What happened when I attempted to get the Conservatives to debate Elms Field

by Prue Bray on 23 March, 2018

Yesterday evening was the last full council meeting of Wokingham Borough Council before the local elections.   I submitted a motion about Elms Field and the town centre regeneration, criticising the Conservatives for the destruction of so many trees, and asking for them to involve residents in discussions about how the regeneration should continue from now on.

So, you will be thinking, what happened when we discussed the motion?

We didn’t discuss it.

Instead we had to sit through a very long series of speeches by Conservatives on earlier items on the agenda.   A very very long series of speeches.

I will check when the film of the meeting goes up, but I believe there were about 30 such speeches, with some of the Conservatives speaking more than once.  All of them telling us how wonderful everything in the Borough was, thanks to the actions of the Conservatives.  It was an orgy of self-congratulation.  At one stage (when a Conservative councillor asked “how many new trees are being planted to ensure that our residents will continue to believe that Wokingham is the happiest place in this country and one of the best places to live”) I found that I had to get up and bang my head against the wall of the council chamber.  Not in frustration but in despair at the blinkered pomposity of it all.  Local government at its worst.

The net result – and their intention right from the start – was that we reached the 10.30 pm end of meeting deadline without getting anywhere near the Elms Field motion.  The Conservatives did not want to have to defend themselves on Elms Field and so they simply made sure they didn’t have to.  And no doubt thought themselves very clever for doing it.

The fact that they played these sort of games has confirmed for me – if I needed it confirming –  that they really don’t care what anybody else thinks, and they believe they have the right to do whatever they like.  They don’t want to listen to anyone who disagrees with them, even to the point of believing that disagreeing with them should not be allowed.  One of them actually said in the meeting that they expected the Lib Dems to support what they were doing, not oppose.  That’s a funny idea of democracy.  We do support them when we agree with what they are doing.  But NOT otherwise.  Why would we?

So now onwards and upwards towards the local elections on 3rd May.   Who knows, with a bit of luck and a following wind, by 4th May the Conservatives might not be quite so complacent.





14 Responses

  1. Penny Cooper says:

    I am not surprised at the behaviour last night.
    Let’s hope they get their deserts and lose the election

  2. Heather bennett says:

    I’m almost unable to believe this. I cried at first seeing Elm’s Field torn to bits and everyone I spoke to (many men included) were equally shocked and outspoken. I’ve yet to meet anyone who supports what is happening. The destruction of those trees though … heart breaking.

    From being adamant I’d live here for many more years, the traffic and what’s happening is increasingly challenging that.

    This is silly but I feel like giving you a hug … so am sending a virtual one.

  3. Martin Wheatley says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I hope the Tory tactics can be reported in the local press so that the wider public can see these complacent dictatorial scumbags for what they are, and will never vote for them in the forthcoming or future elections.
    Thanks for trying anyway. Regards. Martin.

    • Prue Bray says:

      The press were there and I hae also spoken to them today. We shall see. the election period starts on tuesday so they may be careful what they write.

  4. Allie Lehtinen says:

    You are doing a fantastic job! Keep on! I grew up in Wokingham, used that park; my kids went to that park every time we visited Wokingham to visit their grandma. Even though I left UK to work abroad in the 1990’s, & still do, my heart belongs to Wokingham & I follow the goings on & shanannigans of the Conservatives with despair. I hope one day me & my kids will return to a green Wokingham once more. Fantastic work, Prue! Thanks from me, Allie Lehtinen ex Wokingham, now working in Uganda!

  5. Mike Smith says:

    Thanks for at least trying Pru, but it’s all rather as expected and quite childlike, not the actions of responsible adults.

  6. Mike Foster says:

    I am dismayed and disgusted by the contemptible way the Tory Mafia treated your Elms Field motion, Prue. The wanton destruction of Elms Field and it’s beautiful trees was an act of sheer vandalism. I can only hope that the electorate wake up get rid of them at elections in May.

  7. Trevor Sleet says:

    Just like the meeting at St. Crispins, gerrymandering by the local Conservative party. They had better not come knocking on my door for my vote

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