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Author Topic: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?  (Read 21370 times)

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corium

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #79 on: February 23, 2016, 11:54:41 AM »


What is your view on some of the local issues that have been debated on this forum recently? That's what I'm interested in.

Another thing, I wouldn't really submit Rochdale Council as a reference, controversial council to say the least. What is your view on there 4 Chief Execs in three years, on their Councillors giving references to child abusers and on their Children's safeguarding directorate being placed in special measures?


Hoffnung makes some interesting points however to complain about a lack of discussion on local issues then ask Malcolm to explain his views on Rochdale isn't the most logical approach!

Hoffnung

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #78 on: February 23, 2016, 09:49:31 AM »
Thanks for your kind comments – I’m not the least bit offended about the name mix up.
You asked about my experience. I can tell you about my involvement in local Government, although I can add I worked in Central Government in various posts in my early career which included writing briefs and parliamentary answers for ministers, but this wasn’t party political, as Civil Servants were “apolitical” always.
My involvement in local government started in the area where my work was based in Rochdale. I got involved via my Company in economic development and was asked by the Council to do various things arising from that. I was on the Development Agency Board that attracted new investment into Middleton which revitalised the town centre, including building the Middleton Arena. We were also working on the Rochdale Town Centre as a major project which has now come to fruition.
I developed what was regarded as an innovative childcare scheme with the Council and that lead to me being involved in what was the Children’s’ Partnership and eventually became the Children’s’ Trust. This was the “Children’s Schools and Families” area that came under the Local and National Government Department of the same name. I chaired the Trust from formation and at one stage our Trust was consulted by the Government of the day as one of 6 which were regarded as doing something well which was different. At the time I was the only Independent Chair in the Country. The Trust was a body made up of Councillors of all parties, Council Officers, Social Services, Head teachers, Police, NHS and the voluntary sector. 
The charity work you refer to was another role where Rochdale were successful in a bid for £2.7m of lottery funding for an architectural and heritage project focussed on restoring the buildings of local architect Edgar Wood, a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. This Board which I chair is again made up of local councillors, community and business representatives. We have tangible evidence for our work and have attracted a large number of visitors to the area by linking with other heritage attractions.
I was also the Chair of the Rochdale Council Remuneration Panel and a member from its inception when local government was re-organised into its “cabinet” or “executive” system. All Councils set up independent panels to review what councillors were paid as an allowance and all other related areas such as use of IT equipment and so on. The work we did involved surveying councillors directly on their activities and how they spent their time. We did this in a paper survey but also by talking to councillors. The Panel took formal representations from the Party Leaders in the Council. We developed our own formula for this which we re-examined over the years. We presented our recommendations back to the Party leaders and these went to Council for decisions. This gave me what I feel was a very good insight into the work of Local Councillors, and the workings of council bodies.
None of this was experience as a Councillor but as has been said already, everyone starts with no experience. I think I’ve got some relevant background that gives me a better start.   
I recently stopped full time work and hence my keenness to get involved in the area where I live.


A lot of reasons why I might wish to employ you Malcolm but I can't really find one in there why I should vote for you as a Councillor.

What is your view on some of the local issues that have been debated on this forum recently? That's what I'm interested in.

Another thing, I wouldn't really submit Rochdale Council as a reference, controversial council to say the least. What is your view on there 4 Chief Execs in three years, on their Councillors giving references to child abusers and on their Children's safeguarding directorate being placed in special measures?

Finally you say that you are no longer working full time. What time are you actually working and where?   

Hoffnung

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #77 on: February 23, 2016, 09:36:16 AM »
I've had a look /had someone look at the minutes of about 20 SMBC Full Council Meetings over the last three years. Every one had at least one proposed motion for debate and most had more than one.

Of all those motions I couldn't find one single example whereupon one single Councillor voted against his/her party.

What also struck me in particular was the apparent irrelevance of these motions to the people of Stockport and also the total lack of influence that these  Councillors could have on the issues they were debating.

