As the world watches Egypt there seems to be a great feeling of unease in the air. I personally feel a big sense of disappointment towards government at both national and local level, just reading the local paper is enough to make your blood boil. It is unfortunate for us Plymouthians that we have a council made up predominantly of people who either don't care or simply lack the common sense to do what is best for our city. Those in power can justify building a multi-million pound Life Centre that will only benefit the minority whilst closing Welby, a lifeline for many. The same individuals who tell us there is no money to repair our crumbling waterfront or to replace the disgrace that is Bretonside bus station are now considering buying the same football stadium they sold just a few years ago.
As a self employed business owner I understand the simple logic of helping a business to survive, you have to put the customer first and you have to spend money on essentials before splashing out on luxury items, perhaps if our council adopted this policy we would all have a better service?
As a council tax payer I would rather see my money spent on buying grit in the winter months, repairing pot-holes, looking after the elderly and vulnerable, street cleansing and crime prevention. I do not want my money spent on council jollies to the World Cup (we were the only council in the country who actually sent the council leader, other councils opted for a cheaper alternatives).
I also do not want to see a penny of my money going towards Plymouth Argyle Football club. The former beautiful game has now been tainted by money and greed, so much so that the government is now launching an investigation into how football clubs are managed. Players wages have rocketed and for me the fun of football has been largely removed, I would rather go and watch a local 5 a side game than pay to go to Home Park.
Of course many of the issues I raise with P.C.C could be sorted through simple consultation processes but it sees P.C.C are incapable of honest consultation, The Sexual Encounter Establishment debate cannot be easily found on-line, when I eventually tracked it down I was told there wasn't enough time to add the issue to the public consultation web page, I was directed to the S.E.E proposals and have twice submitted by concerns by e-mails but have been told my e-mails have not been received which is funny considering my local MP Oliver Colville, who was copied in on the same mail, did receive them. I have re-sent the e-mail to the head of licensing too but have had no response and now I fear by the time my e-mails are 'found' I will have missed the consultation deadline.
Add to my frustration the recent pay rise accepted by vice-chancellor Wendy Purcell, At a time when University students are being asked to pay increased tuition fees Wendy has accepted a pay-rise of 20% taking her annual salary including pensions to a staggering £283,504. I do accept that Wendy has done a great job for Plymouth University but I fear that wages for those at the top are simply too high and there is no longer a fair scale between those at the top and those at the bottom.
We are all more than aware of the ongoing MP's expenses scandal and the issue of bankers continuing to receive outrageous bonuses despite failing their customers but what can we actually do to force change and stop us all being ripped off? Suggestions please?