When I first read The Progressives statement on their decision to with draw from the Alliance I must admit I was a little taken aback at the references to in fighting and such like. People I know within the group had never made any mention of problems, and word on the “Borough grapevine” had produced no such indications (unlike the power struggle going on within the Labour Party, but more of that later). A quick email to Jane Branley, Alliance Campaign Organiser, produced the following reply.
I will be taking up the invitation to attend the New Crown meeting, and will give a warts and all report some time on Thursday.
The White House,
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
The article on the front page of the Gazette on Monday evening was to me an astonishing revelation. Despite the fact I have been a member of the Alliance for over three years it came as a complete surprise that it was in disarray ‘amid infighting and personality clashes’. Infighting with whom, personality clashes with whom? We hold monthly meetings to discuss the campaign and as yet I have never experienced any fighting or clashes. All of our actions are open for discussion and we always go with the consensus. We don’t vote we just work out what we want to do. Cllr Capstick has been in attendance at most of these meetings and if at any time he had been concerned about our decisions he could easily have made his feelings known. He, or his colleagues when he was on holiday, was aware of every decision the Alliance took. Any one could at any time have challenged this; if they had a consensus of opinion would have been arrived at.
The Alliance has always been a loose working arrangement between independently minded people who wanted to work together to oppose the actions of the ruling Labour group. Any one can join and it was the Independents who initiated the early meetings between all the opposition parties. Unfortunately only the Progressives and Independents worked together. It is an opposition and that means opposing. That also means getting on your feet and making your views known. I do not think that the residents of this borough expect the opposition members they elected to sit on their hands and say nowt! Or even worse, support the Labour Group!
I am confident that the way forward in this borough is with the Independent movement and I will continue to do what I have been doing for the last four years. I am out every week in my ward knocking on doors of local residents seeking their views. I have also worked with colleagues throughout the borough doing exactly the same. I do not have time for ‘personality clashes and differences of opinion’. I invite anyone who wants to see political change in this borough to join us at our monthly campaign meetings at 7pm on the second Wednesday of every month at the New Crown Hotel in South Shields . People can then see how we really operate. Any one looking for in fighting or personality clashes will be disappointed!
Alliance Campaign Organiser