Some Examples of such debates were;

Northern Rail Station Staff.

Multinational Companies Tax Avoidance.

A Call on the National Media to Report on Peaceful Protests with Sensitivity.

The Trade Union Bill.   

Hoffnung

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #76 on: February 11, 2016, 11:24:21 AM »
[
Well Councillor you should care about comments made by your constituents even if you don't agree with them, you're supposed to care.

Hoffnung, though raises an interesting point concerning councillors when it comes to voting for/against the party line which I must admit I had never really thought about. In the example you quoted Hoffnung, how many did, do you know the answer? 

Simone, in all honesty I really don't know. The information is out there but you would have to trawl through the minutes of 50 separate council meetings to find the answer and I just don't have what it takes to do that. I know somebody that might give me a quick random answer, so I'll try and get back to you on it at a later date, but please don't hold me to it. If I have anything to report then I will. I strongly suspect that over that period there would be very few councillors who have voted against their party line, if at all any.     

GeoffAbell

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #75 on: February 09, 2016, 08:10:05 PM »
Re Independence:
Quote
Heald Green Taxpayers advise they will always vote with the largest party in SMBC, which again in my opinion nullifies their independence.
Not true.  They have voted with us on budget matters, but not always.

There was an example before the 2015 election (so Kenny wasn't there) where a brewery were selling off a local pub, recently closed.  Local residents wanted to list it as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).  This gave them 6 months to try to get a group together to run the place.  I remember listening to the arguments and changed my mind in the meeting, going along with the ACV.


Again, we are trying to make the Marple Area Committee more inclusive - so if any forum members want to talk to councillors or officers, or want to discuss traffic and parking (a theme of this one), please come to the meeting at 5:30pm in the Marple Senior Citizen's Hall.

CllrKennyBlair

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #74 on: February 08, 2016, 02:13:16 PM »
@Condate I mentioned in previous posts it is expensive to run for Council, not from putting your name down on the Ballot sheet, but from running an election campaign. In my opinion, (and it is my opinion and people will disagree) running as an Independent doesn't work. One independent out of 6 Councillors in Marple or 63 Councillors in SMBC means you will be voted down more often than not. Heald Green Taxpayers advise they will always vote with the largest party in SMBC, which again in my opinion nullifies their independence.
I also said before that when I looked at joining a political party I considered all three of the large ones and the Conservative Party aligned most with my beliefs. This means, I am likely to agree with their stance in a majority of cases, but as I said, it does not mean I agree with everything the Party says or does and I will judge each case on its own merits before deciding and voting accordingly. That is all I can really say on the matter, and whether people choose to believe it or not, is up to them.

Condate

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #73 on: February 08, 2016, 01:33:16 PM »
So to summarise, as far as I am concerned and have experience of -
1. I am not whipped to vote a certain way and will vote how I see fit based on the facts of the discussion
2. There are pre-meetings before full Council meetings, but not before Marple Area Committee or any other committee I am part of (as far as the Conservative Party is concerned)
3. A Councillor can have a full time job and fulfill the Councillor role

1) I am glad to hear it. In that case however, why stand as a candidate for a party at all. Why don't you (and all the others candidates) just explain to the electorate what you stand for. We are capable of understanding. We are not so poorly educated that we need a party label to know who to vote for. We can work it out from what you actually say and do. I must emphasise this is not directed at you in particular, nor at any party or parties in particular; it's a general point about how candidates present themselves at elections.

2) I've nothing to say about this.

3) I agree entirely as I've explained in another post.
 

CllrKennyBlair

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #72 on: February 08, 2016, 01:06:21 PM »
@Condate I couldn't agree with you more, well said.

@Hoffnung
Councillor Kenny,

The coalition was formed in 2010. Councillor Patrick was first elected to office as a Labour Councillor for the Manor Ward in 2011. He served for about a year then resigned from the Labour party citing personal financial pressure as his reason. He then sat as an Independent for a short time before joining the Libdems where he served/serves on the Executive.

