Thursday, 29 May 2014

A rainbow alliance!

Well if the Echo is to be believed we are a whisper away from a joint Independent Party/Labour/Lib Dem administration which is along the lines I anticipated a few days ago. I will save any comment on that until I hear “the fat lady singing” but 2 elements of today’s Echo piece made me smile. Firstly even before the deal is struck we are being told that recent decisions on sea defences, care homes and libraries will be reversed. I am not sure if this is an agreed policy, a negotiating ploy by one of the potential parties or journalistic license on the part of the Echo but it does seem to me strangely premature to start leaking policies before you have control of the petty cash tin! Ignoring the merit of those decisions, which I am happy to justify, they all have significant financial ramifications and there is no indication how they intend to make the books balance. The opposition parties were notably silent in their willingness to identify any alternative savings during the last budget so I am sure we are all waiting for their detailed proposals with bated breath. I was also amused to note that Cllr Ron Woodley is quoted as saying “If I were asked, I would be prepared to stand again. I’d treat it more as guidance than leading”. Ron has been telling anyone who will listen for some months that he was the Leader in waiting and is assisted by the apparent reluctance of any other Indie, Lib Dem or Socialist to volunteer for the job. I suspect that in a popularity vote almost any other candidate from the Lib Dems or Labour would be in with a shout. His reputation is that he has a desire to be rather more controlling than his quote suggests but more significantly the Council will need strong Leadership both within the Civic Centre and the wider region if it is to survive the challenges of no overall control. Guidance alone is not enough for a modern upper tier council Leader – particularly in these challenging financial times.

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