Friday, 20 May 2016

Change of Council control

I did dip in to the webcast of last night’s Council Meeting to enjoy the return of Conservative colleagues to power. I am particularly delighted for John Lamb, who having spent 7 years as my highly capable, enthusiastic and loyal deputy deserved his chance at the top job. I am sure he will do very well.

I was also pleased to see the return to the cabinet table of a number of my former colleagues namely James Courtenay, Lesley Salter, Mark Flewitt, Tony Cox and Andrew Moring who have proved their ability and commitment in the past and will have learnt from that experience. Ann Holland is also a very experienced and well regarded former cabinet post holder and will provide strong support for John. This team return with detailed knowledge of their portfolios and the issues facing the Council and will be well able to step up to the urgent problems and demands which they have inherited from the Rainbow Alliance.

The one surprise is to see the appointment of Trevor Byford. He clearly has considerable technical expertise however in my time on the Council I cannot recall him ever contributing to full council meetings or the scrutiny meetings I attended. As cabinet holders the ability to perform in the chamber, in scrutiny committees and in the wider community is essential and we will see how he gets on.

I was sorry to see no cabinet role for Derek Jarvis. He remains in my view the best Culture Portfolio holder we have had and I hope his experience in this area is not lost.

I have to admit to finding Cllr Ron Woodley’s singing contribution to his departure speech cringingly embarrassing. It did not help that he is no great orator or singer but his other problem is that for someone who has generally performed in the chamber in an aggressive and confrontational manner it makes it difficult to suddenly switch in to Mr Happy. In my experience the only former Leader who could pull off a light hearted delivery without seeming ridiculous was Charles Latham who even gave much of one notable budget speech in rhyming couplets – alas before the introduction of webinars. He was a consensus politician liked across the Chamber but even he would have struggled with bursting in to song!

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