Labour councillor criticises Burntwood Town Council’s decision to invite “unknowns” to Old Mining College Centre ceremony

A councillor has criticised the decision to invite “unknowns” to the official ceremony marking Burntwood Town Council’s move to the Old Mining College Centre.

A ribbon cutting will take place in May with a number of elected members and invited guests.

But Cllr Eric Drinkwater, leader of the opposition Labour group, has hit out at the guest list after former councillors such as Steve Norman, Don Isaacs and John Walker were not invited.

Cllr Eric Drinkwater

Cllr Eric Drinkwater

In an email which was sent to council administrators and those invited to the ceremony, he said: “It appears to me that there are people missing from the list who should have taken precedent over some of those unknowns who have been invited.”

But Burntwood Town Council has insisted that those invited represent a broad spectrum of interested parties.

A spokesperson said: “Members are delighted to have invited a wide range of people from across the community to celebrate a new chapter in the building’s life.”

Cllr Drinkwater has accused the controlling Conservative group of using the event for the wrong reasons

“This ceremony has been organised on party political lines,” he said. “Everyone who played a big part in the move to the Old Mining College Centre should be there for Burntwood.

“These are good people who have been left off while others with no link except for being related to councillors have been invited.”

Among those due to attend are Conservative MP Michael Fabricant.

And Cllr Drinkwater has questioned the decision to allow someone who served in John Major’s Government – which privatised the coal industry in the UK – to be prominent in the ceremony.

The Old Mining College Centre in Burntwood

The Old Mining College Centre in Burntwood

“It’s so short-sighted,” he told LichfieldLive. “Who thought it would be right to invite a man who was part of the Tories when they destroyed the coal industry to a ceremony at a former mining training centre?

“There will still be people in Burntwood who remember the impact of the Conservatives had on our mines and this will be very disrespectful to them.”

But Mr Fabricant accused the Labour group leader of being stuck in his ways.

“Trust Eric Drinkwater to drag up the past,” the Lichfield MP said. “He isn’t someone to look to the future.

“He reminds me of that old Monty Python sketch: ‘You had cardboard shoes? You were lucky. I remember when we had to eat t’cardboard sandwiches!’”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

2 Comments

  1. Eric N Drinkwater

    10th March, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Yes Michael I will never tire of reminding people what evil deeds your government do to ordinary people. Of course at that particular time thousands of jobs and industries were destroyed by your evil decisions.
    We all know it was about destroying the trade Union Movement as per Nicholas Ridley’s advice to Margaret Thatcher which you gladly went along with by your vote in the House of Commons. I am proud of my history there is not much to be proud of in yours.

  2. Rob

    11th March, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Keeping Burntwood in the doldrums for 40 years, yeah you can be really proud of that Cllr Drinkwater, I think he forgets that the people of Burntwood elected the “so called evil” conservatives into power in Burntwood last year. Never seen so much going on, new houses, a mcdonalds what next.

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