Is democracy an unwanted friend?
Posted By: Dale Mulgrew
Date Posted: 22/07/2011
The latest convening of full Council took place last Wednesday evening.
Admittedly, it was not the best version of Council I have attended. It did get off to an awkward start; with a stop-start debate marking an attempted foray into the ongoing cemetery issue.
However, on three separate occasions during Wed’s meeting there were instances which seemed to suggest a theme being developed? I hope this theme does not turn into a signature tune for future meetings, rather it was only a Leitmotif associated with this one meeting.
The first instance was the Council Leader’s explanation around why joint working had broken up with Oldham. It struck me he was attempting to suggest he had all party support for Rochdale’s withdrawal from the joint chief executive talks.
In fact, there had been an all party advisory panel set up at a previous council meeting. The members of this panel were to join colleagues from Oldham on discussions around shared services.
But when the Council Leader’s explanation was poured over it was discovered that this panel's members had been summoned to a recent meeting, only to be told of the decision made by the Council Leader. What is the point in setting up an advisory group if they are not asked to advise?
Then during the part of the meeting when there is a chance to question those councillors appointed to Cabinet, I posed a question to the Portfolio Holder for Health, Social Care and housing – Cllr Robinson. The question was about the Pennine Acute Hospital Trust and I even submitted the question in writing beforehand.
In response, I was informed that as my question did not relate to her report she would not be answering it.
How odd given that this Councillor holds the responsibility for health? By ignoring questions from fellow councillors there is a skilful evasion going on: both from the representatives the public have put forward, and also from the very public themselves - who expect politicians to respond to local affairs of the day.
Finally, later in the meeting there were remarks directed to the Portfolio Holder for Environmental Management - Cllr Martin Burke. Such important issues raised by different councillors ranged from the cost of hiring community football pitches, to the future of the cemetery consultation. The portfolio holder responded by suggesting he had no wish to comment on anything because he could not be bothered!
So, on three separate occasions during Wednesday evening’s meeting we saw how the Labour administration wants to treat their democratic accountability. In short, this is clearly viewed as an inconvenience for them.
For Labour, democracy appears an unwanted friend.
More Entries By Dale Mulgrew
- Walking with a Smile! Date posted: 29/05/2012
- An act of betrayal: introducing the Rochdale Labour Party Date posted: 29/02/2012
- "Joint working" - surely the only way forward Date posted: 06/08/2011
- Swings and a roundabout Date posted: 12/05/2011
- Well done Elwyn! Date posted: 14/01/2011
- New votes for old Date posted: 03/01/2011
- Councillor diaries - they should be used more, but……… Date posted: 08/06/2010
- My Report to Council Date posted: 15/01/2010
- My report to Council Date posted: 19/10/2009
- My Letter to RBH Date posted: 16/09/2009
- NEW BROAD LANE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS Date posted: 19/08/2009
- My report to Council Date posted: 23/07/2009
- CABINET MEMBER REPORT TO THE COUNCIL Date posted: 01/05/2009
- Fuel Poverty and a Poverty of facts! Date posted: 15/04/2009
- Setting the record straight Date posted: 13/02/2009
- My Report to Council Date posted: 10/02/2009
- First Class Care. Date posted: 06/01/2009
- My report to council Date posted: 17/10/2008
- My report to council Date posted: 07/10/2008
- My report to the Council. Date posted: 13/02/2008
- Individual at the heart Date posted: 07/09/2007
- Schools decision has to be the right one Date posted: 05/06/2007
- Trust in the future for sport and culture Date posted: 20/03/2007
- All the World is a Stage Date posted: 07/03/2007
- Speech given at Council on the 7th of February: the crisis besetting the future of Greater Manchester Police Funding. Date posted: 07/02/2007