Friday, September 01, 2017

When turkeys don't vote for Christmas ...

Here is a quiz with three questions.

1) Which party handed four council seats to their opponents on a plate at the last Copeland Borough Council elections in 2015 because they could not find enough candidates to stand for the council and hence failed to put up a full ticket in several wards where they previously held all the seats?

2) Which party put a three-line whip yesterday against proposals from the council's all-party executive (including their own then leader, who has resigned over the issue,) backed by independent research, to reduce the size of the same council?

3) If it is the same party, would that be what the more intellectual students of politics might call "cognitive dissonance" and those who prefer more pithy language might describe as "bonkers?"

Surprise, surprise, the answers are

1) Labour

2) Labour, and

3) Yes.

Copeland Borough Council voted yesterday on whether to recommend to the Boundary Commission that the number of councillors should be reduced from 51 to 33 as part of their boundary review. The motion was put forward by Independent Mayor Mike Starkey on behalf of the cross-party executive.

Originally this had not been handled in a party political manner but that changed when the issue came to full council and the Labour group put a three-line party whip against the proposal.

All the Conservative councillors and almost all the Independents voted for the motion but the Labour party voted solidly against and the proposal fell by 26 votes to 18.

After the meeting, Mike Starkie said:
“I’m disappointed that this recommendation to reduce the size of this council has been rejected – and I’m doubly disappointed that it has been rejected in a three-line whipped vote in which the majority of councillors put party politics and self-interest above an independent recommendation."
He added that he will still submit the independent research to the Local Government Boundary Commission (LGBG). The rules allow him to do this - it takes a two-thirds majority for the council to over-ride the mayor and the Labour don't have that.
“I will therefore submit the report to the LGBC that the council size should reduce to 33, supported by independent research, albeit without the support of the Labour group on the council. I thank all the non-Labour councillors who supported this,”
he said. The independent report recommends that the council size should be reduced from 51 to 33 councillors.

I gather that some on the Labour side took offence at one of my colleagues describing their position using the old saying about turkeys voting for Christmas.

Too bad. There are times when people take offence because someone has said something wrong, and other times when people take offence because the truth hurts. And this is one of the latter occasions.


Eshu said...

Labour were wrong to oppose having previously agreed on the executive. Labour were wrong to oppose public opinion. Starkie was wrong to go ahead with plans after being defeated. Gills position, if now on the executive is untenable, and he should be replaced forthwith by Starkie. Its a mess, and is going to get worse. I'm going to buy a supply of popcorn to sit and watch.

Chris Whiteside said...

It's certainly an interesting situation. It will be fascinating to see what the local government boundary commission make of it all.