to apologise for him because personal attacks are no way to conduct a public debate. This is not the new Conservative style, which I support. Policies not people should be challenged and scrutinised. It shows a lack of intellect when one resorts to personal attacks to "strengthen" a position in a debate. It is also one of the key things that have turned the electorate off politicians.
4. Empathy for another point of view is vital in public office, and lack of it can smack of arrogance. When conducting an informed debate about a scheme that has so much public interest we need to be very careful we do not come across as a "know all", this turns off residents who are often well informed and articulate. If we want to win over residents we need to have rational well thought through arguments, not cheap immature digs that people last experienced in the playground and do not expect to see used by those that represent us in the Council Chamber.
5. And lastly, I apologise as this is probably the only apology that will be forthcoming! I hope I do not come across as smug when I genuinely say I am never too proud to apologise - being mortal I inevitably fall short of perfection.
Cllr Dibbs regardless of what some of you have said is a good man, that is dedicating his time to public service, which few choose these days, and we need to remember, he comes from a generation where leaders were obeyed without question. That is just not the case these days, and some have difficulty coping with that. So I bear no hard feelings towards my colleague.
Now I pray, we can concentrate on debating not "personalities", but the issues, benefits and problems of Alternate Week Collections.....