Friday, 23 January 2015

Medway Council Meeting – 22 January 2015

I thought I ought to write something about this as we are approaching the local (as well as national) elections, and this was bound to have an effect. Although I couldn't stay until the end, as something cropped up and I needed to return home to deal with it, I caught enough to be able to tell precisely what was going on.

Fortunately the meeting was video-recorded, so I hope a straight, unedited copy of that will be uploaded to a publicly-visible site such as YouTube n the days to come (it's not there yet). So much of what I have been saying for several years will become clear to the truly observant that many of the public – reading what ends up being written in the local newspapers – will probably never realise!

Here are some thoughts I hurriedly posted to Facebook last night, assembled here for convenience and with a little 'fleshing-out' where that could be helpful...

Labour Gaffes

I got a signal (on one of my communication devices) that required me to leave this evening's meeting of the full Medway Council in order to deal with something from back here, but not before I had witnessed several Labour gaffes in their attempts to secure headlines from the no doubt broadly compliant (complicit?) journalists present.

There were several gems for anyone paying proper attention – and the meeting was video-ed so it will be possible (for the first time!) for readers here to see for themselves what I mean when I mention these things – though this is my favourite, from the Labour group leader...

Good ol' Vince: he said that the Labour group rarely call-in decisions (i.e. bring Cabinet decisions before the Full Council, as they are entitled to do) as they do so "only when they have a concern" (or very similar wording).

This of course means that they have no concern about most of the Cabinet's decisions – and yet, purely for party political purposes (and again this will become evident to anyone listening closely to what actually transpired) they spend most of their time at Council whingeing or otherwise criticising those very decisions.

In fact, on an almost trivial matter, the same individual gave their true game away much earlier in the meeting. He actually had a valid point, regarding the council's official Twitter coverage, and I'd have had some sympathy with the thrust of his case had it been handled properly – comfortably in advance of this meeting.

If he had, it could have been put in place for this meeting (which it should have been); but because this was a purely party political manipulation technique designed only to grab headlines, he left it until this evening – when it was obviously too late to do anything – to make his point.

Thus you get to understand something of the true nature of Labour: it isn't (and never has been,by the way) about 'right and wrong', only about what serves themselves. Note that they clearly weren't interested in getting the Twitter coverage in and of itself.

 The Fool On The (Lodge) Hill

Another interesting event at this evening's Council meeting was the result of a know-it-all (self-confessed) hot-head whose lack of understanding meant that he dug himself into a hole. This is a result of one of those I have been coaching getting above themselves and thinking they 'know it all', despite all my cautionary advice.

If the individual concerned had come to me, I could easily have explained the issue's history, posed a rhetorical question or two to aid comprehension, and predicted what was going to happen if he attempted this course of action. I'd also have suggested a better approach.

Instead of that, he went his own way, switching political parties in the process and is now beginning to look ridiculous, despite a predictable by-election success that he is labelling a 'referendum' (it is glaringly obvious that it was and is nothing of the sort).

This individual has a HUGE amount of growing-up still to do – and, quite frankly, was never suited to elected office: the peg simply cannot fit the hole, which always means more harm than good is done, eventually. Very few who end up in this kind of situation have the wisdom to recognise this truth, so I am expecting some not very good times ahead, and the lesson to be learned the hard way.
Ah well, so be it...

Questionable Practices

Yet another aspect of the past evening's Council meeting was the well-known 'trick' of asking a seemingly-innocuous question, which is published on the agenda and for which an answer can be prepared in advance, and then the infamous 'supplementary' question that is the real (political) question.

We had several examples of those, all from prominent (and well-known) Labour party members and former candidates in elections gone by and one Liberal Democrat former candidate. One of them was new to me, but I'd known the others for some time: the names Garrick, Heathfield, Jeacock, Munton and Pranczke might ring the odd bell or two with any readers who have been following the scene here for a while.

