The Start of Something Good? An Interview With Tudor Evans
Today saw political upheaval in Plymouth’s local government as election results saw Plymouth City Council pass from Conservative control back into Labour’s hands. InPlymouth.com was lucky enough to catch up with Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth’s Labour Party in celebratory mood. He took time out to grant us this exclusive interview.
Here it is in classic Q & A style:
Mr Evans, what does it feel like to be back in control of Plymouth City Council after 5 years?
An early priority for us is engagement with local people. Specifically, our manifesto laid out plans to webcast council meetings, embrace social media and tear down the barriers the last Tory council built up.
What will be your very first action as Leader of the Council?
Commission a plan for jobs. It is our top priority.
During the 5 years you were in Opposition you must have been itching to make changes. What is the single biggest thing that you will now be able to do for Plymouth?
Our early priorities are clear: jobs, housing, care for the elderly, potholes and tackling crime. These are big issues that need action.
One of our biggest issues locally is the recession. Parts of the City Centre are becoming characterised by empty shops and businesses being ground down by the recession. How will you help businesses in Plymouth survive?
Our jobs plan will be our priority but we also want to put life back into the city centre with a new Alive After Five initiative. But let me also make clear, where National Government policies like regional pay plans hurt Plymouth, we will fight them.
As one of the city’s most vocal advocates of social media, at InPlymouth.com we’re delighted to hear that one of your manifesto promises is to introduce social media into council practices. The previous administration weren’t convinced that social media was worth exploring. What difference will introducing social media actually make to the way the Council communicates?
The same difference it makes to every conversation online: open, transparent, real-time and plain English. It’s the start of something good.
One last thing: in your opinion, is it too late to save the airport?
I’m not in the business of giving up on Plymouth. And I’m not minded to give up on the airport either.
The Next Step
Whichever way we look at Mr Evans’ answers, the clearest messages look like they’re about a greater level of openness in local government. This is something we’ve needed in Plymouth for a very long time. He has already indicated that establishment of the new incinerator may be reviewed and now here he has hinted that Plymouth may not lose it’s airport after all. Is it the start of something good for Plymouth? Only time will tell, but we certainly hope so.