Letter to the Journal from Cllr David Faulkner


Letter to the Journal
We see a great deal of the Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes in The Journal but not often in the business pages - unlike the Sunderland Council leader who we see spending a lot of time visiting businesses in his patch, I observe.
 
However in the business pages of The Journal of 8 October, here is Nick making a speech at a "leadership" conference as part of the Rugby World Cup programme in which he says that he "pushed for Newcastle to host Rugby World Cup matches". This seems strange when you reflect that St James' Park formed part of the package that saw England awarded the 2015 tournament back in 2009 - two years before Labour took control in Newcastle and Nick Forbes became Leader. The Journal reported all of this at the time, and I certainly don't recall any conversation or input from Nick in Opposition then .....
 
Now I guess we politicians have to admit that we tend to try to claim credit for the achievements of others from time to time - I might even have done that myself.  But Nick is the acknowledged master.
In the same speech to the Leadership conference he claimed credit for helping the Stephenson Quarter development. Your readers might like to know that in opposition Nick Forbes criticised the then ruling Liberal Democrat Group for helping to kickstart the development. We offered loan finance to the developers (on terms beneficial to the council too) at a time when the banks were not interested. He said we should be building houses instead. Well, we were building houses as well, the first council houses in the city for 25 years, but I think he knew that the financial rules that applied to the two markets were quite different.
Why should we worry about this doublespeak when the Rugby World Cup is here and a a great success, and the impressive Stephenson Quarter is under way. That's all that counts isn't it?
Yes, but you can't help but think that this kind of false claim and hypocritical posturing demeans all of us in the world of politics.
Councillor David Faulkner, Liberal Democrat, Newcastle City Council

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