Spring is almost upon us with a week of glorious sunshine, if slightly colder temperatures. It must be time to bring out the ballot boxes. Blackpool's Council is placing itself up for re-election ward by ward - with many of the usual (ageing) suspects reappearing yet again to challenge the voters to further endorsement.
What would be highly stimulating is the emergence of younger residents putting themselves forward to instil fresh minds and new ideas into what has become an ever
increasing stale enduring consensus over past decades. When once the Town's Council
was held in some regard, if not respect, - with outstanding vocal spokespersons; today it has become a much maligned body and target of critics of all ages and political hues.
In some wards a dead dog would get elected if it wore a certain blue or red rosette such is the apathy and indifference shown by a perpetual minority of electors. Indeed the longevity of certain Members of the Council would seem to indicate election in certain wards brings with it a lifetime paid sinecure up to, if not into, the grave.
There are exceptions of course; with certain citizens taking strenuous and consistent efforts to improve and deal with local issues : Layton Ward in which I am a Voter being
favoured with such able representatives in Council. Fliers are appearing through letter boxes, new bus shelters are springing up; assertive posters and promises are putting on a brave face against a backdrop of national political malaise in Westminster. However I won't mention the 'B' word in this Blog.
One such noteworthy poster materialised on Talbot Road this past week - which drew my attention given the subject matter and is reproduced here for the benefit of readers. One wonders whether Blackpool's Council owned transport operator has in mind the introduction of three axle new buses, or more modern electric trams. Certainly artistic licence has been hard at work here producing not too bad a job :
Blackpool North is a Conservative held Parliamentary seat, whilst Blackpool South is held by a Labour MP who would seem to commute to the northwest as required from a residence in Brighton. Neighbouring Lancaster and Fleetwood is held by a young MP - Cat Smith who jumped? into politics fresh from Uni as a Labour Parliamentary candidate unseating the Conservative incumbent who it should be said was highly supportive of the Wyre Dock development proposals and tram museum initiative launched by the Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust. Fylde with its rural hinterland and certain social distinctions is naturally Conservative held, as are their local authorities.
'21st Century Transport for Blackpool' is not simply all hot air and electioneering bragging - in this case by the local Labour Party. In fact the town's transport company has excelled itself in recent years with a complete overhaul of its bus fleet that has seen striking modern vehicles replacing now dated (and polluting) predecessors from the beginning of this millenium. Move towards all electric buses is a policy being acted on in concert with expansion of the tram system, albeit modestly at this time, but with expectation of bolder integrated links emerging in due course. All thanks to endorsement of the town's executive and attendant advisory private sector bodies now playing a forthright role in shaking up Blackpool and the Fylde coast's economic strategies and infrastructure. Examples of initiatives by other UK coastal communities with pro-active public private partnerships point the way to a positive future for young generations wishing to find skilled employment locally on the Fylde's diverse coastline.
The House of Lords Select Committee Report published last week on the challenges and success stories of coastal towns and resorts provides thoughtful commentary on the good the bad and the ugly of comparitive communities. Blackpool being highlighted as a classic case in need of attention. Thankfully this Council's owned Transport Company has got it right - as the image underlines. More please...
PS : This is not a political party Blog on behalf of the Labour Party..