An Unnecessary Role

embracing false choices

Archive for the ‘Leisure’ Category

Hands off my Grandad’s golf course

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If it’s a day with a ‘y’ in the name, it must be another hit job on local authorities from CLG. And so it was on Friday that CLG published a list of council-owned assets showing that many local authorities own golf courses and golf clubs, accompanied by the clear insinuation that this sort of thing simply is not the business of a local authority.

Now I could burble on about councils having sound asset management strategies and how the Government will suggest councils develop  innovative revenue streams one minute and chastise them for doing anything more than pick up the bins the next. But this time, it’s not a theoretical argument, it is “personal”.

My grandad, who passed away just over two years ago, worked his whole life to provide for his family, including his only daughter, my mother. He worked shifts, day and night, at Manchester Airport, to pay the rent on their house on a smart council estate in a sleepy suburban village in south Manchester, and all he wanted at the end of the week was a drink in the local Labour Club (home of many a Frank Sidebottom gig) and a round of golf at the local municipal course.

I remember him taking me to the driving range (for my first taste of a game I never really took to, I regret to say), and him proudly pointing out his name on the board of club captains. If this sounds like I’m idealising him, then I am, he was my grandad. But even through that I can tell you he was a proud working man who could only afford to pursue his great passion because the council thought that a community golf course wasn’t a drain on resources, or an inappropriate use of public money, but a civic good that benefited the area and the people who lived there.

And this Government would kick him out of his council house for the sin of having a steady job and and then sell his golf course. Charming.

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Written by samelliot

August 8, 2011 at 8:00 am

Posted in Finance, Leisure, Localism