One thing that is increasingly apparent is that the Tories believe that they are a shoe-in at the next local elections. That is if their arrogant response to the shock news that snow fell in winter is anything to go by.
The official Tory line is that the council were magnificent and beyond reproach. I agree that the efforts by many staff was beyond the call of duty, but the whole farrago was reminiscent of a 1970s public information film where a water leak was dealt with by a family diving for the buckets, locating the stop cock and repairing the leak in the loft... whilst the narrator tells the smug nuclear family: "What a pity you let it happen in the first place".
The Tories revealed their hand when they went into overdrive rubbishing Lib Dem attempts to help residents, instead preferring to brown nose their way through the crisis with an orgy of back slapping and congratulations. What's odd is that we simply reacted to residents calling and emailing us for help because for some reason that's what we think councillors are elected to do. The Tories obviously view being elected merely as a chance to put on fancy dress and expect residents to know their place.
The people who run Reading and have run Reading for most of the last 23 years have not been the politicians but the council officers. There has been very little in the way of real politics, simply rubber stamping of budgets and policy decisions.
The Tories obviously plan to continue with the "Council knows best" approach that has characterised the way the council has approached everything from recycling to traffic management. Their claim that they are “ready for power” is a mere cipher for "don't expect anything different". In fact a very simple look at the voting record at full council meetings reveals that the Tories and Labour vote with each other against the Lib Dems far more times than their alleged Lib-Lab pact. It is more often than not a Labour-Tory consensus that prevails, with both parties hiding behind the fact the council meetings are never reported properly in either of the town's 'newspapers'.
One easy example is the last budget where we asked for speed guns to allow policing of blackspots. Both the Tories and Labour fought tooth and nail against the Lib Dem budget item, yet when it became policy thanks to us refusing to back down, they were falling over themselves to get pictured with them. Two faced muppets!
There is only one opposition in Reading. And only one party that thinks it is their role to reflect the views of and to stick up for council tax payers.
It sure ain't the Tories or Labour. They are both parties of the establishment and the status quo - now an even more appropriate analogy when Status Quo's unoriginal 12 bar three chord boogie merits an OBE from the establishment. The reality is that is was punk that changed music, not safe establishment pub rock. That's your choice with either the Tories or Labour.
If you want change, vote for the punks on the block. You know you want to... just have the courage to stick two fingers up to the boring old farts of British politics.