Friday, April 20, 2018

Best and the worst of Cumbria County Council

Yesterday's annual meeting of Cumbria County Council showed the authority at its best and worst.

In the "best" column were the dignified and warm tributes to Cllr John Bell, who finished his term as Chairman of the Council for his work during the 17/18 civic year and to Cllr Elizabeth Mallinson, who was elected to take over from him and became only the third woman to be Chairman of Cumbria County Council since the creation of the authority in the 1970's.

Also the discussion on the Public Health Annual Report, an excellent document which you can read here, an excellent session during which some excellent questions were asked and important points made from all sides of the chamber.

And I was pleased to join in the support from all parties for a motion on reducing plastic waste.

(I thought for a moment that there had been one vote against, until I realised that we were actually voting at that point not for the actual motion itself but on a procedural motion to move to the vote, and the councillor concerned had wanted to speak about the motion itself, which was then carried unanimously a few seconds later. Judging by the reactions around the chamber I was not the only person to have made that mistake.)

However, in the "worst" column was some party-political sniping and personal attacks on the subject of schools in Cumbria which added nothing constructive to the debate and appeared to me to be more aimed at gaining electoral advantage for the people making the speeches concerned than doing anything to help the young people who attend schools in the county.

Bit of a waste of effort, though - I doubt if there can have been many floating voters in the chamber and I doubt if the press will report the comments concerned. It would not, however, in my humble opinion, have been likely to impress any ordinary voters who did hear those comments.

5 comments:

Jim said...

yeah, been that way for years, watch PMQs any one of them, and its all a big party point scoring exercise, none of them actually want to do anything useful.

and most of the points they are trying to score are achieved by other people in spite of not because of the govt.

Chris Whiteside said...

At the time they get involved with politics at any level most people who do so are motivated at least partly by a wish to serve the public and have at least a few ideas about how to do so. Many of them retain some capacity to act on those motivations and ideas.

It actually makes it all the more annoying when you see that people do have the ability to make a positive contribution - which, incidentally, most of them do for a much larger proportion of the time than the public generally sees - and then you see them acting like overgrown children at "spectacles" like PMQs and full council meetings, which are what gives many of the general public their impression of what politics is like.

My knowledge of history tells me that people of my age have consistently complained about behaviour getting worse for two and a half thousand years, and they cannot all have been right, so I take my own perceptions with a degree of healthy scepticism, but I genuinely do think that the behaviour of people involved in politics has significantly deteriorated in this decade, including both the "offline world" and internet/social media campaigning.

It's not only the "old guard" either - some (though by no means all) newcomers to politics such as a good chunk of the membership of Momentum, UKIP, "Cybernats" and, closer to home, certain "independents" in Copeland (again, not by any means all of them) have shown a lamentable propensity to go for the jugular of anyone who takes a different view, launching into personal attacks or code of conduct complaints at the tiniest excuse.

Jim said...

are you aware that for the first time in a long time the UK has actually gone 55 hours without burning any coal?

Chris Whiteside said...

I did hear that we've just had our first ever day when no coal was burned to produce power in the UK, yes.

Chris Whiteside said...

Have just added a blog post about it.