I went to the Bradford Council meeting yesterday, primarily to support the wonderful people of Whetley Hill Resource Centre. But alongside their petition to save their centre, came the petitions to save the three local pools to be closed.
As we got ready to go in, Bradford was stirred by the sound of a class of children from Whetley Hill Primary School. Their local pool has closed, and now, they will have nowhere close or suitable to learn to swim.
They were amazing, chanting and determined. In the council meeting, they pleaded to say some words, and Ian Greenwood was gracious enough to grant them the right to make a short speech. However, as soon as they had left, to get home for teatime, Mr Greenwood made the most outrageous slur. He accused the Tory party and the campaigners of 'Parading' these kids as a political move, and that campaigners should have made the children stay for the full meeting to hear why the pool should close.
These kids were not 'paraded' by anyone. They were not 'being used' by local activists. Their only local pool, in an area with few local amenities, was to close, and they had asked their teachers to help them do something. They were making a heartfelt plea, and to hear how they were dismissed by the council leader was truly awful.
Yes - this mess is the fault of the Tories, but our Labour local authority needs to do all it can to prevent front line services being cut that affect some of the most needy groups of people in some of the poorest parts of the city.