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.
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.
On behalf of Save Middle Schools
Don’t forget to contact your councillors to let them know your views