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Sunday 29 November 2009

Pull The Other One

At last week’s meeting marking the launch of the CREAM contribution to the debate on the future of Crewe and its railway station (for anyone interested, my photos are at lower left and second from top right), I heard mention of a dissenting voice from the business community. Roy Cartlidge made reference to this, but at the time I was more concerned with keeping warm.

The attempt to pour cold water on the efforts of CREAM was made by John Dunning, who is the chief executive of South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce. He has backed the “master planning process” that Cheshire East Council is progressing, which should present no problem to anyone, but has described CREAM as a “break-away group”.

As CREAM came into existence solely to register dissent to the crackpot proposals of Network Rail (NR), it has not “broken away” from anyone or anything. Perhaps Dunning is trying to infer that CREAM is some kind of rogue or subversive body. Here, too, he would be plain flat wrong to make such a suggestion: the group’s meetings and processes are open to anyone.

What CREAM has done is to focus the dissatisfaction of many in the community with the ideas of NR and the lack of backbone shown by organisations that, one might have thought, are there to stand up for them. If Dunning and those of similar attitude cannot, or will not, address the concerns of the community, he and they should not idly dismiss those who will.

Moreover, he would do well to choose his words with greater care, having gone on the record as saying “ ... we will not be going to this meeting, as we are keeping out of politics”. Given the nature of how organisations work and interact with one another, it will be interesting to see how Dunning manages to lobby with any success for his membership, while maintaining this unequivocally principled position.

Or, perhaps, not. See title of post.

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