[Editor’s note: The opinions expressed below are entirely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official viewpoint of this paper]
Let us begin in 2014, at the T-junction of High Street with Market Road. An elderly resident ‘trips over’ (more accurately ‘falls into’) one of the several potholes, breaks his hip and spends many weeks in hospital.
Instead of apologising for the appalling state of road and pavement surfaces inside the town, East Sussex County Council goes to great length to prove that the said pothole is one, two or three millimetres too shallow to allow for compensation or damages to be paid or repairs to be made (they follow the same procedure if you damage your wheels, tyres or suspension on their country roads – the County Council in Lewes using a law firm from Milton Keynes and possibly spending more money establishing denial than the requested payment of damage).
Three years later those T-junction pot holes, the town’s street and pavement surfaces are still exactly as they were, unrepaired, dangerous, unsightly, an insult and injury to residents and visitors alike.
You will not find the same state of neglect in Lewes or for that matter in Bexhill. Our one-party local government looks after its own, and Rye is considered irrelevant to the balance of power. Rye is predictable and will willy-nilly vote for that existing ruling party and never cause trouble. But then, how can its residents cause trouble when their comatose Town Council has abolished the very committee designed to be a scrutiny of local Public Services?
Next month Cllr Keith Glazier, Chief of all chiefs at the ESCC, is asking us to vote him back into power and continue the existing neglect. As, at the following local election in 2019, the invisible and ineffectual Rother District Councillors (of the identical one-party-government) will do the same. I’m quite sure, as in May this year, Rye will obey the call and prevent the possibility of improvement or change. And then stamp their feet and mutter about the state of the town’s parking, buildings, streets – even the fate of our schools (though to be fair neither local council can be blamed for the massive austerity cuts in education, health or social services: in that regard you’ll have to take care for whom you vote in the General Election).
It is our turn, briefly at the ballot-box, to govern. It is our opportunity to choose someone less embedded in a complacent hegemony and the general atrophy of our once vibrant infrastructure – whether local or national.
It is our duty to elect someone who has the knowledge, conviction and experience to improve this world of private wealth and public squalor, to decrease despair and poverty, while protecting for everyone essential services and our environment.