Closed minds of councillors

LAST Thursday evening councillors gathered at North Hertfordshire District Council s full council meeting and heard Celia Saunders, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, read out a statement about the importance of the dial-a-ride service to her and hundre

LAST Thursday evening councillors gathered at North Hertfordshire District Council's full council meeting and heard Celia Saunders, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, read out a statement about the importance of the dial-a-ride service to her and hundreds like her.

Ms Saunders also handed over a 500-strong petition to councillors asking them to reinstate funding for a second bus and driver to cover North Hertfordshire.

The council had pulled the plug on it last year. After her speech, Ms Saunders was applauded by councillors and was told they would discuss her request.

Ms Saunders joined other members of the public on the back benches while the meeting continued.


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It then came to dial-a-ride.

The Labour and Lib Dem councillors spoke in favour of reinstating the funding, the Conservatives against but to call this a discussion would be a slur on the noun.

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The Conservatives had more-or-less made their minds up before the meeting and even those who had shown some signs of breaking rank to climb over the fence and join the opposition on this one item were whipped back down to earth.

There was plenty of theatre, of course, with plenty of "shame on you" cries from the opposition, but everybody knew what the outcome would be.

Although the vote was close - 16 councillors voted in favour of refunding the second bus, 18 voted against and there were four abstentions - not one councillor from any party voted against their party colleagues.

Councillors might as well have told Ms Saunders earlier in the evening that there wasn't a cat in hell's chance she'd get them to change their minds and she should just go home and tear up the petition.

It is hard to change the mind of councillors whose minds are already made up.

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