Tomorrow evening Hastings councillors will meet, as a full council, for the first time since February. One of the first items on their agenda is a motion from Councillor Maya Evans. Tom McCann asks, in the midst of the current crisis, what relevance her issues have for the people of Hastings and St Leonards
What’s the big link between Hastings and nuclear weapons?
I ask this because in the agenda for Hastings Borough Council’s (HBC) meeting due to be held tomorrow – its first full council since February – is a motion put forward by Councillor Maya Evans which proposes among other things that the council ask the government to reverse the 2016 vote by MPs to renew the country’s nuclear weapons programme Trident.
And she begins her motion by delving further back into history with a request that the council mark the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, despite the anniversary of the bombings being in August.
Councillor Evans’ motion says: “I move that HBC mark the 75 years since the atomic bombing of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki… by (sending) a letter of solidarity and friendship to the municipal authorities of both cities.”
She goes on: “To mark the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, HBC calls upon the UK government to reverse plans to spend £205bn on the upgrade of our national nuclear arsenal.”
And am I right to wonder what the point of this is? Or have I missed the point entirely? Because I thought local council meetings were supposed to concern local issues – not anniversaries of events which happened on the other side of the planet, nor policies of national defence?
And, in the midst of a pandemic, and not forgetting the myriad of other issues in our town, why is Hastings Borough Council concerning themselves with befriending cities in Japan? How will Japanese cities improve the lives of the people of Hastings and St Leonards in any way? And I’m sure the civic leaders from each of those cities is waiting with baited breath for a message of support from Hastings – 75 years after the event!
It almost feels like a joke to ask, but are there not more immediate things in this town to concern ourselves with than nuclear annihilation and the dismantling of bombs?
What is Hastings Borough Council actually responsible for?
The function of a district/borough council
District councils, which may also be called borough councils or city councils if the district has borough or city status… provide more local services.
District Councils are responsible for
*Leisure and recreation
*Local taxation collections
I mean look outside. Chances are you’ll see a road pocked with potholes. Go into town and you’ll see the seemingly unaddressed homeless problem. The Pandemic continues. And what is the council doing about these things? Do you know? I don’t.
But hey, at least they’re discussing nuclear bombs. At least issues which are now four years old and have already been voted on by members of our NATIONAL parliament are being discussed.
Councillor Evans ends by saying: “From Hastings, a small town on a global stage, we can still reach out to unite with other voices to promote peace and reconciliation by supporting a Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. Therefore, we call on our government to sign and ratify it.”
Again, why? Why are we wasting time which could be spent addressing LOCAL issues in the town by asking the government to sign treaties everyone knows it never will?
Perhaps before we look out into the rest of the country and the rest of the world concerning ourselves with how they’re run, why don’t we concern ourselves with how Hastings is run and attempt to fix what is wrong with it?
Is this the kind of motion that’s discussed at every council meeting? Because if it is, then no wonder nothing in this town ever gets done.
I’m not trying to denigrate Councillor Evans nor any other Councillor – I’m sure they work hard for their community. But, really – what do nuclear bombs and the events in Japan of 75 years ago have to do with you or me?
Here is a link to the full agenda for tomorrow nights meeting including a potentially incendiary motion on anti-semitism…
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how well Hastings Borough Council is dealing with the town’s problems. Tell us in the comment section below.