INDEX December 4, 1987

THE image given of councillors in two clandestinepublications this week of being Biro top suckers,half-sleepy and sweet chewers is not favourable.But it is accurate.

It is nowhere near as bad, mind you, as could befound in the House of Commons.

There, as in Waltham Forest, you will also findthose who will vote with their political leaderswithout really knowing what they are voting for.

Public relations - and this has been racechairman Councillor Matharoo's biggest error inthe current controversy over community relations- does not come top of the list of priorities whendecision-making time comes, although this is whatyou would think is an essential for politicians.

Take the contentious issue of Drysdale Avenue,Chingford, where the council has insisted onpursuing its own ideas against considerable publicopposition. Would the ruling Labour group havebeen so rigid if the scheme was in their heartland ofsupport - Walthamstow and Leyton?

New businessmen in the borough are beinginvited to a meeting on the council's proposedbudget for next year. Pages and pages of wordshave been sent to them, explaining the council'sfinancial position.

It's not that the council is trying to offer an"olive branch" to firms for its 62.2 per cent raterise. The authority, by law, has to have these"mock" consultation exercises.

"Mock"? Well, it is extremely doubtful thateven if every business in Waltham Forest hadattended last year's consultation meetings, therewould have been any different rates rise decision.

Hardly good public relations.

Despite this major modern-day fault, it has to besaid that the majority of councillors of all politicalpersuasions do what they think is right at the time.It is a time-consuming job, which can easily harmfamily relations.

So we cannot support the unnamed publishers ofthe two clandestine publications in their cheap,schoolboy humour.

Let our councillors continue to be Biro topsuckers and sweet chewers. But, please, will thoseconcerned WAKE-UP long enough to know whatthey are deciding on.

Waltham Forest Guardian December 4, 1987.