Monday, 13 May 2013

Bootle Labour seem congenitally incapable of giving up their old ways

Polly Toynbee  “the worst of the old Labour party, the knuckle-dragging neanderthal tendency, emerged to roaring opposition to the guests. David Blunkett, John Reid, Jack Straw, Diane Abbott, now unleashed from government, reminded the world how backward, how unprogressive, tribal and sectarian much of the People’s Party still is”.



I caught Peter Kilfoyle (formerly Labour MP for Liverpool Walton) talking on Radio 4 about his time fighting Militant in Liverpool (oddly he didn't mention that he spent some of the key period in Australia) When asked what was so bad about Militant the first two things he mentioned-before even the thuggish intimidation- was that they lacked 'transparency and accountability'.

Many of us consider that under Bootle Labour we have a crisis of accountability and transparency  today in the Sefton Borough.
  • The have used the chairing of Overview and Scrutiny Committees as a bit of patronage. All the chairs are Labour, even the chair of Audit and Governance. Under Labour Chairs the committees have been neutered with many meetings cancelled. The executive has been given a soft ride
  • An alternative path for challenging the executive is via the Area Committees. Labour cannot put their own people in to chair them all as in 1/3 of the borough they have no councillors at all. So they have cut the number of meeting and in central Sefton have produced an area committee which combines vastly different communities across a large geographical area with no public transport adequately linking the communities -Formby,Hightown, Crosby, Blundellsand, Maghull, Lydiate etc
  • Of course we could (and do) turn up to observe the democratic process in action. Legislation compels them to meet in public. But guess what? The decisions are made elsewhere and the public meeting which used to discuss and debate decisions now  last a few minutes. Hatton Style.
  • The Labour Leader usual response is to blame the Government.  This threadbare excuse completely unraveled at the last Council meeting when we were appointing the Health and Wellbeing Board. In line with their usual practice all three places were taken by Labour. This situation was worse than it as first seems as the Southport and Formby Area have separate commissioning arrangements for Health than the rest of the borough and not one local councillor was appointed. The needs of the Southport area with its concentration of elderly people are distinctly different to those in Bootle, but so determined were they to keep all the places to themselves they denied the area any say in the Health and Social Care policy. And they couldn't blame the Government it was in their power to behave properly, but they just could help themselves.
  • I guess the other way to hold the Executive (made up entirely of Bootle Labour Councillors) is to ask questions in public at full council. Observe the response. So respectful of democracy and transparency and aware of the need for accountability. 


As Lord Acton observed: All power corrupts

COUNCIL – 18 APRIL 2013

QUESTIONS RAISED BY MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

 Question submitted by Councillor Dawson to the Cabinet Member – Communities and Environment (Councillor Hardy)

            “Could the Cabinet Member provide her Department’s current best estimate of the likely number of Green Bins which will become redundant when charging comes in (based upon the estimated price for charging included in the 2013-2014 budget assumptions), together with the original (or current replacement) purchase price of those Green Bins in:

            (a)       The Sefton MBC area as a whole

            (b)       Southport

            (c)        Formby

            (d)       Sefton East parishes

            (e)       Crosby

            (f)         Bootle and Litherland”



Response:


“Providing the best estimates at this stage would be inappropriate.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





Well that is, what the kids would describe as, 'pathetic'. We have a right to know and a duty to challenge. What is going happen to the 64,252 green wheelie bins that they expect to be 'given up'? What is the cost of disposal? How much extra will be pay in land fill tax as a result of people putting garden waste in the 'non recycling' grey bin. What is the cost of the fly tipping that will result?How robust are these estimates based on the experience in the Wirral. I ferreted the information out for myself, but frankly the executive should have made the data available without me having to do the job for them. 


The policy is based on 70% of people giving up their bins so why is it inappropriate to tell us? 
Grossly embarrassing, yes, but not a reason for the Labour Part to keep us in the dark 



Sum of green bins by bin type & ward
Wards
G1100
G240
Total
Ainsdale
1
4,987
4,988
Birkdale
0
5,527
5,527
Blundellsands
0
3,739
3,739
Cambridge
5
3,364
3,369
Church
0
1,573
1,573
Derby
0
1,876
1,876
Dukes
1
2,695
2,696
Ford
0
4,971
4,971
Harington
0
4,928
4,928
Kew
0
4,973
4,973
Linacre
0
1,107
1,107
Litherland
0
2,403
2,403
Manor
0
5,124
5,124
Meols
0
5,021
5,021
Molyneux
0
4,922
4,922
Netherton & Orrell
0
4,794
4,794
Norwood
0
5,495
5,495
Park
0
4,625
4,625
Ravenmeols
0
4,995
4,995
St Oswald
0
4,921
4,921
Sudell
0
5,560
5,560
Victoria
0
4,181
4,181
Total
7
91,781
91,788



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