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Plans to send a Christmas card to every home in Burntwood have been criticised by a Conservative councillor.

The proposal was debated at a meeting of Burntwood Town Council earlier this week.

But Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, deputy leader of the Conservative opposition group, said the money such a scheme would cost could be better spent elsewhere.

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho

“I was genuinely shocked and disappointed to see that the idea of sending a Christmas card to every house in Burntwood was even a consideration.

“It was like something one would see in the parish council scene in The Vicar Of Dibley!

“My initial thought was ‘what a waste of money’ – there are worthwhile community groups such as Spark and Burntwood Be A Friend who would put that money to better use by using it to have a real positive impact on people’s lives.

“I would much rather see them get the money that would have been spent on cards.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, Burntwood Town Council

Cllr Ho added that the environmental impact of sending a Christmas cards went against pledges made by the council.

“I think perhaps the Labour group has forgotten that last year we as a council made a commitment to help tackle climate change by bearing it in mind when making considerations.

“In an article about the environmental impact of Christmas, Friends Of The Earth stated that most Christmas cards end up in the bin – in essence if Burntwood Town Council did decide to go with the Christmas card option, they would be throwing money in the bin.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, Burntwood Town Council

The objection to the proposals by the Conservatives was criticised online by the town council’s leader Cllr Sue Woodward.

But Cllr Ho said the comments were “petty party politics”.

“It was just a discussion to enable all members of Burntwood Town Council to give their opinion on the options for Christmas, which I did after having discussed it with my Conservative colleagues and residents.

“I was disappointed to have been accused of being fake by the leader of Burntwood Town Council, which I perceived as nothing but petty party politics.”

Cllr Wai-Lee Ho, Burntwood Town Council

Cllr Darren Ennis, deputy leader of Burntwood Town Council, said talks were continuing to find alternative ways to mark the Christmas period locally given the expected coronavirus restrictions.

“This year we will not be able to do our amazing Christmas event at Sankey’s Corner. 

“There was lots of debate and discussions on potential ideas on what we could do and this will lead to a further meeting to finalise these plans and would love any ideas to be sent in.

“We look forward to some exciting and different schemes this year.”

Cllr Darren Ennis, Burntwood Town Council

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15 Comments

  1. Bah, humbug. Christmas cards with information about local services was just one idea put forward as an option as the Council will not be able to hold its usual events: an idea, and not a plan. It had in fact been suggested at an informal discussion group where the Conservative members present all agreed that it would be worth considering as a possibility. The tone and language used by Cllr Ho and some of his colleagues was so exaggerated and over-the-top, it was laughable: a ridiculously manufactured row over nothing for the purpose of a press release. The Conservative Councillors are starting to sound like a bit like The Vicar of Dibley’s Jim Trott in reverse: “Yes, yes, yes, yes…..no.”

  2. Humbug Ho!
    Not much in the way of community or Christmas “spirit” around by the looks of things.
    As a Conservative voter I would say that as we appear to be heading towards some sort of lockdown Christmas after what has already been a terrible year, some sort of official engagement would be an excelent idea and very welcome.
    It looks unlikely we will not be able to do many traditional Christmas events this year so a card to every household would be a wonderful thing to do.
    I do not understand why the party I support gets so annoyed by such things when here is so much more to be angry about as regards the way the pandemic has been handled. Our community has been brilliant since March, so many wonderful stories and excellent projects. We have been helping each other. So why be so mean-spirited as regards a small gesture during what is likely to be such a difficult and challenging Christmas for so many of us?
    That is not Conservative values. That is the petty politics he is accusing others of playing.
    No Christmas carol concerts.
    No pantomime.
    No visiting friends and family – perhaps.
    No big community celebrations.
    Now no Christmas cards Cllr Ho?
    We should just cancel Christmas if the likes of Cllr Ho gets their way.

  3. Seems your values may be different to the party you vote for Barry. Maybe you need to consider where you cast your vote at the next opportunity.

  4. Not so much “Ho, Ho, Ho!” as “No, No, No!”

    I love the smell of fake outrage in the morning.

    Some sort of engagement with the whole community at Christmas, especially those who fall through the cracks due to over reliance of online communications, would be very welcome. Maybe the cards are not right, maybe a grown up discussion would resolve it instead of the fake outrage and petty politicking of Cllr Ho.

    But that might be too much to ask of Cllr Ho when he seems intent on doing an audition for the Taxpayers Alliance.

  5. When it comes to community and festive spirit he has gone from Ho Ho Ho to No No No.

    With what looks like the most difficult and for many isolating festive period approaching, the Town Council was asking for ideas to help us engage with the community whilst restrictions are in place.

    We cannot hold the usual community events and there will be lots of people in Burntwood who may be in need of contact and support over Christmas. Many residents will face being alone, isolated and with no idea where to turn for help.

    The suggestion of a christmas card was an idea for a discussion point and had no opposition from the Tory members on the committee where it was first raised.

    The card was but one option for discussion and that was all it was. Somehow Councillor Ho has turned it into a party political press release whilst simultaneously claiming the opposite.