He didn't object to the coalition - he joined it.
I am glad you agree with me about Cllr McAuley, I did state he went from Lab to Lib Dems. I do wish people would actually read what was written. Point is, you said there had been 3 in last 5 years, I said check your facts as there have been more.
As for your statements about when Councillors need to meet face to face etc etc, I am well aware of this being a Councillor and all, something which you readily admit you have no experience of. So speaking from a position of experience, that you do not have, it is manageable and I have had such meetings as and when required.
As for the other 5 Councillors who could claim the same thing about the fly tipping, I doubt they were even aware.

@simonesaffron I am not rattled, just responding to your posts. The fact you view my comments with scepticism would indicate that you do not believe what I am saying, thereby implying I am not telling the truth. Then again, maybe you are just sceptical by nature. As I said, your choice.

So to summarise, as far as I am concerned and have experience of -
1. I am not whipped to vote a certain way and will vote how I see fit based on the facts of the discussion
2. There are pre-meetings before full Council meetings, but not before Marple Area Committee or any other committee I am part of (as far as the Conservative Party is concerned)
3. A Councillor can have a full time job and fulfill the Councillor role

Duke Fame

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #71 on: February 08, 2016, 12:03:13 PM »
Duke,

All councillors receive a basic allowance. If they have any additional duties/responsibilities then they receive a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA). If you are directly employed by the council then you are disqualified from standing as a councillor for THAT council.  Therefore no councillor has a 'job' with their council, it isn't allowed. All councillors allowances are out there in the public domain if you want to look at them.

Personally, I've always thought that councillors were UNDERpaid. Neither do I understand the huge disparity that exists in pay between Council Officers  and Councillors nor do I understand the disparity that exists between different councils.

For Example the CEO of Stockport Council receives an annual salary approaching £200k whereas the Leader of the council receives less than £40k. If I was running the Council I would take a chunk of money off him and give to her and still have some left over.

In Manchester a councillor receives an annual basic allowance of £16k yet in Stockport its £9k, why is that?

Perhaps Malcolm Allan knows, he chaired a Panel Remuneration Board that establishes Councillor's allowances.

I must say, I've never been interested in the internal bureaucracy of local government but thanks for clearing it up, I understand now.

It's a strange system really, i certainly agree there seems a weird system to have the disparity that exists between different councils and how the council CEO can get paid £200k!!! no council employee should earn more than £50k as the demands of the public sector are not that of a real-world employer.

We seem to have a problem where elected councillors will take the top jobs on the basis of their earning capacity elsewhere. The incentive to take a officer role is very high for someone with limited earning capacity in the productive sector yet the more capable people will pass on the opportunity given their career elsewhere. We therefore see people like Dickie Leese get the top job and frankly make a bit of a pig's ear of it given they have no real world experience.

Not sure I have the answer but a problem nevertheless.

Condate

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #70 on: February 08, 2016, 10:58:27 AM »
An effective Councillor needs to be in his ward and around the council in person 15/20 hours (office hours), so that he can engage with officers) once a councillor is established as an 'email councillor' officers will start to fob him off, if not ignore him altogether. Getting a bit of flytip sorted is not an irrelevance but it is a minor issue and well done for managing it although I suspect the other 5 Marple Councillors might feel that they had some influence too.

There will though be issues where in order to manage them you will need to have a series of face to face meetings with different sets of officers 11am weekday meetings at the town hall, 2pm weekday site meetings and many more. These can't be effectively managed by email from Hamburg.   

