LibDems lose two in South Somerset
To misquote Oscar, to lose one serving councillor might be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.
The Leveller understands that both of the councillors for Martock, Louise Clarke and Neil Bloomfield have resigned today from the LibDem benches at South Somerset District Council. Both will now serve as Independent councillors.
As the 2019 election produced a LibDem majority of 22 on the council, this will not change the overall balance of power, but it will be a concern to the administration to lose two high profile councillors on the same day.
In his letter of resignation Mr Bloomfield expresses some frustration with the way business is being conducted in South Somerset:
“I moved to the Liberal Democrat group on SSDC under the then leader Ric Pallister. I had always been impressed by what I saw from across the chamber. Since the change of leadership I have quite frankly cringed more often than I care to remember. Whilst not relevant here, this is not a singular view.
Recently I have become more concerned about the manner in which planning, probably the greatest public concern we deal with, moving into a rather shadowy place, secret meetings, warnings not to disclose decisions and attempts made to “convince” cllrs to do the “right” thing. This just adds to the perception that planning is not above board, certainly this is the feeling in my Ward.
Then there are national issues to consider. Liberal means to be respect or understand the views of others different to your own. This does not align with the decision to reverse Article 50 without even going to the membership. In National Democracy Week I find there is a distinct lack of democracy in parts of the Liberal Democrat party. Much applause is heard when an MP or Cllr comes across, more interested perhaps in saving their own skins than taking a principled position. Is it any wonder politicians are ridiculed.
There is a democratic deficit in the party and it’s more evident in SSDC. I fight hard for those I represent but am not supported, in fact in some cases quite the opposite. When officers seem to be in control rather than the administration then something is clearly wrong. Worse than a poor leadership is poor leadership which thinks its in charge and doing a good job. I have little if any confidence in the current leader of SSDC, the transformation program is so far behind, we can barely answer the phones, our local service is getting worse, we are borrowing massive sums to buy property around the country with no prior scrutiny by the elected council. “Putting residents first” is my election mantra, is my firm belief and what I do. It’s easy to say but it’s clearly not a reality for some.
Whilst I do not direct this at all in the party, in general terms I do not feel wanted or even welcome and therefore resign from the Liberal Democrat Party with immediate effect.
Cllr Neil Bloomfield, Martock Ward