Friday, 27 November 2009

Ray of light in bad tempered Council meeting

Last night's Full Council Meeting was the most bad-tempered I can remember, though more about this later. The one ray of sunshine was Cllr Nick Wallis announcing, two months after he had rejected my call for the Council to sign up to the 10:10 climate change agreement, that he had in fact just signed the Council up to 10:10.

This was a remarkable about-face and Nick is to be congratulated for admitting that he had changed his mind in the intervening period, though maybe the threat of the Lib Dems bringing our own motion committing the Council to 10:10 had something to do with it.

I did, of course, welcome his action and expressed the hope that he would follow my lead in other matters over the coming months.


miketually said...

Does this mean that a small tractor won't spend 2 days driving backward and forward across Stanhope Park with a leaf blower attachment, before a third day spent with a diesel-powered leaf 'vacuum cleaner'? Assuming this 3 days in a small park is multiplied across all the parks in town, that's a lot of CO2 just to remove nutrients from the park!

You should try to push the Council to pay the maximum it can for travel expenses on sustainable transport and the minimum for personal car use.

james said...

You've done a lot of work on the environment this week, Mike.

The talking together event went well, your fellow liberals were quite taken with my suggestion of returning bus services to council control... Centralising socialist tendencies within Darlo's liberals! How shocking...

I don't think that Nick was ever opposed to signing the council up to 10:10, it's just a matter of perceived feasibility. I'm glad that the debate between you guys was cordial - it's a much better way of doing politics, focusing on the policies.

Apologies for detaining you with my questions the other day, Mike. Still very concerned that your party's leader isn't clear on who the lib dems would back. One thing I never asked you was that if you didn't feel at ease with "centralising" Labour, why didn't you join the Tories? Probably be having a greater electoral impact and better chance of becoming an MP, no? ;-)

Don't be too upset about the bad tempered thing - the man himself says it's just part of the game. Don't take it too seriously, it's only politics!

Mike Barker said...

Hi James,

Join the Tories???

There are some things which sit deep in one's soul:

one is having nothing to do with Barclay's Bank - everyone with any liberal or left leaning tendencies who was at University in the seventies will know why;

another, from a working class lad who made it to a Grammar School in the sixties, is an antipathy towards the party of class and privilege. Even if, occasionally, you may see us support the Conservatives in the Council Chamber, and even if I like some of them personally, don't be fooled into thinking I could ever have become one of their number.

I think I need at sit down now, at the very thought of it.

Mike Barker said...

Oh, yes. I don't think "upset" is the word I would use. I think "angry" would be better.

Here we had the senior Labour politician in the town, who is responsible for taking the political lead against the problems caused both to individuals and society by excessive consumption of alcohol among the under-18s in the town, denying in public, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, that we have a problem in Darlington.

A senior politician who was clearly not in control of the facts and who failed, despite having had 48 hours notice of my question, to come up with an explanation or justification for his claims.

A senior politician who, unable to refute my allegations that he was undermining the work of Colin Shevills by directly contradicting him in public, made a personal attack on me, knowing full well that I didn't have the right of reply, in order to cover up for his own pathetic inadequacies.

It is Bill Dixon who is a disgrace to this town. We need someone with more enlightened views in charge of his area of policy and someone who has not been in power for so long that they have closed their minds to any views but their own. Someone who will take the trouble to try to understand the policy areas for which they are responsible, rather than hide their head in the sand and deny that there is a problem.

james said...

You and Bill Dixon had an argument about statistics. I still don't understand what it was all about. As you established in your recent blog post we're up against the might of the drinks industry which promotes binge culture - how do you tackle that with free-market policies at a national level?

I'll ignore the fact that joining the SDP in the 80s and sticking round in the Lib Dems allowed "the party of class and privilege" to stay in power and the neo-liberal policies of deregulation and privatisation to go unchallenged.

What do you make of Nick Clegg's statement that he'll jump into bed with David "Diageo" Cameron if the Tories get most support? Seems the Orange Bookers are running the show in the Lib-Dems today...

Anonymous said...

John Williams was in a bad mood about the named vote. It was time people in the town knew how there ward councillors voted on issues of high importance.
For the record they all voted against the amendment I raised suggesting that Some consultation would be of benefit before disbanding 3 forums!
Williams said the same old about the Lib Dems voting with us, when in fact they voted for the right thing, it just happened we moved the amendment, we have voted with them in the past if what they were suggesting was good.
Martin Swainston got it right when he said it was a vote for democracy.
I will blog about the named vote to name and shame!

james said...

I though the local authority funded the LSP, so I'm at a loss to see how it's a cost saving (the internal market in committee rooms, perhaps?)