Personally, I think there is something badly wrong with the system if a councillor can't have a normal job and still be an effective councillor. I don't wan't my councillors to be occupied in council matters full time. I wan't them to be involved in normal everyday activities; either have a job, or perhaps being retired, or even unemployed but looking for a job. To me, the whole point of the council is that it consists of ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs, who also get together regularly to debate and vote on matters relating to the council area. Perhaps things have changed, but when I first started voting (not in this area), the local councillors were people like the local newsagent and a local train driver and others of that sort, who where well known in the community quite apart from their council role. If things have changed since then, perhaps it's time to change them back.

Hoffnung

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #69 on: February 08, 2016, 10:51:16 AM »
Councillor Kenny,

The coalition was formed in 2010. Councillor Patrick was first elected to office as a Labour Councillor for the Manor Ward in 2011. He served for about a year then resigned from the Labour party citing personal financial pressure as his reason. He then sat as an Independent for a short time before joining the Libdems where he served/serves on the Executive.

He didn't object to the coalition - he joined it.

Hoffnung

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #68 on: February 08, 2016, 10:45:07 AM »
@Hoffnung suggest you check your facts in relation to defections. 3 Lib Dem Concillors defected to Labour in protest at the decision to enter coalition. Patrick Macauley defected from Lab to Lib Dem.

The coalition was  formed in 2010. Councillor Patrick was first elected to office in 201, a year after. He spent about 18 months as a Labour Councillor, then citing 'financial pressure' he left the labour party, sat as an independent for a short time, then joined the libdem, in fact serving on the Executive. So he didn't object to the coalition - he joined it. 

As for the old chestnut about having a full time job and being a Councillor, I have answered that elsewhere on this forum. I manage just fine and is a combination of effective time management, a flexible employer, a very understanding family and modern technology. When I was in Germany this week, I was informed about the fly tipping on Middlewood. I managed to contact Council Officers all the way from Germany and advise them about this and arrange for it to get moved. How is that letting my constituents down?

An effective Councillor needs to be in his ward and around the council in person 15/20 hours (office hours), so that he can engage with officers) once a councillor is established as an 'email councillor' officers will start to fob him off, if not ignore him altogether. Getting a bit of flytip sorted is not an irrelevance but it is a minor issue and well done for managing it although I suspect the other 5 Marple Councillors might feel that they had some influence too.

There will though be issues where in order to manage them you will need to have a series of face to face meetings with different sets of officers 11am weekday meetings at the town hall, 2pm weekday site meetings and many more. These can't be effectively managed by email from Hamburg.   

Hoffnung

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #67 on: February 08, 2016, 10:22:37 AM »
@Hoffnung - yes, I'd find it difficult to have a full-time job too, but it's possible and not for me to judge.

I would like to hear (with your insight - I mean that!) what you think makes a good councillor now that you are free to speak your mind.

Having had no experience as a Councillor myself Geoff, I can't help you there.

simonesaffron

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #66 on: February 08, 2016, 09:51:06 AM »
Councillor Kenny,

You're getting yourself all rattled over a bit of a tease.

Nobody has ever said that you 'lied' that word has not been used, certainly not by me and I don't think by anybody else.

Neither do I hold your presumed 'Typical politician' view. In fact I have known a few politicians over the years and have a great respect for many of them. Voicing your disagreement within your party in a locked room is one thing, pursuing that disagreement into a vote in public view and record and against the party line is another and my own personal experience and research tells me that it rarely happens.

That is all I am saying. 

CllrKennyBlair

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Re: What will happen to Labour and LibDems in 2016?
« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2016, 01:15:16 PM »
Well Councillor you should care about comments made by your constituents even if you don't agree with them, you're supposed to care.

Once again @simonesaffron  you try to twist my words. I didn't say I didn't care about your or any other constituents comments. I said I didn't care how you viewed my comments in relation to this topic about meetings and toeing the party line as you stated you viewed them with scepticism. All i can do is provide you with the information I have and whether you believe it or not is up to you. You have no reason to doubt me as I have not lied to you before but you are probably basing your assumptions on the fact I am an elected representative and therefore classed as a 'Typical politician.' Your choice.