The local Darlington Labour Party and specifically Cllr Wallis, appear to be determined to misrepresent Darlington Council in the national press regarding the councils new transformative rebranding.
We’re puzzled when Cllr Wallis states that he is concerned that publicity that this decision has caused is damaging to Darlington reputation, yet he is happy to keep peddling his misrepresentation that is the catalyst of this publicity and be quoted at length in articles like the one below in the Guardian. Yet, as an experienced Councillor and previous Cabinet Member with Labour in the previous administration at Darlington Borough Council, and therefore understanding the process, he failed to turn up at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting where this subject was on the agenda, where he would have been able to raise any real objections that he may have regarding this topic, in person, in the appropriate forum, where his comments could be actioned, but he is quite happy to spend his time giving misleading quotes to national newspapers.
Instead, yesterday we listened to Cllr Harker the Labour Group Leader desperately attempt to justify Labour’s objections to the rebrand, ranging from their attempts to politicise the colour chosen, attempting to frame it as “Tory Blue” and as was quoted by the BBC directly from Cllr Wallis that we were setting “a dangerous precedent” by using blue. This argument fell flat for him when it was pointed out that all of our neighbouring authorities (who are not Conservative), use different shades of blue so Cllr Harker changed tack and attempted to criticise the fact that we were embarking on a rebrand during a pandemic when the Council was already busy enough. However his colleague Cllr Wallis is more than happy with his leader’s permission, to tie up Officers and resources within the Council with lengthy Freedom of Information requests about the rebrand in an attempt to disrupt the process, when there is a transparent public report in circulation.
Cllr Harker’s final attempt to gain traction was to point out that in Labour’s opinion this use of £20,000 was a waste of tax-payers money. In the run up to the last local election the Labour party wasted £230,000 on a legal challenge against Darlington residents when Cllr Wallis and his labour colleagues were attempting to close down our beloved library. They further wasted £17,000 on their shambles of a refurbishment of the council chamber, selling off bespoke chairs for £100s when they were worth £1000s, £1.7million was proposed as the cost of converting part of the Dolphin Centre to house the library, all to save £100,000 per annum. The total cost of this failed Labour debacle to our town was circa £3/4 million in taxpayers money yet despite this and many, many more examples that could be quoted (nobody mention the £60,000 spent on failed Solar powered bins) Labour’s hypocrisy knows no bounds. Their attempts to accuse us of wasting money in our bid to reverse decades of reputational damage that they and their administration afflicted on the people of Darlington is ridiculous and desperate political game playing that the majority of Darlington can see right through. Darlington is on the up and it is most definitely time to look to the future.