Earlier Council agendas will show not only these same questioners turning up time after time, but the records of those meetings (i.e. including the supplementary questions) show the true, purely political motivations of these five – and a few others not included in this meeting's batch..

Again, this will be most evident from the video-recording of the meeting once it becomes available (I am assuming it will be uploaded for public viewing), and the purely political manipulation of what was always intended to be a helpful adjunct to the regular 'public questions' agenda item will be seen for what it has largely become.

Paying Attention

It is amazing to me how poorly-informed many opposition councillors are, even those who had spent time as part of the ruling group. Time after time in the 'Questions from Members' section of the agenda even political group leaders got basic facts wrong so were asking useless, irrelevant or nonsense questions, wasting their opportunity to achieve something of value.

I have already touched on one of these above, but the Lib Dem leader's question made reference to 'a large number of contracts with Medway Citizens Advice Bureau'. Well, perhaps two is a large number to the Lib Dems – it would be no worse than Ed Balls' recent inability to cope with counting to three, as in the short video clip I posted on my Facebook page earlier this week...

There was also an attempt to portray the Conservative Group as split on an important issue, but again – because of focusing on the political goal of the questioner rather than the (non-)issue – it fell completely flat. It is a lesson that Labour folk in particular never seem to learn, as their aims are completely skewed by their near-enough desperate need to jump on anything they think they can use for their own political advantage. Time and again, down the years, we have come to realise that this truly is the be-all and end-all of their (literally) miserable existences.

Indeed, the tenor of all of that party group's offerings to that point in the meeting were easily shown to be exactly as they had been for a decade and a half at least (I quote that time period because I can personally attest to its veracity)which is to continually 'knock' Medway and paint a dreary picture that does not accord with reality.

Not that the almost-rosy picture the Conservatives like to paint is accurate either, though in reality it is a lot closer to what those of us who are 'out there' a lot find and can feel (well, at least Sensitives like myself, who can tell more than merely what people say and their general demeanour,though of course I take those fully into account as well).

Bearing in mind that I live in a predominantly Labour-voting area, with its consequently expected moan-at-anything outlook, perhaps surprisingly it usually takes prompting to generate negative reactions here – though I have witnessed Labour people doing precisely that, in order to 'manufacture' the response they want rather than what is true. I could cite specific examples; and one day I expect I shall write a detailed post containing a number of those, just to drive the point home.

Some people like moaning (it's a convenient way to shift blame, among other temptations) so it's always easy for those coached in the ways of Labour campaigning to produce a falsified picture of life here. If the public paid sufficient attention too, in this case to how they were being statistically manipulated, perhaps they could discourage Labour by providing no usable results for them.


Overall, at least in the two-and-a-quarter hours that I witnessed first-hand, I'd have to say that the opposition (especially Labour) achieved very little for themselves politically, despite a lot of bluster – though, interestingly, not as much as I had expected. The public gallery was sparsely occupied, without the usual Labour-supporting claque, and remarkably quiet and well-behaved.In fact, it was one of the less unpleasant Medway Council meetings of the past year or more.

Of course, Labour leader Vince Maple's big opportunity will come late next month at the Budget-setting meeting, where he will have unlimited time to make his usual national politics speech (nothing really to do with the business of the meeting, purely party political posturing). After that, there will be one more regular Council meeting before May's elections, in late April, and that will be where the rest of the fireworks will be set off.

1 comment:

  1. John look beyond the question. You are usually good at that. If CAB can't issue the Wonga report which is almost a 1000 days late because of claimed resource issues for which they have been paid for. How the hell can they be granted more contracts which they clearly cannot support. Don't believe me speak to Tracey Crouch,she has the details no doubt explaining why she resigned from involved in the CAB Wonga report. Yes one contract may be too many at the moment.

    You are right. The Tory group is no longer spilt because most of the dissents have become Kippers or Independents.


Comments welcome, with 'clean' language, though not anonymous attacks. Note that comment moderation is enabled, and anonymous comments have again been disallowed as the facility has been abused.