2nd Class Councillors? – Tory whip forces the policy through

The new political structure for the council (as outlined yesterday) was pushed through tonight. There will be some consultation with local organisations, but don’t expect much to change…

The 4 Lib Dems voted against it, all the Tories present voted for it, except for one who quietly abstained.

After the meeting one kind Conservative told us that she felt sorry for us being in a minority group. Our answer was that we would be able to look after our residents’ interests OK and put forward our views. We are used to getting things done by persuasion, not on party lines! It’s the back-bench Conservatives who will suffer under the new system, losing their present influence and not being allowed to make a fuss in case it upsets their powerful colleagues.

(Echo story here)

  • When you say “there will be some consultation with local organisations…” please could you elaborate? I’m not sure that I fully understand.
    Thank you.

  • Alison, I’m not sure if I fully understand either. However the report says:

    the intention would now be to consult with potentially affected parties e.g. the Parishes, adjoining Authorities, the Police, other key partners, etc and place the appropriate notifications in the local press, seeking the views of local electors and other interested parties.

    I did say last night that the way of seeking the views of local electors should be via the elections in May, and that if the Conservatives were so keen on this they should put this in their manifesto and ssee if it is supported in the elections. However this went down with them like a lead balloon.

    So they will ask

    – the Parish Councils and the Police – who will probably support the scheme because they are each being offered a non-voting rep on each of the area .

    – “Key Partners” – e.g. Thames Gateway and Health Authorities etc. As these aren’t democratic bodies, and the council will stress that the new structure will ‘improve delivery’ and follows current government thniking, I’m sure they will agree.

    – “local electors” – probably there will be an advert in the back of the Echo, and a box on the district council website. It would be nice if the box said “Do you agree with the council removing the right of your local elected councillor being able to speak on most policy issues?”

    They really ought to consult bodies such as the Hockley Residents Association, because what the Conservatives are doing is quite a clever trick against them. The HRA used to have 3 really good didtrict councillors. They might have a few good ones again in the future. But under the new structure the HRA councillors wouldn’t normally be able to vote on any issues.

    But whatever the results of the consultation, this will be forced through. Terry Cutmore made it quite clear when he said last night “the public aren’t concerned about council structure, they are concerned about delivery”,

  • Am I correct in my assumption- that Mr Cutmore presumes to know what the public are concerned about?
    I am a member of the public and though I freely admit that I do not know the intricacies of how local government works, I do like to take an interest and that interest leads me to the conclusion that council structure and council delivery are not mutually exclusive. Democracy is of paramount importance- or at least it should be.