This is exactly the reason why the Lib Dems cannot be trusted at the local level as well as not a people are realising at the national. A secret local Lib Dem document from a North London local authority has revealed the mentality of the Lib Dems when it comes to campaigning against the cuts. The shocking revelations reveal phrases such as:
‘Pick an unpopular cut and champion it’
‘We are not running the council, it is not our problem – it’s theirs’
See what else they said here – LINK – Interesting that they would spend so much time and effort on this without concentrating their efforts on genuinely helping people and offering credible alternative to cuts to local services while at the same time cheerleading the Government cuts programme.
This is exactly what they seem to be doing in Brent. Alarming activity from the Lib Dems include Brent Liberal Democrat Councillors signing to call in decisions made by the executive and then not having the decency to turn up to the committee meeting to listen to answers when items are called in.
When I sat on the Council’s Forward Plan committee, this created a few embarrassing situations. On one occasion, the
relevant executive member turned up to answer questions on a called in item, and no Lib Dem could ask a question to clarify their reason for calling the item in. Even more concerning was a called in item to committee which questioned the details of an equality impact assessment when one was still in the process of being produced.
While at the same time the Lib Dems are inflicting unprecedented cuts, at the local level, Lib Dems where not in power are fighting them to boost their own popularity and score brownie points with the electorate. Just as their leader Nick Clegg did before the election – saying all the right things in front of the TV cameras before betraying his Party’s stance on one of the main areas of Government policy; the economy.
From next year, two cars with cameras fixed on top will travel around the Brent concentrating on accident hotspots and school gates where cars are often seen blocking the pathway that children enter by.
I served on the Forward Plan Select Committee and had the pleasure of providing effective scrutiny to the forthcoming changes in traffic enforcement.
There has been a lacklustre approach from the police in enforcing traffic laws as they quite rightly have other priorities that they need to concentrate their resources on. I think many would agree that blocking school entrances where many children will be crossing the road to get to school gates is dangerous. It restricts a child’s vision of what they can see when crossing the road if there are cars stopped along the way obstructing their vision. Remember, most children will not be able to see over cars.
I don’t want to see any accidents, and in particular in front of our schools, and any move aimed towards this should be welcomed by all political parties, parents, children and residents.
Once people have attained their full UK driving licence, there are a small minority that show disregard to the highway code. It is important that these people are disincentivised from quite frankly, breaking the law, as in the process, they are endangering law abiding citizens.
Last night, on the agenda at the Forward Plan Select Committee were call ins of Executive decisions on the land use at Coniston Gardens, Waste Strategy and CPZ vehicle emission based pricing adjustment.
Kudos to Councillors Beck and Ashraf who did attend the meeting to convey their concerns to the committee and demonstrated their reasons for signing the call in by actively engaging and asking questions. The same cannot be said about the other Councillors Hayley Matthews, Simon Green, Ann Hunter who signed for the Call In as mentioned by my colleague Cllr James Powney here – LINK.
Councillors signing for call ins and then not turning up are causing embarrassment to proceedings on the committee and the system in general. At the previous Forward Plan meeting, items were on the agenda as called in and then embarrassingly skipped or skimmed over as there was confusion as to what the reason for the call in was.
Surely Councillors that sign to call in a decision should turn up to the meeting they asked for the item to be discussed at, if they are remotely interested in receiving a response.
Are the Brent Lib Dems interested in the detail of policies and providing scrutiny to make policy better or are they just opposing decisions for opposition’s sake?
Let me give you one example of a recent occurrence which has led me ask this question. The 11th August meeting included a call in on the ‘Criteria for Transport Services’ and a reason cited was ‘to review the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment’ (LINK – see item 5b), which at the time had not been completed. To call in decision based on concerns regarding a document which does not exist is beyond me.
Last week I attended the Forward Plan Select Committee meeting, and under scrutiny, was the Council’s move to pull in traffic offence enforcement under their remit. I was mightily impressed with the background work that has been done on this proposal and believe that it is a good idea.
A problem was identified with traffic enforcement and the fact that traffic offences, such as stopping over yellow crossed boxes, and stopping over white zigzag line markings were not being picked up by the police. It goes back to a directive on 6th February 2010, when the Metropolitan Police told their officers that they should no longer take action against motorists following “minor errors of judgement”. Fair enough, they do need to divert their time on looking at more major offences.
This scheme was first proposed by the previous Council administration led by Paul Lorber, and after looking at the detail of the plan, I am pleased that we will be taking this proposal forward. It will cost £1,104,000 to bring the policing over traffic offences under Council control. The burrowed investment is expected to be covered in five years through the scheme and every site with a traffic enforcement feature will be carefully assessed. Expected behavioural changes of motorists are also accounted for in these calculations.
Last night, the proposal was brought before the Full Council meeting and agreed for implementation. The changes will be in operation from 1st January 2011.
Councillors as part of their remit are appointed to bodies as board members or serve on committees.
Within the Council, I will be chairing the Willesden Area Consultation Forum. I will blog separately on the forum and what it involves. I have also been appointed as Vice Chair on the Forward Plan Select Committee and I will also serve on the Welsh Harp Joint Consultative Committee.
I have been appointed onto the boards of the following: