Author Topic: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?  (Read 6461 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« on: October 12, 2010, 04:14:28 pm »
Blogged Here: http://www.geoffreid.com/?p=813



On Thursday the 7th of October 2010 Swindon Borough Councillors held a 'special meeting' of the full council to debate a 're-cast budget' for this year and the preliminary budget proposals for 2011/12 and beyond.

Make no mistake, although this was under-reported by the mainstream media, this meeting was a major political event and will have far-reaching and painful consequences for many 1,000's of  Swindons families.  'Re-casting' their February budget marked the point at which the Conservative dominated Council could no longer hide the fact that Rod Bluh's 'electorally popular'  budget of February 2010 has, (as we predicted), suffered a near-fatal cerebrovascular catastrophe.  Swindons cognescenti will remember that, in February 2010, Cllr Mark Edwards said of his February budget:

Quote from: Cllr Mark Edwards
”Mr Mayor,  fellow councillors, in this budget you will see   irrefutable evidence  that we have a tight grip around the councils   finances and will be  delivering on our commitment for all Swindon, not   just for today, but  for years to come.”

Yes.  With the May 2010 local elections looming large in their Conservative party desk calendars, and Cllr Rod Bluh's Christmas message still ringing in their ears, it is all to easy to see why the leadership of the council selfishly gambled the towns future prosperity for the chance to be re-elected.  Maybe Bluh was desperately hoping that a newly elected Conservative Government would hand down the local government equivalent of a lottery win to plug the Black Hole in his, and Cllr Edwards', budget.

Swindons Conservatives have, quite literally,  managed to give the town a stroke.  When the patient had collapsed to the floor Cllr Bluh immediately proclaimed that he was, in fact, saving the town from disaster.   He then gathered together many hundreds of the public workers responsible for keeping the towns limbs working effectively and, adding insult to the already grievous injuries he planned to inflict on them, summarily told them that many of them would be shortly losing their jobs before leaping happily into his motor car and speeding off to France for his summer holidays at his French Villa.  A case of 'Qu'ils mangent de la brioche' perhaps?

Anyway, returning to the Black Hole Budget theme momentarily, in a blog post with almost that same title, I previously said:

Quote from: Me
“Politically speaking, February 2010 was the month Swindon’s   Conservative councillors once again lined up loyally behind their leader   and his cabinet and voted for a budget which, as several Tory   councillors commented at the time, was reckless and almost certain to   fail and fail badly"

And last week,  Swindons Conservatives once again lined up to loyally support their leader and another of his budgets which is chocked full of  razor blades and axes.  The supporting agenda details and document packs are available here: on the SBC website.

The mood of Conservative cllr's during the 'Special Meeting' on the 7th of October was,  perhaps not surprisingly, subdued.  When the time came for council to vote on Cllr Edwards' 're-cast' budget a request for the vote to be  'recorded' was made, and granted.  Every councillor present in the chamber was individually asked whether they wished to vote FOR or AGAINST the re-cast budget and the councillors were required to respond verbally, and loudly enough, that the entire chamber, (including members of the public sitting in the public gallery),  could hear their responses.

For the record:

Every Conservative Councillor present voted FOR the recast budget.

Every Labour Councillor present voted AGAINST the recast budget.

Every Liberal Democrat Councillor present voted AGAINST the recast budget.

Every Independent Councillor present voted AGAINST the recast budget.

The Mayor and his deputy abstained from the vote, as is usual.


I subsequently requested the details of the recorded vote and published them, alongside pictures of our councillors, on the Talkswindon Forum.  Their pictures, their votes, and the forum discussion topic can be viewed here:  2010 Emergency Budget: The Wall of Fame, Shame, Or Infamy

It seems that a few councillors are genuinely delighted that, possibly for the first time, members of the public can easily see who their councillors are,  how they've voted and what they have voted for.  On the other side of that particular coin I've learned, (via the Swindon Lamplighters network), that some Conservative councillors are appalled that members of the public can easily see who they are,  how they've voted and what they have voted for and, (and I think this is quite telling),  have been telling anyone that will listen that they did not, in fact, vote FOR a budget last Thursday, but were instead voting on proposals for a budget.

The numbers of Conservative Councillors adopting this semanticly confused position is growing quite quickly and 'Budget Denial' seems to be be spreading as fast as Measels in a primary school and the prime suspect for being the main carrier of the  'Budget Denial' virus seems to be Conservative Councillor Mavis Childs of Walcot Ward.

Apparently, at some point before the budget meeting,  Cllr Childs says she spoke to Cllr Edwards about his budget and was 'assured' by him that Councillors were being asked to voted on proposals only, and not a budget per se, and Mavis subsequentlyand loyally voted FOR Cllr Edwards' budget, as did her fellow Walcot Councillor Peter Mallinson.   I obviously can't verify whether Mavis did, or did not, speak to Cllr Edwards and I cannot verify what he may, or may not, have said to her.  All I can say with 100% certainty is this:

1. Swindon Borough Council circulated papers for the Special Meeting which took place on Thursday, 7th October, 2010 at 7.00 p.m, and Councillor Childs was observed to have those papers with her in the Chamber on that night.  The online version of the papers Cllr Childs had with her are available online here.

2. The Strategic Approach to the budget clearly sets out the recast Budget for 2010/11 and the preliminary Budget proposals for 2011/12 and beyond

If that's not clear enough for Mavis and her fellow Budget Deniers:

3. Item 7 on the agenda: Strategic Approach to the Budget for Swindon Borough Council is very clear when,  at 2.2  (3) it states:

Quote
2.2 The Cabinet resolved (Minute 34):

”(1) That the virements set out in Appendix 1 to the joint report,  including the recast salaries budgets following the introduction of the  new Pay and Grading Scheme from April 2010, be approved.

(2) That the consultation responses set out in Appendix 6 to the joint report be noted.

(3) That the “recast” Budget for the Financial Year 2010/11, as set  out in the joint report, be recommended for approval by the Council on  7th October 2010, and, subject to Council approval, the Director of  Finance and Council officers be authorised to implement the changes as  soon as possible after the Council meeting.

(4) That the Council be recommended that implementation of the  proposed increases to fees and charges, set out forconsultation in  Appendix 4 to the joint report, be timed to coincide with the national  increase in VAT from 4th January 2011.


Should we assume that Mavis didn't bother reading the papers, didn't understand them if she did, was bullshitted and bullied into voting FOR the budget by Cllr Edwards or, as seems more likely to me,  Mavis couldn't muster the moral fibre to follow through on earlier hints that she might cross the floor to sit with Swindons only independent councillor.

Ex-Conservative Councillor Stephanie Exell certainly read and understood the papers, couldn't agree with the recast budget and immediately resigned, which was a real shame because, if Stephanie hadn't resigned, I am sure she would be, right now,  pointing out to her old Tory herd-mate Mavis Childs that she'd just voted for a budget that would see every deprived child in Walcot paying more for their swimming but allowed golfers at the Broome Manor course to enjoy 18 holes of council tax-payer subsidised golfing pleasure without any increase in charges.

Councillors actively seek our votes and tell us that they want to represent us in council and serve our communities.  It is entirely reasonable that we take an interest in what they do and say for us, and what the consequences of their actions have on us,  so no,  I do not think that Budget Denial is a viable or believable position for Cllr Childs to adopt.

She voted FOR this re-cast Budget and must now accept that she is jointly responsible with Councillor Mallinson and their other Conservative colleagues, for the way it affects the entire town and the residents of Walcot Ward.  She, and they, will all be held accountable.

The digital age is here Councillors, hiding behind the arcane practices of Quill Pen democracy will become progressively harder and harder for you.

Offline Drone

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 05:38:56 pm »
Why am I reminded of that bit in Fahrenheit 911 where Michael Moore asks the American politicians why they voted for the Patriot Act?


Quote
John Conyers: Sit down, my son. We don't read most of the bills.
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Muggins

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 06:48:36 pm »
I can't see how anyone can try to duck and dive between the terminology of a 'proposal' or a 'full budget vote', if you vote for the proposal it usually goes through the full vote.

In fact you have more chance of stopping a proposal and getting the final document nearer what you want.  Bit crazy this.  Odd. 

Perhaps there is some way of taking it through another vote?  Either way people should know what they are voting for before their hand goes in the air.

The old saying: Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 09:07:51 pm »
Well. of course, Mavis crossed the floor to secure her future, as she saw it. If some Tories are now wriggling it's a sign of the heat they are feeling, and the difficulties which the Council will have in implementing cuts on a grand scale. Time to step up the pressure on them.

And I might add, with the coalition government's final step towards a market in education, time to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems, who should be denouncing their members of the government for breaking a commitment they signed up to: No increase in fees, as I recall.

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 09:57:50 pm »
Okay then.. if this set of 'financial proposals' has been voted through....

then I suppose any redundancies planned or enacted are being undertaken 'for the hell of it?'

