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Losing the gardening vote in Herefordshire

Friday's Telegraph as well as other papers have reported on the plight Brian Hubbard who routinely weeds and mows the grass verge outside his home. He also picks up any litter and the grass cuttings left behind. The land is owned by the Conservative controlled Herefordshire Council. The problem is that taking pride he has made the area too tidy and it shows up the other land where only the Council does the gardening. The Council have sent him a letter accusing him of "encroaching" on council land and been told that he must stop tending to the grass and add bafflingly that he must "return the area to its original state within 28 days" or the Council will do as and charge him the expense.

Having a Conservative administration at a Town hall should mean that bureaucracy and unnecessary state interference are banished, that community pride and voluntary endeavour are celebrated and encouraged rather than stamped on, that politically correct jobsworths are invited to seek employment elsewhere.

This doesn't seem to have happened in Herefordshire. Even now the issue has come to light there is a grudging half apology "if Mr Hubbard feels the letter was heavy handed." They offer to meet him no doubt to explain why they are right and he is wrong and should stop mowing the lawn.

Who is running the Council? The councillors or the Council Officers? Why is the officer who sent this absurd letter still drawing a salary at the Council Taxpayers expense? Why hasn't Mr Hubbard been sent a medal? To paraphrase Neil Kinnock: It starts with councillors not wishing to micro manage, deferring to the professionalism of officers, wishing to loyally defend council officers in public. Then it ends in the chaos, the grotesque chaos, of a Conservative Council, a Conservative Council, writing letters to pensioners denouncing them for weeding their gardens.



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