13-8 – Embarassment For The Tory Leadership

We’ve just got back from the Full Council meeting tonight, we’ll report in full later.

One big item tonight was the Council vote on which two district councillors to appoint as trustees on the Grange Community Association.

A fair view would be to appoint the local ward councillors – Conservative Joan Mockford and our Lib Dem Jackie Dillnutt. And that’s what we proposed.

However the Tory leadership were against this – they wanted to keep Jackie out of things. They may have their own plans on how to treat the community centre.

As the Tories have 32 councillors, and we only have 5, it was pretty likely that we would be massively defeated.

But a whole load of Tories were absent from the meeting, or abtained. And two Tories – Carole Weston from Hockley, and James Cottis from Rochford, voted for Jackie, which was a brave thing to do and we salute them for it. We also had the support of residents councillor John Mason. (It was disappointing that Joan Mockford didn’t vote for Jackie)

The end result was that Jackie was kept off by just 13 votes to 8. Out of 32 Tories, they could only scrape together 13 votes.

It’s still outrageous that the Tory group kept Jackie out of things (and chose Tory Mavis Webster instead). But it was a real embarassment for them, and Jackie came through it looking very well-informed and sensible.

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  • This was so obviously politically motivated and a perfect example of how the tory dominated executive board (aka The Gang Of Nine ) are seeking to stifle democracy in the District Council.
    I hope and trust that residents remember this blatant political manoeuvering when it comes to next May’s elections

  • Chris, I have always been a staunch conservative but take my hat off to you, Ron and Jackie for your tremendous input and hard work for our district – your foremost concern seems to be for the good of the whole community.
    As far as the Grange Community Centre is concerned, I must say that I am very disappointed with the behaviour of the majority of the conservatives on RDC last night – their action certainly appears to be politically motivated and not for the good of the people they are supposed to represent.

  • Hi Lyn, no problem with you being a staunch Conservative nationally – most of Downhall and Rawreth ward vote that way at general election time. In fact it might be interesting to do a poll on onlinefocus seeing what our readers’ politics actually are….

    Trouble is, last night the Tory hierachy were just so so wrong – in terms of being unfair to the residents who elected Jackie, and also in terms of mismanaging their own group.

    We’ve heard that straight after the vote one of the two Tory rebels , Carole Weston, was told off by one of her ‘betters’ who told her ‘You’ve voted against Policy’ – which means that it was official group policy to keep a ward member out of involvement of something in her ward.

    It wasn’t only the two Conservatives who voted with us. There were about 7 abtainers , and at least 10 more ‘voted with their feet’ by not turning up at all.

    When you are supposed to win by about 32-5, and you only win 13-8, that’s telling you that you are in the wrong.

    If our group ever gets big again, I hope we remember last night – not for revenge! But as a reminder to do things fairly.

  • I am Chairman of the Hullbridge Community Association. If Grange Community Association is run along the same lines as ours then Jackie may be able to offer her services as a trustee at the AGM. If voted on this would give her the backing of the members of the association rather than being someone planted on by RDC. If the AGM is only recent then perhaps the committee would consider co opting her in the event of someone resigning as often happens for all sorts of reasons. This would give Jackie the backing of those who are running the community centre. I wish Jackie all the best in finding a way forward on this. Chances are not all is lost.

  • Thanks Angelina, that may be a step forward. but I’m not sure about the rules here concerning declaration of interests. As a council-appointed trustee you can still speak and vote at council meetings on the community centre. As an ordinary trustee you may have declare an interest and not be able to speak or vote!

    But it’s an idea…

  • Carole, sorry , we didn’t want to cause you any offense, but we heard that a … prominent … member of the Conservative Group came over to you straight after the meeting and told you that you had ‘voted against policy’. (which I’m sure you knew already)

    If nothing like that happened and we were misinformed, sorry , but if its true it reflects even more credit on yourself.

    When the vote came you didn’t hesitate for a moment, you stuck your arm straight up and you deserve enormous respect for that.

    And I’m sure you understand I was using the word ‘betters’ in an ironic sense.

  • It is a relief to hear that at least a few of the ruling majority have some idea of the concept of democracy.

    In Ancient Greece, arguably the originators of demokratis, people could nominate unpopular leaders to be exiled; if they received enough nominations, off they went!

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