On Tuesday the ruling Tory party at Aylesbury Vale District Council chooses its new leader.
Hats in the ring include Michael Edmonds (Long Crendon) Phil Yerby (Aston Clinton) and insiders tell me, favourite for the big job, Neil Blake (Great Brickhill).
Not being a part of the political set and in need of keeping a level head when it comes to local politics, I have kept my interest in the leadership battle at arm’s length.
However, something that was brought to my attention last week made me sit up and take notice.
A document ended up on my desk by contender Mr Blake in which he outlines, should he become leader of AVDC, his big plans for the future.
Nothing sinister there and the essence of his words outline his success as cabinet member for resources during the past four years. All very worthy indeed and to be applauded.
Then he talks about his plan to develop a much stronger political agenda concerned over ‘derogatory’ comments in the press which I guess includes the Bucks Herald.
Mr Blake goes on to say he will set up a sub group that can be pro-active in putting out information about the great achievements made by the administration.
He expresses concern that press releases don’t have the right political slant and, as he digs the hole deeper, claims he will look to have a regular column in the Bucks Herald and I quote: ‘...so our group’s thoughts are published the way we want them to be published and not cut about by editors, often putting the wrong emphasis on a story’.
Whilst I am sure Mr Blake is shooting from the hip to impress colleagues before they vote, for me he has stepped into an area I must challenge.
Firstly the political agenda of local councils which, whilst a fact of life, is something that must be kept in check. Vast sums of taxpayers’ money go into AVDC and the decisions should be made on what is the right thing to do for the community, with no hidden political agenda. Then there is the question of transparency, democracy and accountability of all councils.
No-one should forget the media (Bucks Herald included) is there as a champion for the people and part of an age-old process to question and challenge the ‘all powerful’ in society.
So Mr Blake, whilst I wish you all the best in your leadership challenge and may the best man win, please try to choose your words more wisely. Working together we can make Aylesbury Vale an even better place to live.