The right-leaning grain of Sir Peter Soulsby’s Labour Council is particularly galling to Leicester’s residents. In golfing parlance Soulsby is a hacker, a man more prone to whiffs than serious action. To say his work is under par is a serious understatement.
Indeed, the closest Soulsby will ever get to a hole-in-one will be when he putts another gaping hole in Leicester’s flagging community services. Indeed, alongside the cuts being made to our cities libraries, and the pulling of funds for vital community hubs like Highfields Community Centre, publicly owned sporting facilities are being shot to pieces as well. Apparently nothing is out of bounds for Soulsby.
With tens of millions of pounds worth of cuts in mind, last year Soulsby “consulted” with the public about his planned “changes” to the management of Leicester’s Council-owned golf courses.
Bouncing back in anger, thousands voiced their opposition to Soulsby’s cynical consultation, with “The vast majority of them [saying] the council should keep subsidising both courses.”
Nevertheless, at the end of October the Council has committed to closing Western Parks golf course (September 8, Leicester Mercury).
But as the chair of the National Association of Public Golf Courses stated in a first-person article last year, “with proper management and funding, [municipal golf courses] can and will produce a profit for the community, not only in monetary terms but also giving the population a place to enjoy sport” (March 19, 2014, Mercury).
In contrast to Soulsby’s chain of miserable bogey’s, this writer grasped the crux of the issue, demanding: “We must not allow councils to close” our golf courses.
But despite Labour being the official opposition to the Tories, Soulsby and his willing caddy councillors (all 52 of them) seem more content to retire at the nineteenth hole than fight the inane arguments of the Tory toffs.
But with a new arrival on Labour’s fairway in the form of Jeremy Corbyn, comes support for the ideas that Labour Council’s should reject austerity wholesale, and hence the accompanying public service cuts (none of which need to be made).
In Corbyn, Labour will have a leader whose ambitions match those of Nick Faldo’s golfing prowess. This, however, probably won’t stop duffer Soulsby from continuing to kick around in the sand.
But inspired by Corbyn’s socialist vista, the people of Leicester will hopefully soon be uniting to demand that our politicians play to win… our lives, our golf courses, and our city no less, depend upon it.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on 8th September.