Well, that's done it now for me.
I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and I like to play fair in politics. Those who know me well, know that I care about the community and put them first above any political fights with the opposition.
I work collaboratively and play nicely with Labour councillors especially those that I think have the same mindset as me, but it is becoming more and more difficult to stay out of any virtual spats when I see literature from Ipswich Labour taking the praise for things we Ipswich Tories either did or instigated when we were in administration.
I like to show fellow councillors of all persuasions that they can trust me to work collaboratively with them and some have returned that respect to me and still do.
And so we come to the Area Committees which took over from Area Forums. Area forums were non political and were meetings where the community could come together to talk to their councillors, police and other public servants. We sat with them, not opposite them and joined in without making any political statements.Now however, we are lined up like some sort of political wall with issues that are important but delivered in a stuffy, informal gathering which has seen numbers drop at most areas of the town.
At the last meeting (which is chaired by a labour councillor for Suffolk County Council and Gipping Ward) we discussed the bridge that runs over Stoke Park Road near the entrance of Bourne Park and needs demolishing. We agreed that we would consult all the residents and ask them if they preferred this to doing a repair job on a regular basis. I agreed that this was a must.
I would like to say here that the chair, Cllr Peter Gardiner, is an excellent chairman and very fair in all the proceedings including allowing me plenty or opportunity to speak and have my say. I have absolutely no issue with this part of the process.
But hey, lo and behold a leaflet goes out with it's usual grainy appearance (in order for them to look as if funds are low in their campaign pot) along the lines of 'Labour want to know what you think'.
So, now I know. Any consultations are not going to go out under the name of Ipswich Borough Council, nor is it going to go out under SW Area Committee.
No, they are going to use the committee meetings to ensure their propaganda is stepped up over the coming months in time for County elections and Cllr Ellesmere's political dreams of becoming Ipswich's MP. (He has loooooong way to go to match up to the fantastic Ben Gummer who does put Ipswich first and has achieved great things already).
I did guess they would use these meetings in such a way, as did all my colleagues, but I wanted to see it for myself before I decided that this was the case.
So there you have it. The Area Committees took over area forums, not because it would be a better platform for residents to voice their concerns or spend some money locally, but to bump up the chances of winning more votes in the area.
They are trying to ignore me as their Tory colleague but anyone who knows me will also confirm that I never allow myself to be ignored, ever.
My hopes for the success of the Area committees has now changed for ever.