Wednesday, 11 May 2011

All the Colours of the Rainbow

Those who know colour theory know that when you mix red and green light you get a nice yellow.
When you mix red and green paint you get a mucky brown colour.

Well, it would seem that Labour are opting for the second option if reports from their group meeting is anything to go by.

What we got was the same old Labour up front in Jo Lovelock and Tony Page and the same old Labour behind the scenes thanks to John Howarth doing the maths (heaven help Reading!) with his election presentation to the assorted masses from the Reading Labour Party and trade unions and even the ghost of Christmas past David Sutton put in an appearance. The unelected puppet masters are back to pull the strings!

Labour have ruled out a coalition with the Lib Dems because it would mean giving up a Cabinet position and they haven't contacted me as of now so I guess I've been ruled out as well!

As a consequence of that, the main plan they discussed was how to dupe the Greens into backing their minority administration whilst giving them nothing to show for it. Expect warm words on blogs and public statements about Rob and Melanie but what is more interesting is what they say in private.

Their two faced attitude can be seen in action where John Ennis has described the Greens as "good people" on his blog - the old smoothie chops. However, locked away in the privacy and comfort of the tribal gathering, he called the Greens "class enemies". I suppose in the crazy world of New Labour good people can also be class enemies but just make sure you don't tell it to their face or they might not want to trust you.

Previous experience shows that once any minority administration is in place Labour will simply stick two fingers up and get on with their own agenda whilst sniggering behind their backs about how easy it was to fool everyone.

Yet even a minority administration has to set a legal budget so the Greens or Lib Dems are in a position where they could demand and get a lead councillor role out of any negotiations. They have no intention of talking to the Lib Dems so that leaves the Greens. If they are told by Labour they can't have a lead councillor then they are being conned.

Last year Labour offered the Lib Dems nothing. They will do the same to the Greens because they are incapable of sharing power, or more accurately losing control of the cabinet agenda, letting other parties know what they are up to and gaining equal access to information which is what coalition means.

Make no mistake, the Cabinet is where the power is, not the Full Council. Attempting to moderate decisions during full council has no effect. Full Council only sets policy, it doesn't run the council. For that you need to control the Cabinet. It's why Labour will fight tooth and nail to keep it all to themselves.

What the Greens do is completely up to them and their members and I know how much it is a difficult decision to make so I don't envy them. However, I think a warning is not out of order.

Reading Labour are duplicitous. Watch your step.


Jane Griffiths said...

the Cabinet is where the power is, not the Full Council

er, no. It is with the Executive Committee of Reading Labour Party as far as Labour in Reading goes. If a Labour Cabinet is formed, with or without the Greens, they will be puppets. Of this you can be sure.

Was said...

What is less known is that Labour's dying throw of the dice was to force councils to follow the "strong leader" model.

This means that instead of the Cabinet being elected one by one, the leader of the council is elected and then can appoint whoever they want to the cabinet without a vote. He/she has final authority over all decisions, it is no longer the lead councillor.

Greens beware - and Labour may be soon regretting their choice of leader!