    The initial thoughts around such a project are that it could engage the local schools in a design a card competition or a photograph Burntwood contest. It could contain information regarding where people can get help and assistance during the pandemic and especially over the Christmas and winder period. Such things as contacts for the food bank and Burntwood be a Friend, the phone number for the Samaritans and other services people may need are just examples. The Tories claimed this information was available on the Internet. What an excluding attitude that takes no account of the fact many of our elderly and most vulnerable will have no internet access but will still need information.

    As there will be very strict limits on community events this year it seems appropriate to look at alternatives that will both engage and support our community. Instead of engaging in any positive way or offering any ideas, the Conservative Councillors make spurious claims of party politics. They came up with what was best described as mock outrage at the mere suggestion of some sort of card after some of they had previously not had an issue with discussing it.

    His Friends of the Earth comments are spurious at best. It is not about the final destination of a card, if one is produced, but what benefit it provides before it reaches the recycling bin. By his reckoning I may as well not have that weekend takeaway treat tonight as it will just end up down the sewer.

    Could it be an election is approaching? It has been noted by some of the public that the Tories have suddenly decided to show an interest in the town by doing litter picks after not being seen out and about since the last election? Oddly enough the Labour Councillors do their community action and improvement work year round and don’t need the threat of an election to do something positive or engage with those we represent.

  6. “Let us always love each other
    Lead us to the light
    Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
    Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
    Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
    Bless us one and all.”

    Robin the Frog playing Tiny Tim in A Muppets Christmas Carol perhaps really did say it best.

    Cllr Ho, why can’t we all just get along?

    Think of the kiddies at Christmas and all the things they will not be getting this year because of Scrooge Covid. Have a little humanity and forget you are a Conservative just this one time please.

    Let Burntwood Council spread some Christmas cheer in 2020 Cllr Ho. Remember how Robin the Frog touches the heart of Michael Caine as Mr Scrooge and help spread some festive cheer.

    Do the right thing Cllr Ho otherwise the Ghosts of Christmas Past might come calling for you.

  7. I think it is unfair to refer to Wai as Humbug Ho.
    We do not yet know what the state of our country will be by Christmas. We could as Barry says be in a second lockdown or we could be in a divided country situation as it appears we are heading to where parts of the nation have vastly different figures to the other half. This is why I find speculating on a fast moving situation to be somewhat difficult.

    One of the ideas put forward ironically (so no one can accuse me of being political) by Cllr Norman and supported by people in and out of the council was something in the town trader. This is something that I feel we should move towards.

  8. Well, Boris has made such a mess of mishandling pretty much everything to do with COVID so we look forward to him cancelling Christmas. Cllr Scrooge Ho is already positioning himself to back that decision.

  9. I look forward to Cllrs, Loughborough-Rudd, Marisha Place and Willis-Croft defending their right to not oppose the suggestion at the informal meeting or, like Cllr Ho, not to speak against it at the Town Council meeting.

    I did – in so far as whilst it was suggested this would not just be a simple Christmas Card but have information in the card for residents I, and others, thought it would be even better to have it as a wrap round on the Town Trader booklet that goes out so that residents would know how to contact Burntwood Beafriend, the Foodbank and other organisations during the Coronavirus restrictions. This would reach people who do not, or cannot, engage with online information but still need help at Christmas.

  10. Steve as you mentioned it was a suggestion (which I did say something about) and we were not voting. I have the capacity to reflect and analyse so I suppose those three years at university did teach me something after all.

    I happen to not disagree with the town trader idea and I wouldn’t vote against such a move.

  11. So is this outrage just about a Christmas card? It seems the card was one of several ideas put forward and it also appears nothing has yet been decided.

    So Councillor Ho is outraged at something that is unlikely to ever happen?

    Seems local politics does indeed mirror the national stage – how depressing.

    Why waste your breath criticising something that will never happen? What purpose does that serve? What contribution to the local community does it make? Christmas will be horrible for many this year. Councillor Ho’s time would be better spent agreeing a way to engage with all, rather than fire blanks in this way.

    It was pointed out on social media that local Conservatives including the MP recently distributed thousands of election leaflets to Burntwood households. Yet Councillor Ho raises environmental concerns about the card idea. The card was an idea, the leafleting actually happened.

    As some others have pointed out, this is fake outrage at best and gutter politics at worst.

    No wonder so many people are so disillusioned with local and national politics.

  12. Give it up Cllr Ho! Barry Scott and I are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, however we seem to be agreeing about a lot recently! I just can’t see the point of the Tory group going off on one here. It’s not as if Labour members have been using the community stuff round here as propaganda, quite the opposite; the idea has been to get all to help all. We are going to need each other regardless, as things are only going to get worse, I’m afraid.

  13. What a waste of money and resources. In principle it’s a lovely idea – in a world where resources aren’t stretched and money magically appears….but, back on planet earth – surely there are other, more important things to spend the money on? I realise this may come across as a boring, no fun, practical viewpoint but, you know, sometimes grown ups have to think like that and prioritise.

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