It was sad, though predictable, to see Stockwood's two councillors' kneejerk support for rest of the Tory group at Tuesday's council meeting. They were wanting to stop any progress toward running buses as a public service, instead of the (largely monopoly) private business it is now. All the other councillors wanted to look more closely at 'Quality Bus Contracts' as a means of bringing Bristol a quality bus network. Not the Tories, though.
Don't the Stockwood councillors, Jay Jethwa and David Morris, know that Bristol's bus network is not fit for purpose?. Even if they don't travel on buses themselves, they must know someone who does. Presumably they read the papers. Perhaps they had even read the lengthy report that officers had prepared for them, setting out the background and spelling out some of the huge problems that crop up when the biggest bus operator by far shows no interest in co-operating with the local authority or with other companies.
All we got from the Tories in a disappointing debate on the proposals (to examine the business case for Quality Bus Contracts) was a feeble, ill-informed, irrelevant and irrational rant from their leader, Peter Abraham. But if the blue ranks around him were embarrassed, they didn't show it, and they dutifully followed his lead when it came to voting. As always.
In the Neighbourhood Partnership, local councillors have the opportunity to test local opinion on issues like this. They never use it. Nor have they ever used the online resources, (provided at public expense with local voluntary support) like the HandS ON forum, to keep us informed, or to invite our views.
It's self evident that the our councillors believe the mandate they get on the day they're elected is to represent the Tory line, however absurd, in the council for the next four years. And they carry out that duty one hundred per cent.