Discussion Forum
Council Stays Conservative

From Cllr Tim Swift
Friday, 2 October 2009

Thank you for reporting the outcome of the vote over the continuing Conservative leadership on Calderdale Council.

The reasons the Liberal Democrats gave for not supporting the motion are frankly ridiculous. They crafted an amendment that they knew would fail to give them an excuse to abstain.

They even refused to support a more limited amendment which would have censured the cabinet and specifically removed Cllr Reason, the portfolio holder for Health and Social Care.

Their reasons for doing this can perhaps by judged by what happened later in the meeting, when it became clear that the Tories would abstain to allow them to take the majority of the scrutiny chairs and also to throw Labour councillors off a number of influential outside bodies.

There actions in my opinion were totally cynical and have let down everyone concerned about the waste contract issue.

From Jason Elliott
Saturday, 3 October 2009

As a supporter of Kerbside, I am very puzzled by the actions of the Liberal Democrats in this case.

I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to Cllr Battye's explanation (and reassurance that this was not just blatant political manoevering) on this forum in the very near future.

From Cllr Janet Battye
Sunday, 4 October 2009

We don't want the Conservatives to continue to run Calderdale Council - there's a lot that we don't like about what they are doing (or not) for Calderdale and the way that they go about it.

But, we asked for the independent investigation into the Waste Collection contract because, in the first place, we were really concerned about what was happening to Kerbside.

The report has finally been published and its findings are more to do with the way that the Council set the contract up - especially the actions of Officers. The report should be on the Calderdale website so pls have a read of it.

As far as we see it, the responsibility (and blame) on Councillors falls chiefly with the portfolio holder but the report also refers to a failure of scrutiny. The Council has been run for the last 3 years by an arrangement between the Conservative (who run the Cabinet) and Labour (who run Scrutiny) so we think that they must share some of the blame.

So it doesn't feel right to us to go into an arrangement with Labour at this time and under these circumstances to run the Council. We're only 6 months away from major elections (both Council and General elections) - we want to do things differently in Calderdale Council and although we think that we could have got started very quickly on making some changes, we don't want to put the Council through any more upheaval than need be.

Coincidentally at the same Council meeting, there was a report on changes to the structures within the Council and this was the opportunity for us to propose the sharing out of the chairing of the Scrutiny Panels that we've been asking for for the last few years. Very regrettably, Labour chose not to be part of that. So we've now got to get on with the job of calling the Cabinet to account through Scrutiny.

From Graham Barker
Sunday, 4 October 2009

I’ve got high regard for Janet as a person but her explanation for the failure to get rid of the Tory cabinet doesn’t wash. She says ‘...we don't want to put the Council through any more upheaval than need be’, but massive upheaval is exactly what the council needs, and it’s long overdue.

Political parties may enjoy playing games with each other, but what about the rest of us? When will our wishes start to mean something? Okay, I’m taking liberties here because I can only speak with certainty for myself, but I think the public mood has rarely been clearer, yet it has been ignored. Put crudely, a lot of people want heads to roll, and there is now very little chance of that. Cllr Reason - presumably the portfolio holder Janet is talking about - is still in the Cabinet and few would bet on him doing the decent thing and resigning. The Tories are still minority rulers, so what has last week’s vote achieved apart from giving the Tories something to celebrate?

Overall, this has just been an exercise in deck-chair rearrangement, and if the LibDems think it will increase their vote come next election, I think they’ll be disappointed. They had an open goal and missed it. Very few voters will respect them for that.

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