I would suggest some one tells semior SBC management as they seem to feel that its set in stone and is good enough to start making staff redundant


When is a budget a proposal? it doesn't matter as SBC are making staff redundant NOW despite these only being proposals

Hypocrites the lot of 'em :censored: :censored: :bash: :bash:
Gardening tips: Always remember its brown side down, green side up.  If its knocking now it'll only go bang later

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 10:45:43 pm »
And I might add, with the coalition government's final step towards a market in education, time to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems, who should be denouncing their members of the government for breaking a commitment they signed up to: No increase in fees, as I recall.
Dirty, scamming, lying, yellow bellied turncoats. When I left school I had no chance of going to university because of the cost, not that I resent that because at the time it was taken as read that uni was for the offspring of the better off. Technical college for me. I thought those days had gone. I had a conversation with Justin Tomlinson, recorded for Swindon 105.5, in which he believed there are too many people going to Uni'. You expect elitism from the Tories but not the Lib Dems. 


Clegg: I Pledge to vote against and increase in fees.



Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 02:13:53 am »
 
Apparently Mavis tried to phone me while I was at work.  Tig said she seemed a little 'curt'.

I don't mind talking to you Mavis, but if you have issues with my blog post I think it preferable that you reply in print

This would, naturally, save me the time of typing out our conversation after the fact.   :)

Offline Drone

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 06:32:57 am »
And I might add, with the coalition government's final step towards a market in education, time to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems, who should be denouncing their members of the government for breaking a commitment they signed up to: No increase in fees, as I recall.
Dirty, scamming, lying, yellow bellied turncoats. When I left school I had no chance of going to university because of the cost, not that I resent that because at the time it was taken as read that uni was for the offspring of the better off. Technical college for me. I thought those days had gone. I had a conversation with Justin Tomlinson, recorded for Swindon 105.5, in which he believed there are too many people going to Uni'. You expect elitism from the Tories but not the Lib Dems. 


Clegg: I Pledge to vote against and increase in fees.

12 years since going to university was technically 'free' and you had a universal grant system. Now we have £3,000 a year fees, soon to be uncapped, and life-long loans soon to run at 2.2% plus inflation (which I wish I could get on my savings account).

We now have three political parties who all support the idea that people should be charged for receiving an education. Would the politicians put their money where their mouth is and charge every working perosn who has benefitted from a university education? No? So you are just screwing the young again, then?
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 10:37:27 am »
Last Thursday at Full Council I had the benefit (should I say that) of viewing proceedings from the public gallery.

It was notable that the Tories enthusiastically applauded Mark Edwards' 'proposals' with one notable exception in Councillor Mavis Childs.  It was all the more of a suprise, therefore, that when the vote was cast that she voted in favour.  Could this anomoly have anything to do with her long chat with Mark Edwards during the break, when he came to her seat?

Now Mark Edwards used the word 'proposals' approximately six times during his summing up speech.  Acccording to the Oxford Dictionery 'propose' means Put forward for consideration, set up as an aim etc.  Does this mean that by virtue of the vote that these 'proposals' have been adopted or is it to be reviewed and voted on further?

Does it mean that the statement by the Lead Member for Adult Services Councillor Peter Mallinson that Upham Road would remain open and that Langton House would not be put up for sale is an aim or a commitment? 

All this is a very interesting play on words and given this administration's propensity to mould facts according to its own agenda wonder where the veracity (truth) lies here? 

Offline Jarvis

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2010, 04:07:05 pm »

It's clear what was being voted on:

(3) That the “recast” Budget for the Financial Year 2010/11, as set  out in the joint report, be recommended for approval by the Council on  7th October 2010, and, subject to Council approval, the Director of  Finance and Council officers be authorised to implement the changes as  soon as possible after the Council meeting.

And Cllr Childs vote helped ensure that the changes are already being implemented.

Red-handed, red faced and bang to rights.

Whether she clapped or not is utterly irrelevant to those who will pay more for stuff, lose services and their jobs. She voted for this re-cast budget.

Offline Menrva

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 04:11:11 pm »
Well. of course, Mavis crossed the floor to secure her future, as she saw it. If some Tories are now wriggling it's a sign of the heat they are feeling, and the difficulties which the Council will have in implementing cuts on a grand scale. Time to step up the pressure on them.

And I might add, with the coalition government's final step towards a market in education, time to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems, who should be denouncing their members of the government for breaking a commitment they signed up to: No increase in fees, as I recall.
I thought it was the electorate that made sure a councillor was safe not the party.

Offline Spectre

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2010, 05:11:37 pm »
Oh dear Quest.

