|"Stuck behind the Black, Green, Brown and Blue, ...Now I'm wheelie snookered!"|
As the great Tameside ‘Bin Swap’ controversy rumbles on, we were treated this week to an image of our Deputy Leader, Cllr John Taylor, apparently deliberating which bin to use to deposit his weekly letters!
Should it be the Blue Bin for waste paper or the Black, or is it now the Green Bin, for the recycled miasma of political garbage he regularly writes upon it?
Reading his latest drivel, there are times in life when I am unsure whether the imperturbable individual to whom I often refer has not received some authority from some divinity giving him the power to recreate, bend or annihilate the truth.
How, anyone who has benefited from 16 years of cabinet control governance can talk about how proud he is of our democratic process, given our present local authority’s voting system, must know full well that democracy is a total nonentity in Tameside!
Let us not forget that in 2000 it was a Labour administration who forced the vast majority of councils across the country to give up their committee systems and adopt a new executive model of governance.
This cynical move by Tony Blair’s government has had the effect of focusing far too much power in the hands of the Council Leaders (Roy Oldham and now Kieran Quinn) and a few of his hand-picked colleagues, which in effect has allowed this small number of career councillors to make unchallenged decisions; thus undermining all the other ward councillors, who, by listening to the needs of local people, know far more than the cabinet cabal about how their particular areas should be run.
Previously, local authorities could take decisions in full council or could delegate decision making to committees, sub committees or officers. But now, if an individual councillor has eyes on a long career in local politics, they must learn the rule of the greasy pole and don't question the Leaders decisions!
Then we have the voting situation as I’ve pointed out previously and recently touched on again in Carl Simmons excellent blog: http://carlsimmons-independent.blogspot.co.uk/
Today, as it stands with 52 Labour and 5 Tories making up Tameside council; and local elections only concerned with 1/3rd of the council coming up for re-election every 4 years, means that in any local election, even if Labour lost every one of their 19 councillors, Labour would still have 33 out of 57 councillors and would still be in control.
We then read from the heavily blinkered councillor that he and his party was against the alternative voting system in 2011 and crowed about the ‘No’ result in the referendum for electing MP's!
Strange then councillor that the alternative voting system (AV) has now been adopted by the Labour party to elect their new Labour! Perhaps you could explain that in your next letter (or will you duck the question and harp back on the history trail or enthral us with further adventures of a Train spotter?)
I suppose it depends which way the wind is blowing, eh councillor?
If Tameside is ever to return to democracy, two things must happen.
First, the council should return to the committee system.
Secondly, all the councillors should be up for re-election at the same time.