The First Cabinet meeting has seemingly established the pattern for the year with Labour complaining about "Punch and Judy politics" then resorting to the language of the playground. It was immensely amusing.
What is becoming abundantly clear that a deal has definitely been done behind closed doors by the Greens with Labour. Jo Lovelock as good as admitted it when challenged to reveal Labour's agreement with them she said: "We have published all there is to be documented" rather than there is no agreement. We know that even the Labour group are not stupid enough to commit to promises in writing so I actually believe her when she says that there are no more documents to be published.
You see, it's the verbal promises that we're interested in. The little "we'll see what we can do" accompanied by the nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.
The alternative scenario Labour would have us believe is that the Greens are so incredibly stupid that they handed over power to them for absolutely nothing. Are we really to believe that Rob White is as dumb as to not only give them the Cabinet for no agreement but to lie on record about who he was going to vote for as Mayor and then change his word and lose any claim to integrity he felt he had simply for a pat on the head?
In fact there was evidence of an unwritten agreement when Rob White walked out of the Cabinet meeting before the agenda item discussing the most important thing for the council over the next year - the finances. You can't help the poor and vulnerable if you don't have any bloody money. Thanks to the Greens a call-in of any cabinet decision requires all opposition councillors on the committee to vote for it - including them, which is never likely to happen.
His walk out before the discussion on the budget item was therefore very telling. It is so obviously part of their secret deal that the Greens will ignore any financial papers and leave it clear for Labour to rubber stamp their own budget without any scrutiny. Because if it wasn't part of any deal, it was a staggering abdication by Rob White of his responsibility from someone taking public money to scrutinise what the administration are doing. We know what that really signified. The Greens will see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
You can see how future budget discussions will go. The nervous glances from Rob to Jo to make sure he is saying the right thing. The pre-briefing to make sure Labour and the Greens use exactly the same rhetoric. The charade of "sitting on their hands". Must have been worth at least a tummy tickle.
As for the rest, the price of failure for Graham Hoskin has been that Labour are now woefully lacking in talent, with only John Ennis and Mike Orton looking like they will be able to hold their own over the next year.
Morning star and Reading West candidate Rachel Eden would be lost without her script to read. The trouble was, when the pesky opposition don't actually make the points she thought they were going to make made her pre-written ramblings look very very silly.
Jon Hartley, I have to say, is putting in a bravura performance as dead man walking before he loses his seat next May. All very reminiscent of that other Park coward, John Howarth and his final year's blustering before it ended in ignominy. It won't help you Jon unless you start stabbing the Greens in the front.
Perhaps that's the deal. Hartley leaves Park with only a whimper to allow perpetual loser Richard McKenzie to stand again and so allow the Green's to win a third councillor in exchange for Green abstentions throughout the year. After all it makes no difference whether Park has a Labour or Green councillor. One way or another Labour can count 100% on their support.