Anne-Marie Trevelyan is the Tory candidate who will challenge Lib Dem MP for Berwick upon Tweed, Sir Alan Beith, at the general election. Lib Dems form the administration on Northumberland County Council though they do not have a majority of seats on the authority. The introduction of personal budgets in social services in Northumberland (a government requirement) has forced the County to close a number of under used day care centres in the county, one of which is at Amble. The closures will actually lead to improvements for users as more people will be able to choose and buy in their own service, through their personal budget, to suit their needs. That is the background. Here's the Tory story.
Anne-Marie has decided to do a bit of political cross dressing. In the world of local politics she has clad herself in the clothes of a blue rinse socialist, fighting to keep open a publicly provided facility. Whilst doing her drag act, she has battled against the provision of services by private and voluntary sector providers.
The problem for her is that her Tory councillors on Northumberland have blown her campaign to smithereens. Firstly, the social services changes were flagged up in the budget in March which the Tories voted for. Okay, the Tories then performed a minor uturn by backing a Labour amendment a couple of months ago to keep the centres open for 6 weeks whilst the Council was instructed to look for someone who would take over the centres. Since this had already been investigated, the whole exercise was a meaningless waste of time - however, Tory and Labour jumped into bed together to have a good time at the Lib Dem council's expense by voting through the unnecessary delay. 6 weeks later and the closure plans can back to council and despite (or was it because of?) Anne-Marie's campaign, the Tories voted for the closure. The Tory double uturn ensured the policy of personal budgets, and the closure of underused centres, will go ahead.
Undermined-Anne-Marie, wilting under the weight of her new found socialist baggage, seems however to have completely forgotten that her Tory chums have backed the closure she said should not go ahead. Just a couple of days ago she was ranting in the press about her demands that Amble Day Care Centre should remain open.
So if her own party can't be bothered to listen to her, why should the rest of us?