I suggest you look up the meaning of the term "gerrymander". :bash:






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Offline DaveWood

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2010, 06:55:32 pm »
And I might add, with the coalition government's final step towards a market in education, time to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems, who should be denouncing their members of the government for breaking a commitment they signed up to: No increase in fees, as I recall.

Don't count your chickens
http://www.politics.co.uk/news/education/lib-dem-mps-plot-tuition-fees-fightback-$21384742.htm

Offline Mellon

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2010, 08:17:23 pm »
Did mavis not know what she was voting for? If not , what else has she voted through with understanding?
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Offline chrisp

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2010, 10:54:57 pm »
And I might add, with the coalition government's final step towards a market in education, time to step up the pressure on the Lib Dems, who should be denouncing their members of the government for breaking a commitment they signed up to: No increase in fees, as I recall.

Don't count your chickens
http://www.politics.co.uk/news/education/lib-dem-mps-plot-tuition-fees-fightback-$21384742.htm
typical libdems trying to be all things to all people.

Offline chrisp

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2010, 10:57:37 pm »
seems obvious to me.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 10:11:14 pm »

Received several messages tonight, all concerning Mavis's loyal vote for the budget, (in spite of expectations that she would vote against), and why she hasn't crossed the floor in disgust or followed Stephanie Exell out of the door.

I need to confer with others tomorrow morning but it's been sugggested that Cllr Bluh might have bought yet another vote.

We'll see what the morrow brings.

Offline ConDems

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2010, 05:38:25 pm »
Last Thursday at Full Council I had the benefit (should I say that) of viewing proceedings from the public gallery.

It was notable that the Tories enthusiastically applauded Mark Edwards' 'proposals' with one notable exception in Councillor Mavis Childs.  It was all the more of a suprise, therefore, that when the vote was cast that she voted in favour.  Could this anomoly have anything to do with her long chat with Mark Edwards during the break, when he came to her seat?

Now Mark Edwards used the word 'proposals' approximately six times during his summing up speech.  Acccording to the Oxford Dictionery 'propose' means Put forward for consideration, set up as an aim etc.  Does this mean that by virtue of the vote that these 'proposals' have been adopted or is it to be reviewed and voted on further?

Does it mean that the statement by the Lead Member for Adult Services Councillor Peter Mallinson that Upham Road would remain open and that Langton House would not be put up for sale is an aim or a commitment? 

All this is a very interesting play on words and given this administration's propensity to mould facts according to its own agenda wonder where the veracity (truth) lies here?
I was there as well, and I agree with everything you are saying. I am sure that Mavis would not of voted unless she has been strongly assured that it was proposals and could be reconsidered.
ConDems = ConDemns.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #18 on: October 16, 2010, 02:54:29 am »
I am sure that Mavis would not of voted unless she has been strongly assured that it was proposals and could be reconsidered.


Mavis Childs, an experienced Councillor with over a decade in the chamber, ex chair of various committees, member of many working groups and was once a cabinet member for housing.....

....has seen many more budgets proposed, voted on and delivered than the cabinet member for finance who, she alleges, told her that these were mere 'proposals' she was voting on.  It is clear, even to someone with many years less experience than Councillor Childs, what was being voted on - it was a budget:

Quote
(3) That the “recast” Budget for the Financial Year 2010/11, as set  out in the joint report, be recommended for approval by the Council on  7th October 2010, and, subject to Council approval, the Director of  Finance and Council officers be authorised to implement the changes as  soon as possible after the Council meeting.

I propose that Cllr Childs knows her way around the order papers very well and that she knew exactly what she was voting for.  The question is: Why did she do the exact opposite of what she'd led people to believe she would do, and why then offer such an unbelievable justification for doing it?

I don't believe Mavis' 'poor me' routine. She is an experienced politician who knows what she is doing and why she is doing it.  The next question is therefore: 'What is Cllr Childs up to?'


Mavis knows very well that it is incumbent upon her to publicly set the record straight if anything I have said is incorrect.  I invite her once again to set the record straight, (not orally through her private information network), but in the public domain and in print.

I won't hold my breath.  I don't think Mavis will want to commit what she's already said to print.....

I'm off to transcribe Councillor Wakefields speech to type.  When I've done that I'll see if Mavis's conversation with Councillor Edwards has also been snagged....

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Budget Denial: A Political St. Peter Syndrome ?
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2010, 08:09:19 am »
Geoff
Transcribe my speech? That makes it sound so grand  :embarassed: I think you may mean small contribution to the debate ;)
All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

 

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