Big Eye, August 2, 2016

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Do you remember when the Great Incinerator Fiasco spluttered to a halt and Cory Wheelabrator finally toddled off and gleefully withdrew over £30 MILLION in cash from the ATM on Bank Plain? How could we forget?

I also remember the half-hearted manhunt at County Hall to discover the names of the officials who were responsible for the disaster and the unsatisfactory outcome of that inquiry which failed to point the finger at anyone at all.

I’ve asked direct questions of county councillors about the culprits and the only response you get is a sigh and comments like, “its water under the bridge…let bygones be bygones”.

They say they just want us to let it go, and look to our future but whoever was culpable for that abysmal episode appears to have armour-plated underpants, because dodging a £30 million bullet is no mean feat.

But time heals all wounds doesn’t it? Fast forward to July 2016 and witness the latest confusing signals coming out of County Hall regarding the proposed ‘Combined Authority’, a megalithic giant county comprising Norfolk, Suffolk and (allegedly sometimes) Cambridgeshire. The whole business of conducting the feasibility studies, public consultations, leaflets to residents (I’ve not seen one) and business engagement sessions seems to be mired in secrecy and shackled by party political manoeuvring. This whole process is essentially being conducted behind closed doors and although there is talk of consultation and inclusivity for the residents I’m not finding anyone at all in my street or pub who has the foggiest idea what these councillors and business leaders are cooking up in their various meetings. Councillors are so utterly terrified about what we’ll say when we find out we’re being stitched up that they actually defeated a motion in a meeting at Norwich last week which would have made public further details of their proposals. Revelations like this should set alarms ringing across the county. Are we seriously going to allow these people, the same people in many instances, who presided over the cripplingly expensive debacle known as Saddlebowgate, to conduct such momentous changes to our way of governance and daily lives?

It’s utter madness. I’m hoping Henry and Liz are girding up their loins and preparing to crack some political whips before this charade becomes a full-blown pantomime but although Henry might find the time to help us I fear Lizzie’s interest in our rural political contortions could be waning now that she’s got her stilettos under the PM’s top table.

It’s time we ALL began to loudly make our feelings known before these high-handed and secretive undertakings commit us to something which irrevocably damages and ruins Norfolk as an individual self-governing entity. It’s easy to access email addresses. A web search will soon find their contact details and maybe if you ask MPs or councillors 
to tell you exactly what’s going on they’ll tell you. One thing is for certain, the people of Suffolk don’t want to be Norfolkated and I definitely don’t want Suffolkating!