Southport Tory infighting has been highlighted many times and especially since Ainsdale’s Cllr Terry Jones presided over his party’s last humiliating political wipe-out, wherein all Conservative seats in the resort where lost.
More recently, suspended Cllr David Barton’s controversial attempts to bring a private Liverpool security firm into the town to tackle antisocial activity have been criticised by Cllr Jones and his colleagues, cllrs Pat Ball and Harry Bliss.
Jones, who had previously suspended Barton, pending the outcome of an ongoing fraud investigation, stated that he did not approve of Barton’s actions. Consequently, the Southport Tories have distanced themselves from Barton.
Cllr Barton is often seen in the town centre, partaking in what some observers have alleged to be 'self-promoting' photo shoots.
Well before this latest Tory split over the security firm, Jones and Barton had fallen out over police issues.
A local news outlet had reported that a press statement from Cllr David Barton, stated as follows:
“I sincerely hope to see the new Community Police Station and General Enquiry Office established as soon as possible and shall be pursuing this with my Conservative colleagues for you our local residents”
However Cllr Simon Shaw, a Birkdale Libdem, was also reported on the same website saying:
“I could scarcely believe what Cllr David Barton, one of the four Conservative councillors in Southport, said in his statement. Until we are all completely clear what alternative is being proposed, it is unbelievably irresponsible for one of the town’s leading Conservatives to announce that he ‘sincerely hopes’ to see the switch to a Community Police Station ‘as soon as possible’, and that this is what he will be pursuing with his Conservative colleagues.”
Sefton Conservative Leader (at that time), Ainsdale’s Cllr Terry Jones, told the Southport press:
“We intend to fight to keep both stations for the safety of our residents and visitors alike.”
On one hand we had Cllr Barton ‘welcoming’ some indistinct new police facility, whilst Tory leader Cllr Jones was telling residents that he will fight to “keep” the old ones.
This infighting apparently gave an insight into the growing anti-Jones rebellion in the Tory ranks. It also indicated that Cllr Barton was seemingly running his private political bandwagon 'without' any proper adult supervision over this essential issue!
A little later on Jones had shown his blatant disregard for others such as his Tory colleague, Cllr Ted Hartill (now resigned). On one revealing occasion Jones had even informed Ainsdale residents about Hartill's self-promotion.
Apparent naivety over “close friends” may also be a noteworthy point when we see how Hartill’s purportedly close friend, Jones, told others about his “mass publicity” efforts, regarding the Woodvale Woodland Project (WWP) etc. It seems that Jones was not too happy that the "papers were catching on" to Hartill's "self publicity". That‘s not really so surprising as rushing about in ‘Gung-ho’ fashion may seem like a good idea to some, yet in politics it tends to be frowned upon.
Hartill's actions indicated that he'd used the WWP situation to promote his political agenda and had even bragged about it others.
Later on (as we can see above) Jones had let it be known that this self promotion had NOT gone unnoticed.
As residents are now well aware, Ted Hartill failed to even try to retain his seat at the last election and quickly left. Many Southport residents not very surprised about this at all.
Tory Loud Mouth who ran away from the fight - that he started!
Jones is no stranger to controversy and had also previously sought to silence dissent from residents, when he threatened an Ainsdale family with legal action.
When the family responded to his ridiculous threat, Jones swiftly vanished and the issue fizzled out like a wet candle. One of the recipients of the Jones threat stated.
"Terry Jones was given every opportunity to make good on his threat. Instead he ran away from a silly fight that he had started himself. We also received Facebook messages that were not very amicable from one of his badly-informed supporters. In this instance it was a egotistical schoolboy who had latched onto the Jones camp like a leech. This lad had tried (and failed miserably) to defend his political guru's untenable position. Is this the best Cllr Jones can do when faced with a counter challenge by residents?"
The latest Tory split between Cllr Barton and Terry Jones along with his followers, cllrs Ball and Bliss would appear to give us yet more evidence that the Southport Tories are, once again, in a state of deep division. Southport's Tories get hammered at the elections and are virtually invisible throughout the year to residents.
Therefore, the biggest question must surely be: why are we paying these apathetic people in these times of harsh, council-based, cuts?
The whole system stinks and us taxpayers are forking out hard-earned cash to keep it rolling on!
Pat Regan ©
Pat Regan ©