From the e-mail in-box, postbag and debating room floor, here’s a selection of the questions posed to It’s Our County representatives.
A: Funding to support the IOC campaign comes from subscriptions and donations from members and supporters. As a political party registered with the Electoral Commission, a record of any donation of over £500 must be recorded, with donations over £7,500 declared to the Electoral Commission. Return to top.
A: No. We believe that national party political doctrine should have no influence on democratically-elected local councillors. Return to top.
A: No. Existing and future IOC councillors will always be left to vote with their consciences and with the needs of their local constituents in mind. Sadly, none of the other political groupings represented on Herefordshire Council enjoy this freedom! Return to top.
A: We agree with Local Communities Secretary Eric Pickles: it is just ‘propaganda on the rates’. Its annual production and distribution costs of £60,000 could more usefully go to underpinning some threatened rural bus routes. Return to top.
A: There is consultation and quasi-consultation, with too much of the latter in evidence in Herefordshire.
IOC would publish advance timetables for all public consultation exercises; it would issue easy-to-comprehend documents, giving adequate time for completion and return; and it would hold well-advertised, independently-chaired public meetings, at which debate was encouraged, not stifled. Return to top.
A: We believe that our Manifesto – which we published in March 2011 - comprehensively covers all major topics: housing, social, transport and environmental issues. More than can be said of any of the other parties. Return to top.
A: Quite apart from the fact that these wildly-ambitious Labour-created housing targets have been revoked, our gripe is that the present administration is ‘looking down the wrong end of the telescope’.
Mass housing handled by volume housebuilders would inevitably create large estates: what the folk singer Pete Seeger memorably christened ‘ticky-tacky boxes’.
Small-scale housing communities – as successfully practised in neighbouring Gloucestershire and South Shropshire – is what we should be aiming for. Return to top.
A: You don’t. But given that consecutive LibDem and Tory administrations have managed, over nearly a decade, to make a right pig’s ear of this county’s economic advancement and prosperity, Its Our County is ‘the wind of change’. We are now the main opposition party and are preparing to govern after the next elections Return to top.
A: The admirable Truffle loyalty card points out that of every £10 spent with local traders, £8 remains in the county; for every £10 spent with a multi-national, £8 leaves the county. Make no mistake about it, the vast majority of the names on the front of the shops built on the market site will be those of high street multinationals. Return to top.
A: Contrary to what you may have heard on the malicious local rumour mill, there is no sinister Mr (or even Mrs) Big pulling It’s Our County’s strings. Return to top.