Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Andrea Hill

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I have not wished to get caught up in the Andrea Hill saga but this re-tweet from my fellow Conservative blogger caught in my throat.  It is completely ridiculous of Suffolk County Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Kathy Pollard to correlate South Africa apartheid with the resignation of a County Hall Chief Executive in England.

Many people got and are still getting very hysterical about Andrea Hill (which includes many Tories).  They should get a grip.  Many a woman like Andrea Hill works in London and other major cities where her behaviour would be seen as showing leadership, assertiveness, getting things done, innovation, and they are rewarded as a result.
But no, in sleepy Suffolk she is the devil incarnate.

I am yet to understand what she did that was so wrong other than she got paid a lot of money (and possibly because she was a woman), but so do a lot of other successful men and women in this country.  Should we trigger a witch-hunt after them as well?  As a Conservative, I believe in market economics and the market allowed her bosses (our elected councillors) to offer and for her to accept the salary. If it wasn’t the going rate, it would not have been offered.  Personally, I believe £218,000 a year is a too much for a County Council CEO but I wouldn’t turn down that kind of salary if it was offered to me  – I doubt you would too?
Also, I have seen no evidence of illegal activity either, – she was cleared of “bullying allegations” (the usual gambit of Union members when asked to do some work) –  but the way people talk about her you’d think she was a mass killer.  It seems to be a case of the politics of envy.

There is no doubt Ipswich Labour, back in May’s local Borough election, exploited to the maximum the resent people had in Ipswich for Andrea Hill.  Resentment in voters which in my cases was fuelled by their own lack of aspiration and ambition and the associated guilt and jealousy they felt when confronted by someone who is successful (the typical characteristic of a socialist!). But this was by no means the only reason Conservatives lost power at Grafton House.  It had a lot more to do with Labour’s national “cuts” narrative and the made-up library closures plus the collapse of the principle-less Liberal Democrats.

The new CEO of Suffolk County Council will still need to find the £43Million savings – the departure of Andrea Hill will not magically disappear this requirement.  Are we going to vilify Lucy Robinson when she needs to take decisions, hopefully this time steered by the Leader of the Council (rather than the other way round), to cut costs?  Perhaps Mrs Robinson will not be so “aggressive” in her approach but the same result will be required unless Suffolk County Council wishes to go bankrupt.

One good thing to come out of this hysteria has been the replacement of a weak politician in the guise of Cllr Jeremy Pembroke.  I like Jeremy and have always got on well with him, especially when I was Chairman of Ipswich Conservative Party, but he was not capable of getting to grips with his officers and that is fatal in government as Sir Humphrey will walk all over you if you show this weakness. Hopefully Cllr Mark Bee will favour better.

Now let’s concentrate on policy not personality and start getting this County and this Country back on its feet.

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Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

One thought on “Andrea Hill

  1. I have to take issue with the idea that Jeremy Pembroke was a weak politician. Jeremy had his failings, all of which became apparent following the appointment of Andrea Hill, whose management style was responsible for so much resentment within the County Council staff. Jeremy was, however, an excellent leader of the Conservative group leading from Opposition to Administration, taking on vested interests in many decisions that history will prove correct – not least the removal of three tier education in much of the county, an anachronism that children will no longer have to suffer. Jeremy had become weakened by the end and the loss of several key advisors, not least Sue Sida-Lockett, left him more reliant on the Chief Executive than he should have been. But to say he was weak is a major underestimate of the man he was in his prime.

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