The recent actions of Bridgwater and West Somerset MP, Ian Liddell Grainger, has left Mayor of Bridgwater, Cllr Diogo Rodrigues, somewhat flabbergasted and disappointed. As the town’s ‘first citizen’ the Mayor now feels he needs to ‘take a stand’ against the ‘unfriendly and narrow actions’ of our MP.
Diogo writes “As the Mayor of our wonderful town I have had the pleasure of meeting so many people, organisations and volunteers who keep our communities going strong, who work tirelessly and passionately to make Bridgwater a better place in which to live and visit. I have collaborated with many of these groups and individuals to promote the work they do, and ultimately to promote our diverse town. And I think it’s fair to say that it has worked. We have truly put Bridgwater firmly on the map. From Bridgwater to Bristol and beyond, people are hearing and talking about our town, our communities, our volunteers and all that we have to offer. Our sense of community awareness, community engagement and the pride in our town is on the rise.
Now, all our work over the last few months will not go in vain.
Our MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, has in recent days decided to give an extraordinary amount of care and attention to neighbouring Taunton, which is not in his constituency, rather than the Town he represents. I question Ian Liddell-Grainger’s motives. My best guess is that he is game playing here perhaps to raise his profile in preparation for a general election. Let this not be a distraction on the work everyone else has done to promote our town.
His war of words risks taking Bridgwater’s growing position in our County back a few steps. The sterling work that our townspeople have done over the last few months to promote Bridgwater risks having been done in vain. Ian Liddell-Grainger’s tirade of words has shown a degree of ignorance, a lack of care for his constituency, and is a shot in the foot to all of us who have worked so passionately to raise Bridgwater’s stance in our County.
It is true that the crime rate per resident of Bridgwater is slightly higher than the same figure for Taunton. It is true that our public transport system is inefficient and as a result people and communities are being neglected, and it is true that we are facing a growing housing crisis where people are being priced out of our own town. Perhaps it would be more beneficial for our MP to focus on these very issues which are affecting our everyday lives in Bridgwater, rather than continue this self-centred, irrational and senseless war of words which does nothing to promote our town.
Bridgwater is on the up. We, councillors, community organisations, volunteers, business owners, the entire community, are doing all we can to make Bridgwater a better place. So please, play your part and don’t allow for the work we are doing to have been done in vain.”