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The Somerset Guardian, 17th August 2022

The Liberal Democrats, who currently run B&NES, clearly do not have enough to do. This week, either through ignorance or idleness, they have written to me asking me to write to myself about procurement law. Such linguistic contortions would make me the epistolary equivalent of the boneless wonder.

They are concerned about procurement rules but seem unaware that legislation is currently going through Parliament that allows companies found guilty of malpractice to be excluded from future contracts. Indeed, I recently banned a major multi-national because of activities in South Africa. However, the main aim for those who spend taxpayers’ money must be good value, something that is particularly important when inflation is rising. Pious virtue signalling rather than the careful use of resources merely makes the cost of living crisis worse.

It is, unfortunately, typical of the Liberal Democrats. They are an anti-business, anti-enterprise party. They want higher tax all round and even ask me to be harsh on those struggling with IR35, the anti-avoidance measure that has been an administrative nightmare for legitimate small businesses.

Would not it be better if they concentrated on running the Council well? Local government has a specific role to deliver services, it ought not to waste money campaigning for national party-political ends when they cannot win general elections. Instead, they tried to ban the public from speaking at meetings unless they showed the text to apparatchiks in advance, a woefully undemocratic practice. They run a wasteful anti-motorist policy with unpopular Low-traffic Neighbourhoods and endless 20 MPH zones that then waste valuable police time. I recently noticed an officer on a motorbike in Chew Stoke trying to catch speeders when we have a plague of rural crime. Planning is equally chaotic with decision making seemingly random.

This must be difficult for the conscientious Council officials, who so diligently help my constituents, to watch but it is an incentive to campaign for change at the local elections next year.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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