Friday, 30 December 2011

A look back at 2011 - and look forward to 2012

It is 4.00pm on Friday 30 December and for the last time this year I sit down to write my blog.

It's been a big year for me personally having been elected as District Councillor for Thringstone and Parish Councillor for Whitwick and not least as Leader of the Labour Group on North West Leicestershire District Council but it has, far more importantly, been a very difficult year for the residents of the district.

As I look back to the start of 2011 I think about how tough it has got economically for many families. Nationally our government has continued to introduce initiatives, such as the increase to VAT, which have affected the working family far more disproportionately than the well off and locally residents and businesses have suffered.

Of course, in May, I was disappointed that Labour did not take control of our district council but in hindsight I am delighted to say that increasing our number of seats from 5 to 16 vindicated our message of a realistic alternative by connecting with local people significantly more than many other parts of the region.

I feel very honoured that across the district huge numbers of voters chose to place their trust in Labour once more. Thank you, I hope we have not failed you.

Since May Labour has focused with renewed vigour in holding the Conservative administration to account.

We have continued to highlight the continued profligacy and wastefulness of the Whitwick Road Tories (£10,000 on new signs anyone? or, a million on consultants?) whilst at the same time showing just how out of touch the Leader and Cabinet really are with ordinary people with their flip-flopping on parking charges.

A personal highlight for me was how Nick Clarke led our campaign against parking charges with the result that I firmly believe  local people recognise that it was Labour who were instrumental in forcing the turnaround from the administration.

I am also delighted that all parties worked together to seek to preserve the Green Wedge through the emerging Core Strategy. There have been significant strides forward but the battle is not yet definitively won.

But there have also been disappointments.

I am disappointed at the lack of movement in improving Coalville.

I am disappointed at the plans for leisure centres (improving public health is a service not just a profit and loss sheet) .

I am disappointed that the administration failed to support our proposals for the adoption QEII Fields Challenge.

I am disappointed by the Tory plans for community grants,

and not least I am disappointed by how the current administration has sought to silence opposition by all but eradicating scrutiny and now refusing to let Labour councillors speak at meetings.

It is my fervent hope that in 2012 all parties will work together for the better good of the district.

We will be faced with many challenges such as museums, major planning applications and for the slightly nerdy amongst us - potential governance changes.

But in particular, I believe, we must have two main objectives of delivering meaningful regeneration of our town centres and villages (bringing jobs to the district) and doing whatever we can to mitigate the effects of a fast deteriorating economy on local people.

It is my fear that what we will see is the rich continuing to protect the rich and beggar all else.

I can reassure every reader of this blog that 2012 will see me doing all that I possibly can to bring positive change to every resident of this district who is feeling the pinch in these dark times.

I want Labour to support people through tough times and work with them in delivering better ones.

Have a Happy New Year and I fervently hope a better 2012 than 2011.


  1. Interesting comment about public health not being a profit and loss thing. All leisure centre providers, whether council or other, seem driven by targets, money and figures, just the same as other organisations. Many don't understand at all about the public health element, especially where exercise referrals from GPs and hospitals come into it, and still see people who are ill and wanting to improve their health as potential monthly members at the end of their initial courses.

  2. Max Hunt, County CouncillorSaturday, December 31, 2011

    Thanks for all your comments throughout the year. Always stimulating and thoughtful.

    A big challenge for 2012 will be to save Snibston Discovery Museum for the next generation, and with it the County Council museums service which was once one of the best in the country.

    Happy New Year to you and all your readers.


  3. One of the biggest disapointments was the treatment of our Cllr in Ibstock by senior Labour Party members. (Or shall we pretend that didnt happen?)