Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LibDems Can't Even U-Turn With Grace

The unpopular £35 green garden waste policy is coming to a welcome but slow and very shabby end. On Friday a cross-party committee will meet to consider the results of the consultation with residents about the changes to waste collection. This involved several meetings of varying worth and polling 1000 residents as I have written about previously. The results are overdue as I write, having been earmarked for publication yesterday.

As usual, the LibDem Executive have not bothered to wait or have an advanced copy. Last Friday, they held a group meeting with the two MPs in attendance and agreed to the expected u-turn. Having agreed to scrap the charge, the two MPs issued a press release demanding that the Council, er, scrap the charge.

The whole episode has been a shambles from beginning to end. I am amazed that they have not learnt any lessons and still seek to treat consultation with such disdain. They have come up with the right answer in this instance but this is not because of the expensive communication exercise that they have just undertaken. This was merely a way of justifying the climbdown. Either they have sat on an advanced copy of the results and are refusing to let others seat it or they have decided without considering residents' views.

LibDem backbenchers are seeing their future on the council melting away in the light of this incompetence. I hope that you as residents share my anger that you are just a pawn in the LibDem hierarchy's game of political survival. I'm afraid that you have another 18 months of being treated as someone whose chequebook should be seen, but definitely not heard.


Anonymous said...

Charlatans the lot of them.
The administration have become a laughing stock around the borough.
The parallels with the Brown govt are striking in that evey peice of news they try and spin just seems to make matters worse.
Just look at the SEN transport situation.When the lead cllr(Tony Brett Young)was interviewed on national news his final comments were not about the children but about how the policy of cutting the SEN transport budget for our most at risk children was in facy also an enviromental question.
Sums it up really.They arealready a shambles and are fast becoming a national joke.

The Brinkster said...

In case you missed it I've posted the video of the SEN Transport interview from ITV London at

Anonymous said...

I had never considered that my 8 year old severely Autistic son was, in actual fact, destroying the planet! SEN cuts are purely and simply about penny pinching, to claim that it is better for the children or that it will save the world as we know it is a gross insult to parents, carers, teachers and, most importantly, the children themselves. I would also question the validity of the Scrutiny Overview Committee who are the instigators of the proposal. What bright spark thought this one up?

Anonymous said...

Councillor Scully,

I'm not even sure that the Liberal Democrat Council even needed to consult us on the green waste charges. I hate it, my neighbours hate it, in fact everyone I know with a garden hates this policy.

Whilst I am glad it is coming to an end according to your bloggings, I'm a little shocked that they're making a decision without even looking at this alleged consultation process they've undertaken. How much did it cost? I read in the paper that council spin 'communications' costs are up by some £200,000 or so. Is this consultation covered in that cost?

The current regime is so woefully out-of-touch it's becoming a farce.

The MPs have shown on leadership on this and I can only assume they will posture to claim some kind of credit.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me where the great brain behind this fiasco (Councillor Colin Hall) is?

Anonymous said...

Believe he is in Hong Kong.
He must be sorting out the waste policy there.....

Unknown said...


I assume that you meant that MPs have shown no leadership on this. They have only shown their eye for the main chance in the press.

Earlier this year Tom Brake wrote to several constituents defending the charge and Paul Burstow wrote an article in his newsletter in a similarly sympathetic vein.

This week they sent out the press release calling for the charge to be scrapped, a full five days after sitting in a meeting with LibDem councillors who told them that the charge would be scrapped.

This is like going out and buying lottery tickets using last week's numbers, waving them in the air shouting "I'm a millionaire."

Anonymous said...

lol, i really like the lottery analogy. great stuff, councillor. who must have a killer material writer!

Anonymous said...

Politically this is with question the most shameful and embarrassing week the ruling Liberal Democrat Group have experienced in this term (since May 2006).

On the one hand there is a well structured cross party review process due to meet at 2.30pm today (I am off to attend the final meeting with Scully after this) to review, among other issues the disastrous £35 per bag policy. Despite our warnings to the contrary they went ahead with a secret crisis meeting last Friday (so called by one of their number) the shameful outcome is as Scully reports. What is not widely known is that those present at the meeting were given a very stern and patronising lecture not to leak any part of it. This prompted phone calls to myself and a few colleagues to tell us all. The following is an extract from an e-mail I sent to senior LibDems this week:

“There may well be hitherto undiscovered tribes in South America that now know the details of what went on at the private meeting of the Majority Group held last Friday attended by our two Members of Parliament. The tactic of threatening ‘back benchers’ with fire and brimstone should they disclose any tiny detail is one we will probably all give a very wide berth to in future, it certainly had the opposite effect this time.”

The next shameful and embarrassing issue for the Ruling Group is the disclosure in Private Eye that the new communication team was costing around £200,000 more than those dismissed early this year, despite Cllr Tony Brett-Young (the LibDem lead Councillor for communication) going on the record to say that the team that he was bringing in was not going to cost any more. Various colleagues have got on the wrong side of Cllr Brett Young when questioning the new team’s effectiveness, however in Friday’s secret meeting the very reasonable and mildly spoken Cllr Wales received “a vitriolic” outburst from Cllr B-Y for merely raising the small issue of the extra £200,000. On Monday Cllr B-Y was on London evening news telling the world that Sutton was saving £200,000 with cuts to transporting autistic and vulnerable children to school. So I guess a cynic might say the £200,000 communication budget black hole has been filled.

What a way to run an administration.

Anonymous said...


Apologies for the 'Anonymous' tag missed my cue!


Anonymous said...

judging by the way they p*ssed off everyone with a garden in the borough of Sutton i think they might want a refund on that 200k, Barry! lol

seeing as the council is run by monkeys i might pay my council tax rates in peanuts,

how do I set up a directdebit?