Straight Talking: Counting cost of party ‘stooges’ scandal

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One of the most heart-warming and beneficial results of the Brexit vote is the eventual extinction of the 73 UK MEPs. Most of them remained completely unknown to the general public and of the few who made any sort of impact there was little benefit or advantage for their constituents.

Their excessive remuneration has been an obscene use of public money and their continuing ability to draw their pay for at least another two years, with large attendant pension rights, is utterly disgraceful. We have voted to get out of this corrupt and undemocratic hotch-potch and the money would be better spent on essential services here.

But, with local elections looming in May, the quality and cost of 55 councillors and an elected Mayor in Doncaster once again comes under the spotlight. I happen to live in the Finningley ward where we have three Conservative councillors. During the last four years they have been conspicuous only by their absence – no communications have been received apart from a leaflet at election times.

One of them lives in Sprotborough, the other two, a married couple, live in Wheatley Hills. (Annual cost of this threesome £36,000 plus.) Now don’t run away with the idea that I have a burning desire to hear from them; that is the last thing on my mind but nor do I wish to contribute to their various sources of income.

The Labour Party also doles out safe seats to party activists, taking no account of local knowledge or residency. Two Adwick councillors live in Bawtry and two Conisborough representatives live in Sprotborough and Hickleton respectively. Edlington councillors live in Armthorpe and Spotborough – and this list is far from exhaustive. Surely it is time to change the rules, but in the meantime the solution is in the hands of the voters who should check the address and local commitment of candidates carefully. With so many councillors no longer living in the wards they allegedly represent, it is perhaps no wonder that sightings of them are rarer than those of Halley’s Comet.

There remains however the question of the quality and cost of Doncaster’s councillors in general.

Labour and Tory councillors are largely robotic characters who are told what button to press in council votes.

They are told to vote along party lines even if this is against the interests of their electors. Many of them never contribute to debates, others wouldn’t know where to start and some are forbidden to open their mouths.

The cost of keeping these self-important party stooges in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed is around £1.3 million each year and it’s about time this continuing scandal came to an end.