Day 88 – Dear Frank

Today we print an open letter to the Mayor of Bedford Borough, Frank Branston. This has been sent by email to him as well and we invite his open reply as a comment on this blog.

Dear Frank,

We are writing to you to express our concern over several matters.

Firstly, we were worried by your refusal to accept in person our 8000-strong petition last Friday. For a man who obviously believes in petitions (re: Western Bypass) to be filmed by BBC Look East running away from a crowd of smiling, happy schoolchildren bearing nothing more than a box with names and addresses on, was both comical and deeply saddening. You might be interested to learn that a further 600 signatures were obtained on Saturday in Bedford Town Centre, with the overwhelming majority of people in favour of retention. They were queueing to talk to us !

Secondly, we are confused by your interpretation of “Full Council vote” on this issue that you gave to us during public questions two weeks ago. A Full Council vote under the mayoral system means that should you choose to stick to your guns, the second time round at Full Council you only need 1/3 of councillors to agree with you. This surely isn’t democratic when you have such massive opposition amongst ordinary taxpayers and voters. We therefore urge you to make an announcement as soon as possible that, should Full Council decide by a simple majority to stay with three-tier, you and your Executive will agree to abide by this.

Thirdly, we are disturbed by your refusal to allow us to present to you in private along with councillors during the next 5 weeks, in order that you can be fully briefed about our side of the story and so that we can establish a dialogue.

Fourthly, we are extremely concerned that the “informal debate” you announced at Full Council two weeks ago will be yet another one-sided and misleading process, but this time conducted behind closed doors. Please publish your proposed format so that we can decide whether to take part.

If you wish to discuss these matters in private before making a public announcement to us then we are available to meet this week.

We do hope you give these matters your urgent attention.


Tony Dadd
On behalf of Save Middle Schools

Don’t forget to contact your councillors to let them know your views


4 Responses to Day 88 – Dear Frank

  1. jonathan parsons says:

    to one and all
    i am both concered parent and fed up voter, haven been asked to not to hog franks blog a was amazed to see across all his blogs only one manged to get a massive responce, and you guessed it all about schools change, and of course when he got a reponse he was happy with has called an end to it, but frank this seem the only way we as your voters can tell you what we think of you now, but to see you on the tv was quite funny, not realy what i want our mayor to be viewed by the rest of the anglia regon, but it made it to some other areas to, and tust me it did not look good at all espesialy as the headline was this is Bedford in the United Kingdoms elected Mayor not wishing to receve a petition, can we also see the data log from the web forms on how many forms were compled each day of the consoltation, well look forward to all comments,

  2. A Governor says:


    Can you elaborate on the final paragraph of your letter; “the “informal debate” you announced at Full Council two weeks ago will be yet another one-sided and misleading process”.

    I thought a commitment had been made for an informal debate between the proponents of two tier and those from the three tier side. On the face of it, this sounds reasonable. What now concerns you?

  3. savemiddleschools says:

    Yes it does sound reasonable. However, the plan apparently is to hold this behind closed doors with a very restricted amount of time for each speaker, and who knows what other restrictions. We have always asked that this debate be held in public with the press invited so that the councillors can see the level of public support for our campaign. The Mayor and now some of his councillors are doing a good job at hiding from real voters, even when none of them have been elected with manifesto promises of change to our schools system. It is a sad day for democracy when we are not even heard by the elected representatives of the people…we may have to think again about how we approach this.


  4. savemiddleschools says:

    There is another problem that we have identified. Inviting two people to present SMS and SoMS views to councillors in a closed meeting means that many many people who are central to both campaigns will be denied the right to be present and see exactly how their councillors react. Having it both closed and informal means that no minutes will be taken, no official record.

    This is beginning to sound like yet more manipulation, pure and simple.

    Or maybe the Mayor is scared of real people with authentic opinions…

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