Friday, 14 March 2008

Why parks need politicians

A winter without snow is always a little depressing, so I have decided to raid my archive and show you a scene from December 2005, the last time we had a few inches of snow covering Lenton Recreation Ground. This picture is a diversion of sorts because I don't have a picture of Lillian. To find out more you need to read on…

Last night saw Nottingham South Constituency Labour Party (CLP) holding a selection meeting to choose a new prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) to replace our sitting MP, Alan Simpson, who is standing down at the next general election. He will be missed and I will be sorry to see him go.

So, I hear you ask, what has this to do with a blog about 'life in and around a small inner-city park in Nottingham'? Well, my answer has to be 'Quite a lot really'. Parks and the communities they serve do not exist or thrive in isolation. They are part of the wider world in so many ways. They need public money to help pay for development, maintenance and staffing, plus admin back-up. The money comes from elected councils and councillors from political parties make those decisions. Higher up the political chain it is governments and MPs who make the laws and allocate the money to run our councils and, yes, our parks. So it is important that our parks and their supporters cultivate and persuade councillors and MPs as to why parks should matter to them if they want our votes. Parks, like museums, swimming pools and leisure centres, can always get their local communities to be vocal whenever there is a threat to them in some way, yet they are still seen as 'soft targets' when councils want to save money.

In Lenton our city councillors are enthusiastic supporters of our park as is our MP. I want Alan's successor to be a park supporter as well. As it happens I know that the person chosen last night by Nottingham South CLP members, Lillian Greenwood, has visited Lenton Recreation Ground and reads this blog from time to time (Hello Lillian). Next time she comes I want her to meet Dave, our groundsperson, and local park supporters and to visit other parks in Dunkirk and Lenton ward as well. We will, of course, have tea and cake in the park pavilion. I will take her picture in the park and place it in a future blog. From today I am an active Lillian supporter and will work for her election to parliament as our next MP.

When the conservatives, greens and liberals select their PPCs for Lenton I will happily show them around the park as well and give them tea and cake. Just imagine a general election where one of the main campaign issues was the state of the nation's parks and open spaces! With this wacky thought I will leave you.

Within a decade millions of workers will be at home juggling their careers with caring for children and older relatives, Britain's leading management institute forecast yesterday.

1 comment:

Lilian Greenwood said...

Hello Robert

I agree with you that parks are an important part of city life. I would be delighted to take up your offer of a vist to the park to meet with you and Dave. I am looking forward to the tea and cake too.

I will be in touch soon.

Best wishes