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Message for the People, 2012

aka, Rocke's manifesto:

(Blaenau Gwent CBC one - 'Town' Council' to follow)

A different type of leaflet, from a different type of Councillor

Hello, it’s typical me, Dave Rocke – no gloss and all my own work!
No photo again, because looking the part doesn’t make a good Councillor. An effective representative of the people has to talk and act it, and you need to hear what I have to say, not be charmed by my smiling face, so here goes!    
There were a lot of changes four years ago and a lot of promises. Lots of things have happened since then, and now you can give your view on them.
There are two parts to this as I see it:
1) The individual, the councillors who served you for the last 4 years; and
2) The Council itself, the job those councillors did as a whole.
So, let’s start with me then !
I said in my ‘thank you note’ after the elections that I’d be a different type of councillor and no-one can deny that I have most certainly been that !
My definition of a councillor is “a captain of their community”, someone  who has the task of leading by example, supporting and motivating people, taking the knocks and generally being there with the public, not sitting on a nice warm bench, away from the action.
That’s my philosophy and I’ve striven hard to stick to it.
  *  I’ve supported many individuals, groups and organisations;
  *  I’ve carried on frequenting the same places, often ‘facing the music’,
      discussing things and informing people. I’ve been accessible. No
      keeping away from it all for me (even when Ruth’s been with me).
I’ve been a 24/7 councillor. Any time of day, every day, for four years.
I’ve got stuck in, averaging well over 100 meetings per year. Council, committees, PACT, working groups, Tai Calon etc., and of course our  community groups such as Tenants & Residents, Neighbourhood Watch, and CLEAN among others. Admittedly at times I’ve had too much on, but I’d rather be noticed for some absences than renowned for them.      
I’ve verbally got stuck in as well because you cannot fight for everything you believe in by being a diplomat. Sometimes you have to be a soldier.

I’ve lived up to what I said I’d do and I thank everyone, especially the many community groups, for helping me. I’d also like to thank those who’ve asked me to stand again, for showing me that I did it right in their eyes, and for ‘St Ruth’ and her continuing support !  

Right, enough about me (for now), what about ‘The Council’ ?
Right after the elections there were two sorts of Councillor in power – the older established ones, and a lot of new blood like myself.  
The Council needs to come into the modern age, and that means modern thinking, and I would have hoped that after 2 or 3 years the new blood would have flourished into the ‘new generation’ of councillor and would start to have a positive effect on things. Sadly the opportunity was missed, mainly because of the political nonsense that the ‘old guard’ seem to think representation of the people is all about.
Don’t get me wrong – as I once wrote, a mixture of old heads and young hearts is vital. The problem is that there has been too much caution, even reluctance, and that has made progress slower than it should be.  
• Councillors should be information channels, not just conveying
  complaints if you’re unlucky to have one.
• Councillors should be controlling things in a way the people want.
  There’s still too much ‘professional advice’ that stops changes.
• Councillors should be using whatever business and work skills and
  knowledge they have to influence the council to perform better.
There’s been some big changes – street lighting, fortnightly collections, huge developments in the Town Centre. A pain at the time but once things settle down not so bad after all. (Better implementation might have helped)    
There’s been outright good points:
• A single point to call for all council services, 311556
• Removal of the second Civic Car, saving £45,000/yr, and less ‘jollies’.
• Freezing of Councillors Allowances (pay). No increase since 2008.
I can honestly say that there has been an improvement behind the scenes. Absences have been managed to such an extent that there’s now about 50 more staff in work every day than in 2008. The Council is better prepared to face the next few years, the final ones affected by the recession.
Unfortunately, in the current financial climate things are all about limiting  the damage rather than making great improvements to the services the council provides and the way it provides them.

WARNING !  Politics page !
Yes, sorry – but you have been warned !
I’ve never regarded myself as a politician (and quite a lot of you might possibly think I’m not a diplomat). You might have noticed in the papers or ‘online’. I tell it as it is!
You’ve seen the Press, you’ve seen the letters. Mine are balanced (I can tell you, there’s almost always fault on both sides). That’s why I appear to have been at odds with all of them at some time or other!
You’ll probably have heard about splits in ‘the Independents’ and the like. Someone recently asked if I’m standing as ‘an Independent or an independent Independent’, such is the public perception. This time there won’t be anything against my name on the Ballot Paper, just to reassure you that I don’t belong to ANY group. I work with others, not for them.    
You can rest assured that the only ones I work for are you, the public, because that’s why you elected me, not to be a closet ‘party/group man’.  
I’ve seen every councillor in action, The Party’s members in their role as ‘representative of the people’, backing its Leader Cllr Hedley McCarthy instead of voting for common sense on behalf of our citizens. Will Labour candidates do that if elected? Ask them if they come knocking.
A vote for some Labour candidates will be a vote for ‘back to the future’ – or depressingly ‘back to NO future’.It’s been reported that Labour has decided that Councillors must give a proportion of their pay (that your  Council Tax helps pay for) to The Party. Ask them if they come knocking.
Ask any candidate if they are or will become part of a group or clique.
Ask how much work candidates would do for the £13,000 pa they’ll get. In line with my promise to you 4 years ago, I have donated what I deem ‘profit’ from my ‘wages’ to Playgroups, Arts, Sport, Organisations and individuals. I give some back, instead of taking, making and raking it in.
Give us candidates a good going over, look at us on our individual merit.  You do not have to vote for 3 councillors, so I urge you to vote only for those of us who pass your test.
It’s your choice, not only of who to vote for but how many.

The Epilogue !
Firstly, thanks for reading this. Election leaflets aren’t the best of reads !
What I hope has come over is the passion with which I’ve represented you and which I’ll continue to do if you want me to. Trust and Loyalty are two of the most important things in life. You trusted me and I’ve strived to repay it with loyalty to you and the role, not blind obedience to a group or leader.
You don’t have to take me on trust this time. You can decide for yourself if I have served you well and this is the way you want to be represented. I said I’d work with anyone in the best interests of you, and I have, especially with Delwyn Davies in the Ward, fellow Independents in Council and colleagues of all sides in working groups and outside bodies.
That’s how well I’ve worked for you, properly representing you.  
This time I’m giving you the chance to send a message to the new council and councillors, telling them how you want to be represented and governed. If you like the way I’ve gone about representing Cwmtillery, its people and organisations then cast a vote for me and send that message, that you want councillors who are approachable, who are no-nonsense, and most importantly available here, there and everywhere to take on your issues, act for you and who will explain things and provide information.
You see, I’m still a different type of councillor, and hopefully I’ve proved to you that I’m a councillor who makes a difference:
Dave Rocke - powered by passion, driven by you, the people.
Most certainly not promoted by a party and fuelled by ambition.

Finally, please vote. Even if you think none of us are worth it just return a blank ballot paper. The sacrifices made and hardships endured by previous generations and Our Lads and Lasses so that we still have a democracy deserves to be acknowledged. Thank you.

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