Pauline Pearce, the Hackney Heroine packed the Lyric Theatre in Bridport to the rafters on Friday for a sell-out fundraising event on "What’s wrong with politics?".
A wide ranging audience from Dorchester, Sherborne, Bournemouth and Lyme Regis as well as Bridport attended the Question Time style event which debated: community politics, localism, sustainability and how to increase people power in politics without giving in to right wing populism.
The panel, also comprising international human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith; photographer, documentary-maker and founder of the Home in Bridport project, Robert Golden; and Bridport Councillor and our Parliamentary Candidate Ros Kayes explored what has led to the current apathy and anger with politics and whether it can ever be reversed.
Following close upon the heels of Dorchester’s People First meeting (which challenged West Dorset District Council’s system of cabinet government and its contempt for the public) the meeting, chaired by former Mayor of Bridport Dave Rickard looked at why trust has been lost in career politicians and how ordinary people can rediscover their voices and regain control of how decisions are made.
After listening to the concerns of residents across the town a new Plan has been drawn up to improve traffic flows, increase safety and make Dorchester a more attractive place to visit.
“This may have taken some time but the important thing for the future of Dorchester is that we get this right,” says Dorchester Councillor Andy Canning, who is Chairman of the DTEP Working Group. All of the proposals on this page are funded and work will start on some of them this year! The detailed drawings and plans for the first stage will be available soon.
Now there are 5 million workers who have been automatically enrolled in workplace pensions: this is significant as it represents a halfway point of the policy, which will see around 10 million automatically enrolled by 2018.
Also announced by Steve Webb, minister for pensions, is that from Autumn 2016 there will be a scheme which will introduce a pension pot that can follow workers from job to job - this is particularly useful as the average person has 11 jobs throughout their lifetime.
Councillors at West Dorset District Council responded to the retiring leader Robert Gould's statement that staff were leaving the authority because of an upturn in the private sector rather than as a response to the changes taking place at the authority.
Mr John Grantham, a member of the public, had asked a question about why staff were leaving and how many had taken voluntary redundancies as part of the merger with Weymouth and Portland, which the Councils say has saved 6 million pounds.
In 2012-13 41 staff left, 7.4 percent of the total representing 33 voluntary retirements and 8 redundancies. In 2013 - 14 the figures were 3.5 percent, 25 retirements and 8 redundancies.
But Liberal Democrats question the rationale offered by the council leader. "We know that this has been a period of extreme stress for staff, with many having received changes to their pay grades and in their wages, and we are concerned that the forthcoming merger with North Dorset will heighten the pressure", said Cllr Stella Jones, Lib Dem Group Leader.
A Liberal Democrat motion to support he Action Aid campaign to end tax dodging was passed today at West Dorset District Council with only the Conservative Executive voting against it. Council Leader, Anthony Alford, claimed the motion did not achieve anything that wasn't already being done.
However, Cllr Ros Kayes, our parliamentary candidate, argued that the issue was about taking a stance, naming and shaming tax avoiders and creating a climate in which corporate tax avoidance is seen as something shameful rather than as something to be applauded.
Some recent literature circulating in Bridport has been deliberately misleading about Vearse farm, we would like to tell you the facts.
In 2011 West Dorset District Council held several consultation meetings, none of which were inBridport, and only a few representatives from local organisations, including Bridport Town and Local Parish Councils, were invited. Even before this event, Vearse Farm was firmly fixed within the Plan to provide over 700 housesto satisfy West Dorset’s District quota.
Lib Dem Councillors Ros Kayes, Sarah Williams and Dave Rickard have been campaigning for adequate provision of affordable homes for local people, planned infrastructure including necessary improvements to the A35 and protection for the environment in the AONB.