Campaigners are not politicising Powys school closure fight

I read Fay Jones MP’s column on the politics surrounding proposed school closures with a mixture of consternation and dismay.

Her comments are disdainful of campaigners motivated not by petty point-scoring but by the plight of children and families facing enormous upheaval during an already precarious time.

More worryingly, accusing local Liberal Democrats of game-playing risks contributing to the culture of suspicion and distrust that is already damagingly pervasive in our political life.

Parties should be taking the lead, pulling together to raise the level of debate, arguing over the issues rather than engaging in personal attacks.

As for a split within the Conservative party, what is important is being clear with the public over how the schools reorganisation process works.

For example, members of Ms Jones’s Party have recommended affected parents contact the Minister for Education, who has no control whatsoever over the process at this stage.

The Schools Organisation is overseen by the Education Portfolio Holder within Powys County Council’s Cabinet.

He is a Conservative. A councillor, not an officer. Only eight of the 73 county councillors in Powys have voting rights on the school closures.

These are the eight Cabinet members, a mixture of Independent and Conservative county councillors.

Cllr Iain McIntosh, who is campaigning against the closure of schools in south Powys, is one of the Cabinet members and also a Conservative.

Russell George MS has spoken against the closure of Churchstoke School. Craig Williams MP last week called for the language changes at Ysgol Bro Hyddgen to be reconsidered.

Given all of this, I find it unsurprising that many people should be confused by the decision-making process governing the restructuring of Powys’s schools.

In our party political system it is also perfectly reasonable for the public to demand where the Conservative Party stands on the matter of school closures.

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