A difference of opinion and a glimmer of hope…

Here’s an interesting story from Thurrock Nub News and a possible glimmer of light for us lockdown/’new normal’ sceptics: Is there a split of opinion? Councillor says borough residents should not become Covid spies on neighbours in wake of leader’s call for vigilance. Let’s face it, we could do with a glimmer of light with the way things are going at the moment!

Back in May, the leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr. Rob Gledhill (Con) called on residents in the borough to be ‘vigilant’ and report any businesses they felt were breaching the coronavirus restrictions that applied at that point: How to grass up a suspect business! Leader’s message as council sets up web page to track down offenders. The council also floated the idea of employing Covid-19 ‘marshals’ to ensure members of the public adhered to the restrictions. As yet, nothing has materialised in terms of Thurrock Council employing any marshals.

Fast forward to Monday 12 October and Cllr. James Halden (Con) takes to social media with this message: “To be very clear, Thurrock Council will not spend a single penny of taxpayer cash in employing Covid-19 marshals. People should follow the rules, but we won’t encourage neighbours to be spies. It would not be healthy for the Thurrock community.” From a council that seems to be pretty enthusiastic about implementing the coronavirus restrictions, this statement offers a glimmer of hope that some councillors are starting to question some of the accepted wisdom.

Look, we don’t think Halden is ever going to come out as a full blown lockdown/’new normal’ sceptic. However, it’s heartening that reading between the lines, it would appear he’s willing to trust residents in Thurrock to use their common sense rather than rely on enforcement. That’s a welcome step in the right direction. And yes, we have just done something we never thought we would do – offer praise (albeit faint) to a Tory councillor! This is symptomatic of the strange times we live in…

However, Cllr. Halden has had his differences with Cllr. Gledhill – ‘Irreconcilable differences’ last just two months as councillor is back in the cabinet – but another rebel appears ousted – so we’re not overly optimistic that he will be able to rein in any attempts to recruit and impose Covid-19 marshals on us. But, it’s a glimmer of light and for the moment, we’re happy to take anything we can get.

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