That was a long Borough Council Meeting

Well, got home at 11:20pm as the meeting did not finish until around 10:45pm.  Click here for a link to the agenda.

A majority of the meeting was spent on agenda item 7 as the Labour Group tabled sixteen amendments.  I also tabled a motion, which was seconded by Councillor Paul Fisher from the Community Group.  This motion pointed out that were Borough Council to accept all of the amendments it would reduce the amount of efficiency savings by £675,800.  Fortunately, all of the amendments were rejected by Borough Council and were seen by most of us as frivolous.

To watch & listen to any of the debates, click here.

Update: On the Brentford TW8 Forum, my Executive colleague Councillor Phil Andrews (Leader of the Community Group), said the following earlier today:

“New Labour spent two hours trying to persuade us to retain posts which were already unfilled and in many cases had been for several years.  There seemed to be a contest between cronies to see who could table the most absurd amendment. 

IMHO the opposition has lost any of the credibility which it would need in order to make a case when the real debate has to be had in March.  The only credible opposition these days is coming from the Lib Dems and John Connelly (although the latter wasn’t there last night). 

I don’t know why I feel embarrassed for New Labour.  I am not, after all, a member of their party.  But the word is that many of their people on the ground are unhappy with their performance, and it isn’t difficult for the neutral observer to appreciate why.

I strongly recommend the webcast.”

I agree with what Phil says.  I thought that the 2002-2006 Labour administration performed terribly in the Chamber and were frequently unable to answer questions, exacerbated by a subsequent failure to follow up on questions or requests for information.  The Labour Group has proved itself to be even less effective in opposition.

Before I am accused of being excessively partisan, I would say two things:

  1. If you get a chance, watch the webcast, and judge for yourself.
  2. I have previously acknowledged that there were/are a number of exceptions.  When I first took an interest in the Council, I thought that the former Labour Leader, John Connelly (Hounslow Heath), was excellent in the Chamber and was keen and willing to answer questions.  Amongst the previous Executive, I thought that Amrit Mann (Heston East) was very impressive indeed and had a real understanding of his portfolio.  He too was impressive in the Chamber.  There were others too such as Valerie Lamey & Ron Bartholomew who made some good contributions to debate.  John Cooper (Feltham West) is very good at West Area Committee.  Of the 2006 intake in the Labour Group, I have taken a liking to both Matt Harmer (Brentford) & Lily Bath (Hounslow Central) – they make constructive argument and, more generally, give me the impression that they are getting stuck into the role of representing their constituents.  This matters more than party politics.  [I am beginning to digress a little]…

I do not have a beef with anyone personally in the Labour Group but every tier of Government really needs good opposition.

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2 Responses to “That was a long Borough Council Meeting”

  1. Phil Andrews Says:

    Mark

    Whilst many of those Ghosts of Local Labour Past were undoubtedly more competent than the majority of their political compatriots who now grace the Council Chamber, there were often other problems which they created for us in this part of the world which were if anything exacerbated by their ability to do what they did competently.

    It was the non-stop political interference, exclusions, gerrymandering of residents’ and community groups and so on which necessitated the creation of the Community Group and which ensured its subsequent victory. It is perhaps a tad ironic that it was the competent ones who took the hit but not, I would venture, unjust.

  2. Phil Andrews Says:

    Mark

    I see you have mentioned the BrentfordTW8.com forum in your article, to which as you know I am a more than occasional contributor.

    Should you ever decide to advertise your fine blog on the aforementioned forum, you would probably find yourself very shortly afterwards receiving the attentions of one former councillor David Hughes, whose achievement in outperforming 10,000 other sperm never ceases to amaze me.

    Until then, I shall leave you with some of his thoughts on the very serious matter of Heathrow expansion. Bear in mind that this man until very recently served on our local authority’s Executive, with a multi-million pound budget at his disposal. I reproduce it in its original Greek.

    Who said intelligent political debate was dead in Hounslow?

    “Well I saw a very funny picture in the LGC magazine on the back page, The LGC magazine is a council in house sort of mag, well on the back cover was a loads of people with the posters who just happen to be SWP rent a mob, whats this yes SWP has the tories gone so far left now they have a deal with the SWP to make it look like there are a lot of people to launch the Council NO campaign. What will Bowen and the mob think of next communists to deliver this years budget at the council.

    “Think about it – what future is there for a Hounslow

    “There does not seem to be one since you are selling everything off so you can fix Chiswick town halls roof,

    “What a shame…

    “The Tories are so inclusive they are now getting upset that there pretty pictures include SWP supporters………

    “What you going to do rip up all them pictures because they dont show white Tories up in arms….oopps a bit late for that now!!!!”

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