Friday, 24 October 2014

Committees - the 2nd damp squib!

I note that last night the 2nd headline initiative published by the Administration bit the dust with the failure to get council approval for a move from a cabinet to committee structure. I should say from the outset that I am a believer in the cabinet system which delivers faster and more effective decision making and has proved itself over recent years. I have commented on this previously. I also don’t accept this guff on the public wanting a committee system or it being more democratic to deal with policy making in committee and by cross party consensus. In my experience the majority of the public neither know nor care what system the council uses to take decisions – the issue for the them is that the right decisions are made and in an effective and responsive manner. It is also my view that the test of democracy and its strength is often the ability and input of the opposition which should be challenging, holding the administration to account where necessary and providing alternative solutions. Surely this is what distinguishes us from puppet governments with pretend opposition. However it does concern me that the current Leader and his party colleagues have been unable to deliver a change when they have been moaning about the cabinet system for so long. I realise that this is in part because of the non attendance of some UKIPers but even so it hardly gives the impression of strong and effective leadership. I also note Martin Terry’s impassioned plea for the retention of the cabinet system because of all the effective changes they have made to it! This actually appeared to be based primarily on the appointment of opposition chairs and vice chairs to scrutiny committees which was already being implemented under the previous administration but did not stop him from berating the system. Of course it’s a bit different when you are in power and the obligation to deliver rests with you but at least it would be good if Martin admitted that this was the reason for his change of heart rather than continuing to hold himself out as the saviour of democracy. Rather more chameleon than white knight. He may also wonder whether those continuing overtures which he and his colleagues have been making to UKIP are such a good idea if their members cannot be relied on to turn up for meetings. It would have been interesting but chaotic if the Indies and UKIP had been able to cobble together an administration.


  1. "It would have been interesting but chaotic if the Indies and UKIP had been able to cobble together an administration."

    Neither can guarantee that their members will actually turn up to meetings, so such an administration would never be viable.

    Also, whilst I enjoy your blog a lot Nigel, I do wish you'd learn to paragraph. The solid blog of text is a bit wearing on the eyes...

  2. Yes chaotic but fun for the bloggers, and how much more entertaining it would have been for you commenting from the opposition perspective!

    Apologies for the paragraphs - I will endeavour to do better.

    1. On this point, I'm not sure that I'm not commenting from the opposition. As regards the committee/cabinet debate, we're on the same side.

      It's a pretty trivial issue as far as most voters are concerned, though it is laughable that the result only happened because two of the UKIP councillors weren't there (including their parliamentary candidate!).