‘I’m not go­ing to stop fight­ing’

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

CARDIFF’S coun­cil leader has said he will keep bat­tling to “fin­ish the job”.

With four months to go be­fore a coun­cil elec­tion, coun­cil leader Phil Bale has said he will not be forced out of his role by a mi­nor­ity.

He was crit­i­cised this week by po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents for ap­par­ently pre­vent­ing mem­bers of his own group from read­ing his posts on Twit­ter.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously blocked Gretta Mar­shall, then a Labour coun­cil­lor, he has blocked one of his Labour pre­de­ces­sors as Cardiff coun­cil leader, Rus­sell Good­way.

It means his party col­leagues can­not view his pro­file or any­thing he tweets.

But yes­ter­day, Coun Bale said he will con­tinue bat­tling to keep his po­si­tion as leader of the author­ity.

“There’s been a sub­stan­tial el­e­ment of re­sis­tance,” he said.

“I have come up against re­sis­tance while try­ing to drive through change. I have come up against con­sid­er­able re­sis­tance in try­ing to im­prove Cardiff and make it a bet­ter city.

“I am not go­ing to stop fight­ing to make sure that Cardiff be­comes a bet­ter city.

“I can’t al­low a small num­ber of peo­ple who are re­sis­tant to change who want to hold Cardiff back. I want peo­ple to come on the same jour­ney as me to make Cardiff a more happy, pos­i­tive place to live.”

He said that while res­i­dents and coun­cil staff are on board with changes, he can’t say the same across the board.

“We have fought to stop the coun­cil go­ing into spe­cial mea­sures. There isn’t a sin­gle politi­cian or party that isn’t re­spon­si­ble. The per­for­mance is­sues with some de­part­ments goes back decades, and ac­tu­ally if you look at that no con­fi­dence vote [put against him by the Con­ser­va­tives and Lib Dems in 2015] they have all got to step up to the mark and be re­spon­si­ble.

“I have been clear from the out­set that I will work with any­one who wants to make Cardiff a bet­ter place to live and work.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly frus­trat­ing that a small num­ber of peo­ple are caus­ing a dis­trac­tion from the huge achieve­ments of peo­ple that are work­ing in pub­lic ser­vices in Cardiff.

“We have got some of the big­gest chal­lenges fac­ing Wales and Cardiff in liv­ing mem­ory. We have got a new Pres­i­dent in the White House, we have com­plex ne­go­ti­a­tions over the fu­ture in the EU and a lo­cal elec­tion that will de­fine the fu­ture of Cardiff not just for the next five years but for a long pe­riod of time.

“We have made sub­stan­tial change in a few years but it isn’t fin­ished. The job isn’t done yet. I don’t want to see all the pos­i­tiv­ity and progress across the city be­ing wasted and to go back to where we were.

“I don’t want any­one to see the worst so­cial ser­vices, some of the worst per­form­ing schools in some of the worst con­di­tions where pupils are learn­ing. That’s not the kind of city that I want to lead. It’s not the city peo­ple want to live in. That’s why I am go­ing to keep bat­tling and do­ing what I be­lieve is the right thing and not what’s in my own self in­ter­est.”

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