Another day, another Tory council planning to charge kids to play

Shamik Das reports on Tory-run Bexley council's plans to charge kids to use a playground - following on from Tory Wandsworth's plans to do the same last month.

Just last month, Tory-run Wandsworth announced plans to charge kids £2.50 to use a playground. Now, Tory Bexley is planning to do the same, charging kids to play, pricing the poor out of the playground. They plan to charge children at least £1 to use Belvedere Splash Park – a plan not subject to any public consultation, a plan which the council admits will disproportionately hit those on lower incomes.

And, just like Wandsworth – whose leader was recently appointed Boris Johnson’s chief of staff – Bexley also has close links to the Mayor. In 2008 he appointed council leader Ian Clement to be his deputy mayor and in February he appointed current Tory council leader, Teresa O’Neill, as his outer London adviser.

Labour’s candidate for 2012 Ken Livingstone said of the plans:

“A disturbing theme is emerging across London. Every time a London Tory council leader decides to charge kids to play, Boris Johnson gives them a senior role in his administration.

“Hundreds of thousands of families in London are being squeezed with higher fares and cuts. I share the growing concerns about the direction of Boris Johnson’s administration with so many of his key advisers behind these ‘pay to play’ proposals.”

As we’ve said before on this blog, the divide between the sporting opportunities granted the privileged and those offered the poor are growing, from playgrounds and playing fields to the Olympics and Test cricket, background is having an ever greater say in outcomes – something the likes of Boris, David Cameron and George Osborne are not only unable to understand, but are actually making worse.

Not all kids go to schools that can boast 12 squash courts, 20 tennis courts, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, four cricket fields, a nine-hole golf course, rowing on the lake that will host the 2012 Olympics, perfectly mown outfields…

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53 Responses to “Another day, another Tory council planning to charge kids to play”

  1. John Jackson


    Yet again you are short on fact instead seemingly content to rely largely upon subjective opinion; however, I will once more attempt to address the points that you raise in your post (number 33).

    1. I certainly would never ‘bank’ (is that intended to be a pun ?) my argument solely upon the edicts of the OECD. However, that having been said, allow me to refresh your memory as to exactly what was said by Pier Carlo Padoan, the chief economist of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development:
    “We see merit in slowing the pace of fiscal consolidation if there is not so good news on the growth front” and, ““We have seen that (growth numbers) are a bit weaker than expected. Should that continue to be the case, there is scope for slowing the pace.”
    And that sir, is totally spin-free and ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ shortly after the OECD had cut its UK growth forecast for the second time this year.

    2. With regard to your assumption regarding ‘left-leaning economists’, I would point out that the group of economic experts to which you refer included two former Whitehall advisers and two signatories of last year’s high-profile letter backing the Tories’ cuts, who have now said that they have ‘profound concerns about the direction of Treasury policy’.

    With reference to your statement that, (***)”I don’t hold much store by any economists and, “I think they claim to understand rather more than they do”, I shall file this away for future reference under the heading of ‘Sweeping Generalisation’ alongside your earlier pronouncements regarding KFC and cigarette smokers (post number 2).
    – One shudders when imagining the absolute contempt and disdain you might possibly reserve for a nicotine addicted economist unfortunate enough to have a predilection for fried chicken !!

    With respect, when it comes to making decisions regarding the competency of those who would present me with economic information and the validity of such, I trust that you will forgive me CHOOSING to grant greater credence to a Nobel Prize winning economist than to the Tory propaganda machine.

    3. ‘EXCESSIVE – adjective: more than is necessary, normal or desirable’ (Oxford English Dictionary).

    Patently, in light of the latest economic figures, evidence and opinion my use of the phrase ‘excessive cuts’ is entirely valid and justified. Furthermore, it is fallacious and/or disingenuous on your part to attempt to deny these ‘excessive cuts’ by alluding to ‘increasing government spending’ (genuine or otherwise) without mentioning that an increase in government spending – and therefore an increase in the deficit – is the inevitable consequence of the IDEOLOGICAL CHOICE that has been taken by the Tory led government to inflict these ‘excessive cuts’ upon our public services, our society and our Nation.

    4. I am not in the least concerned by your use of a pseudonym, to each his own. The ‘REAL NAME’ reference in my previous post was intended as a light-hearted cryptic joke (ie: my posts feature a recognisable name ergo they will be easily ‘identified’ as providing the most convincing argument – geddit ?!)

    5. To say that the “IMF have come out supporting Government deficit reduction policy”, is to completely gloss over the concerns raised by that organisation which has – YET AGAIN – revised down the growth forecast for 2011. (Damned by faint praise, indeed !!)

    And anyway, surely you are not placing your faith in the pronouncements of the IMF ? After all, are you not the very man who said previously in the same post, (***)”I don’t hold much store by ANY economists and, “I think they claim to understand rather more than they do” !?!?

    Rather reminds me of that old saying: ’Give them enough rope… ‘

    In closing, I should like to return briefly to the subject of ‘pseudonyms’. In an earlier post (number 21) I made light-hearted reference to ‘Tory propagandists regularly using the comments facility in an attempt to disseminate misinformation’. I closed that post by, half-jokingly, proffering the following information:

    ‘So, for the benefit of those who may be finding it a little difficult to identify these interlopers, here is another useful little pointer: the majority of these Tory self-aggrandising pseudo-intellectuals perceive themselves to be entirely imperceptible as a consequence of their ingenious ploy (which was gleaned directly from the pages of, ‘The Wizard Prang Book Of How To Be A Spy For Boys !’) – they use a ‘pseudonym’ – Genius !!’

    Rather reminds me of another couple of old sayings: ‘If the shoe fits… ‘ and, ‘There’s many a true word spoken in jest !!’

  2. Selohesra

    Well if you are going to resort to quoting your own posts to back up your argument then I give up – you can have the last word. Enjoy

  3. Suburbia will be the key battleground in the London and the General Elections | Left Foot Forward

    […] Another day, another Tory council planning to charge kids to play – Shamik Das, June 1st […]

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