I attended the Annual Meeting of Ipswich Borough Council yesterday evening as one of the invited guests (my other half is still a Councillor!) and was able to witness first hand the transfer of power to Old Labour after 6 and a half years.
Some people at the time the Conservatives went into coalition with the Liberal Democrats back in 2004 had reservations about jumping into bed with the politicians that always look both ways, but compared to Labour control in Ipswich the town enjoyed a very good number of years with below inflation council tax rises and a council tax cut this year and another council tax cut factored in for next year (if Labour stick with the financial plans).
Let’s be frank though, Labour won power this year at the local elections because they lied. They ran the cuts narrative on libraries and school crossing patrols when in fact not one had been cut. Labour also knows Ipswich Borough Council is responsible for not one library or crossing patrol as these are Suffolk County Council responsibilities but they still proceeded to cleverly confuse County and Borough with the electorate. In short, they scared the electorate into voting Labour. The Conservatives can be accused of many things but they would never stoop that low.
With a majority of eight on the Borough Council (huge in local government terms), you would have thought Labour would be magnanimous in victory during the transfer of power last night. Not one bit. Council Leader David Ellesmere used the two motions to appoint his Executive and Committee placings to accuse the Conservatives of “letting the voters down” by not wishing to sit in the Cabinet (also known as the Executive) with Labour. Does Ed Milliband sit in the cabinet with David Cameron? No of course not and why would he when Labour lost!
This was pure vindictiveness from Labour.
At the same meeting, Cllr John Carnall started his tenure as Conservative leader in terrific form. When he challenged a constitutional point regarding the election of the Deputy Leader, in which he correctly pointed out that the new rules passed by the Council in December mean the Leader of the Council appoints their Deputy rather than the Council electing the Deputy, he was told to “sit down” by newly elected Labour Mayor, Cllr John Le Grys. Moments later officers caught up and realised Cllr Carnall was indeed right and he was allowed to stand up again to make his point after asking the Mayor to apologise, which he refused to do.
Last night was a taste of things to come. I dislike Socialists more than I have ever done after their performance at the Annual Council meeting and look forward to taking the fight to them.
On a side note, our past friends, the Liberal Democrats, took up Labour’s offer for one of their small number (they only have four councillors now) to become chairman of the Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which I chaired last year, after the Conservatives, quite rightly, refused to dance to Labour’s tune. But in typical Liberal Democrat fashion, when it came to the vote on Committee placings, they abstained! They’ll still end up Chairman of this major Committee as the Labour majority was overwhelming during the vote.
The Liberal Democrats look both ways again!
There is one silver lining to losing power at the Council: we no longer have to work with the yellow peril!