Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Kerb Your Enthusiasm

You have to take off your hat to Tony Page for giving a breathtaking display of chutzpah that seeks to hide a party completely bereft of ideas.

His latest lapse into losing touch with reality is his claiming the credit for "forcing" the council to have a public consultation over the problem of kerbside parking. Of course, it is nothing of the sort. There is no victory for Labour. It is a loss for local council tax payers and the local democratic process.

What really happened is that as part of the consultation process all councillors were asked to consult with their residents and send a list of local streets that they would like to see exempt from the scheme which, and let's not forget this, would be extremely popular in many areas.

It's what a councillor is meant to do - represent the community they are elected to serve. It is all covered by the council constitution.

Instead what really happened is that all the Labour councillors wailed and failed in their constitutional duty to participate in representing and advocating the residents who elected them.

The council constitution is quite clear:

2.3 Roles and functions of all Councillors
(a) Key roles All Councillors will:
(ii) act as community advocates and leaders by:

  • promoting and representing the Borough and the local communities and bringing their views into the decision-making processes of the Council and partner agencies;
  • being the advocate of and for their ward and local people and communities living within it, including responding to petitions;
  • providing information to, and promoting local democracy, participation and engagement by, sections of the local community
It was the Labour group completely refusing to do the work that they are constitutionally obligued to do and for which they collectively get paid over £150,000 a year to participate in that has meant that a costly exercise will now have to be carried out. It's because the coalition is committed to public consultation that residents will now have to pay the cost of Labour taking the ball away.

So let's have none of Cllr. Page's nonsense and his Road to Damascus conversion to the joys of public consultation. What Tony Page is actually proud of is costing council tax payers £20,000 for a Borough wide consultation because he and his group reject in principle their duty to perform the functions that are the basic reason they were elected. If he and his cohort had been doing their jobs that money could be spent on something else. But no doubt he'll whine about savings needed to pay for it as well.

Perhaps the real problem is that Labour councillors refused to consult the public over so many things over the last 23 years that they've completely forgotten how to do it.

I think there is a serious case for breach of the council constitution and a reclaim of £20,000 from the Labour group to fund it.


Free Thinker said...

You're so right. Reading Labour has no idea what a genuine consultation is. The group never did it themselves when in power so it's a foreign language to them now.

I'm sooooo bored of Reading Labour just protesting against everything the Tory/Lib Dem coalition implement or consult about. They're devoid of any ideas............


Reading Labour were as beneficial as an ashtray on a motorbike when in power - thank the lord for change.