Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reporting Back From The Bimonthly Bunfight

Last Monday saw another knockabout Council meeting. We discussed serious issues; the Icelandic bank deposits, SEN transport, how the Council communicates with local residents amongst others. However, there is no decision making and it was apparent that the LibDems are too busy looking forward to elections in 18 months time to address the issues head on. Instead we were treated to some political grandstanding that bore little relation to the matters at hand. I guess this is what happens when a small number of LibDem councillors keep the decision making in their own hands, barely bothering to throw any scraps to their backbench colleagues. Their view is that by spending a few thousand on no smoking signs in Beddington playgrounds, residents will forgive them for the half a million wasted on the green garden waste fiasco and the inflation busting increases in council tax that they rely on us not noticing buried deep in our bank statements each month.

The video covers the salient points. One of the questions asked that I didn't cover was about the Heritage lamp posts in Cheam with a LibDem councillor blaming Boris Johnson personally for the threat to their future. This did not take into account Boris' personal attention to the matter after Steve O'Connell, local Conservative GLA member asked him a question in Mayor's Question Time on my request. A conversation with people in Boris' office opened up a new dialogue with the Council which looks like resulting in a satisfactory outcome for Carshalton and Cheam who are both affected by the same problem. Meanwhile, the Sutton LibDem MP has had his photo taken waving a petition that is yet to surface beneath a Cheam lamp. As a resident who wants to see Sutton change for the better, I'll take action over showboating and empty promises any day.


Anonymous said...

Very good video, Paul and one which should be seen by every resident of Sutton. I fear that the Sutton Guardian, though not quite the mouthpiece of the Lib Dem council that it once was, is still not reporting Conservative initiatives sufficiently well. For example, the visit of David Cameron to answer questions from all comers at SCOLA on Tuesday hasn't appeared on the Guardian website yet. There is a more sensational article making him look like "photo-op Burstow", but nothing so far on the political nature of his visit. Of course I reserve judgement until I receive the hard copy!

On the subject of Sutton Council, is it possible to get across to people that council tax here is more than double what they pay in Wandsworth? And is there a way of finding and publishing how many people they employ at various salary bands, and what their total wage bill and pension liabilities are?

Anonymous said...

yes Burstow does like a good photo op doesn't he! i remember getting a leaflet from him that had zillions of pics of him, it was pretty vain..but what does he actually do?

Frankly i haven't got a much influence does he have in Westminster?

good video Mr is nice to see politicians communicating like this, which was one of your points in your video.


Anonymous said...

It was interesting for sure particularly for me! I thought I was quite 'restrained' after being insulted like that so will save myself up for the Executive in december. At least I didnt call anyone a 'berk' despite several decent opportunities!

I crashed Mr Canerons Q @ A session and was impressed, thought he came across as a decent, ordinary guy with a tad of charm thrown in!

Anonymous said...

p.s. thanks for the words on your video. I didnt bother to make my closing speech as after a personal attavk it would have been irrelevant as the children concerned were obviously not high on the priorities of my ex-colleague. The fight goes on for justice for all the disadvantaged in Sutton and, unless I have missed something major in the news, discriminatory policies will not be accepted in this country!

Unknown said...


No problem. I see from the papers going to the Executive committee tomorrow morning that a £360,000 saving has been earmarked for the SEN transport changes that haven't been agreed to yet!

Anonymous said...

It was always £340-360k earmarked. I have asked to speak at the executive meeting and I know that at least one other parent will also be speaking. I have a gut feeling that it will go through which will be a travesty and I will be ashamed to represent this Borough as a Councillor if that is indeed the case.

'Don't get old, don't get sick' as was was said. My, how times have changed in politics.

Anonymous said...

Are Sutton ratepayers to understand from the interchanges in the council meeting that even Sean Brennan, the LibDem leader of the council, didn't know that £5.5 million of ratepayers' money had been stashed in an failing Icelandic bank?

If so, that really does seem to be a mighty curious way of running a supposedly transparent, accountable council but then I suppose our's is not to reason why.

Anonymous said...

Btw as for LBS Council following the official guidelines on local authority balances, here are the official guidelines from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, issued on 12 March 2004 and signed out by Trevor Emmott, which included the following lines:

14. The general policy objective is that local authorities should invest prudently the surplus funds held on behalf of their communities.

15. The guidance recommends that priority should be given to security and liquidity. However, that does not mean that authorities should ignore yield. It will be appropriate to seek the highest rate of return consistent with the proper levels of security and liquidity.

Para 14 plainly states that local authorities should invest "prudently" and investing council balances of £5.5 million in a failing Icelandic bank can hardly be regarded as "prudent".

There is bound to be a reason for offering relatively high rates of return on investment opportunities with financial institutions.

In a hard commercial world, there are no free lunches.