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O Rose, thou art sick...

Carmina Fothergill

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I've just received the latest issue of `Poulton South Labour Rose.'


It seems Woolston Park is in a terrible state, according to the writer of the leaflet.


However, I've just walked through Woolston Park with the dog, as I often do, and it bears no real resemblance to the place described in the Labour leaflet.


"The grass isn't cut regularly, nettles and brambles are present across the Park, pathways are in a poor state, and bushes and trees haven't been cut back for years!" is what the leaflet says (complete with exclamation mark.)


In fact the grass is cut, perhaps a little too regularly. You can sometimes see where the tracks of the cutting vehicle have turned over the soil, and it's as well that the ground is left to recover.


In any case, why shouldn't grass be allowed to grow a little more than the length of toothbrush bristles? This is a park, for goodness sake, not a Royal lawn. The grass is easily short enough to be manageable. I walked across it a few times to avoid people with other dogs. It was a little bit wet, but all that did was slightly dampen my shoes. It wasn't exactly like wading through elephant grass.


Nettles and brambles: yes, there are a few here and there, but again, so what? They aren't rampant, they aren't choking other plants, and they look fine unless you have some kind of problem with their existence. My dog likes to live dangerously and cock his leg up on the nettles. They do him no harm and his puppy-making tackle is intact and sting-free. I simply walk past them and let them be. There's no problem.


Regarding the bushes and trees: a little bit of cutting back here and there would make for good maintenance, but as with the grass there's a problem if they're made to stand in neat little rows, shorn and regimented. They're plantlife, not lampposts.


The plants in the stream could be cut back, but not yet as they're quite beautiful at this time of year. Not only that, any work would have to be restrained and careful, especially as the heron who lives there year by year clearly shouldn't be disturbed.


The claim that the pathways are in a poor state is simply a lie. I walked along the whole length of the park today from Manchester Road to the far end where the back of Monks used to be, and walked along both sides of the park. The pathways are completely intact and walkable. They're smooth and perfectly functional.


Basically this Labour leaflet is nonsense - at best exaggeration and at worst lies.


It refers to complaints from "many local residents," but I do have to say I've heard this falsely claimed by Warrington Labour before and I remain unconvinced. In any case, a lot of people live locally, and "many" people could easily complain while a vasy majority remain silent. And of course you would remain silent, because you'd hardly contact your councillor to say everything's fine and nothing much needs to be done, and what little needs to be done is being done.


I think there are two things at work here:


1) Labour want something to complain about, something to criticise the Lib Dems with, and you can always find a few people who object to the existence of the occasional clmp of nettles;


2) The whole Labour party has a massive problem with ego control fantasies. They want to get into everything, however personal and none-of-their-business and impose their rigid ideas of how things should behave according to their will. Woolston Park is a classic example. Basically if you think it's panic time if small clumps of nettles are permitted to grow, and grass is longer than the bristles of a toothbrush, then it's time to get psychoanalysed.


(Incidentally if anyone thinks they can work out my politics from this, it's worth adding that I think the Lib Dems are just as pathetic as Labour. The Tories, on the other hand, can't be bothered to let us know if they're pathetic or not - which is of course rather pathetic of them.)


I'd advise anyone to have a pleasant walk through Woolston Park. Take a dog - he/she will love it. There are well-maintained pathways, there are cool overhanging trees giving welcome shade on a warm day, there are a couple of well-maintained bridges across the water.... The wooden platform at the duck pond is a little sunken, but the ducks seem to love it and it is after all their pond. Relax and live and let live.

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