By Coun Tony Williams
Leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council
The country has spoken and we are to be independent of Europe although little will change in the short term as we continue to trade and move freely within the union.
In Blackpool more than 45,000 residents, including myself, voted to leave a partnership which was dominated and controlled by faceless dictators in Brussels.
Sixty seven per cent of the electorate in Blackpool shunned the town’s current Labour council’s plea to remain proving that once again this council is out of touch with the wishes and views of the people it was elected to serve.
Maybe a snap local election should be called, after all we have a council leader who lobbied and campaigned against what most of us wanted.
As the result was announced rattles were thrown out of prams like confetti at a wedding beginning with David Cameron who quickly (too quickly I feel) resigned.
This referendum wasn’t about whether or not we would lose our prime minister, I never thought that would happen.
Mr Cameron is a man of honour, I believed he would gallantly accept the choice of the people and manage the outcome.
In a way I am glad he made the decision. He is clearly exhausted and extremely affected by the result, but it’s a great blow losing one of the best prime ministers this country has had.
The EU dictators were also fast to show their true colours by demanding a quick ‘divorce’. This goes to show how compassionate and friendly they are towards Great Britain.
Whilst the doom-mongers predict a cataclysmic future for Britain we should remember Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ , ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you’.
Things will change but I don’t believe this country is doomed. We will repair our politics, build new trading partnerships, and I hope eventually, formulate a more fair and balanced new EU partnership.
Recently we voted in full council to join forces with most of Lancashire to form a combined authority in response to the Chancellor’s call for a Northern Power House.
Labour councillors voted unanimously in favour for this whereas the whole Conservative group voted against the motion.
I believe a combined authority will weaken Blackpool’s own unitary status, a status we fought so hard to achieve in 1998.
Achieving unitary status saw us break away from the grip of County Hall in Preston and manage our own education, health and other essential services.
While there are many who now think that county council did a better job than current local councils I believe it’s a huge step backwards.
Blackpool has unique needs and is completely different in terms of culture and offering than our Lancashire neighbours.
Not only would it dictate there would be an elected Lancashire Mayor, something all parties in Blackpool voted against a few years ago, it would mean Preston and County Hall together with the 15 representatives from authorities would have a vote on major decisions that affect our town, in other words a mini EU.
Those representatives would have to all agree on any major changes we wanted to make in Blackpool, somehow I don’t think that agreement would happen.
The leader of Blackpool Council has stated the vast majority of people in the town researchers have talked to are in favour of this partnership.
However most folks I talk to say they know nothing about it.
Well the Labour council have voted in favour so whether you know about it or not it’s going ahead.
Labour keeps accusing me of raking over old ground when I remind them of the vast amounts of money they waste.
We never heard an apology for their mistake in wasting almost £250,000 on a useless car park or for over spending a million or so on the Syndicate farce.
Then there was almost £100,000 on huge ugly no smoking signs which are rusting away and hiding amongst the uncut grass. The list goes on. As soon as it was decided there should be no dogs on the beach at Bispham, the signs were ordered and quickly put into place only to be taken down very quickly when residents objected to the ban. More wasted money.
Now the free breakfasts have been streamlined. What used to cost £1.5m a year now only costs £500,000.
Unfortunately the only healthy item in the breakfast has been removed and that was bottled water.
All that’s left is fruit and a carbohydrate bread roll, hardly a healthy start.