I was cheered to read of the opposition to the decision to rip up the contract with Dacorum Sports Trust, even if Mandi Tattershall was politer than I might have been when she asked the Council to “be brave” and think again.
Our priority, of course, must be to campaign for the Council to put the people of Dacorum first and stop the de facto privatisation of our communal sports facilities. Any “savings” to the Council will only mean a private company pushes higher fees or shorter hours onto us Dacorum residents.
However, when our voice has been heard, we need to think about how an appalling decision like this could have been made in the first place.
By my calculations there are only two places to look: either the austerity forced on councils up and down the country is to blame, and Mike Penning and David Gauke need to acknowledge that they need to “be brave” and break with their government, or the Council has such a large one-party majority that the power has clearly gone to their heads and we need much more balance on the Council so that more voices are heard.
The silence we are hearing from our local MPs, and the going to ground of many of our Councillors, shows that dealing with this issue at root is at the very least politically inconvenient. Inconvenient or not, it is time that our local politicians put policy before politics and showed some spine.
Reshuffle promotions, knighthoods, and the power of a huge council majority can easily go to people’s heads, but pride comes before a fall. Time they stuck up for local residents or else we’ll find some politicians who will.