Friday, 31 October 2008

COUNCILLOR JOY GARNER (LABOUR GROUP LEADER) GIVES PITSNPOTS THE ANSWERS ON THE TRANSITION BOARD

I would like to sincerely thank Councillor Joy Garner for taking the time to post on our blog. She has been following several of our debates and seen a number of questions raised by our posters on the recent Transition Board Blog.
I felt that it was neccessary to post her comments as a new blog and allow interested pitsnpots readers and posters the chance to publish their comments and reactions to her in depth statement.
We, at pitsnpots are delighted that our local politicians are using our blog to communicate with a number of the cities electorate. This is the reason that we set this blog up.
Here are Joy's comments:

"John Healey, Minister for Local Government, commissioned this report into the Governance of the City of Stoke-on-Trent.
The review was actioned, and they came up with 14 recommendations, the 14th being to appoint a Transition Board and the development of an Action Plan.

Both to ensure the Council actually did what the report says.Para 5.29 onwards explains the make up of the board which it describes as a "Transition Board of local stakeholder representatives which will monitor progress on the implementation of our recomendations and help hold the Council to account."

Para 5.31 suggests the board should be in place for at least 3 years... It lists the areas its members should be drawn from... The size no more than 15...

Para 5.32 requires the Council to draw up the action plan(timetable to achieve the other 13 points), as a matter of urgency. January 2009 full council meetings will be important for this.
The new Council constitution should be ready then, and the full council to formally request the Electoral Commission to review the ward boundarys with a view to single member wards.
A vote on all out elections every 4 years is the trigger.The EC then sends in its Boundary Committee.

They start from this request, but can not be fettered by us or the Government, and after CONSIDERABLE PUBLIC CONSULTATION, they draw up their plans, which may not, and often do not agree with the Goverments view.

Of course, this is a light touch by government, and is intended to be a 'critical friend' as well.

If the Council fails to start moving forward with some urgency, or even fails at the first hurdle - the Council vote to all out elections in January, which triggers the EC and then the BC - then it is hard not to think of what may happen.

I dread to think that a complete take over, like happened in Walsall, could ever happen here in Stoke.

We are told, at present, that the members will only get allowances to cover costs.Mike Tappin, as far as I can see (and there is a couple of names I am unfamiliar with), is the only member with experience of being an elected representative, MEP, County Councillor and City Councillor. Certainly the only one ever elected in Stoke, and should be able to eloquently voice these experiences.

The Elected Mayor position is in place till next May/June (Euro elections may extend his service).If he were to stand down now, it is too late for a by election so his Deputy, Cllr Pervez would act in his place till then.

The publics views will be crucial to how all this pans out.It is the views of groups like on this blog, and individuals to make their feeling known at the right time.

To have your points worked out in time, as a group, it would be worth starting some serious debate on the points in the report, seeing how some work or do not work when taken together.

Some obvious ones are: Less Councillors - but more scrutiny work, and spend more time in the ward.

Higher calibre Councillors - will need to be paid properly if younger proffessionals are to be attracted, especially if you have to have alot of time off work, and a £200,000 mortgage to pay ??
Recommendation 135.24 A wider North Staffordshire Authority ??

Recommendation's 5 and 6Both are about community involvment, firstly for all citizens, then especially the young, and our diverse communities.You could easily start these very important debates on this Blog site. I wish you well, and if I can assist further, I will."

Councillor Joy Garner

30 comments:

nita said...

I would like to thank Joy Garner, for her comments, and has indeed clarified for me, exactly what the Transition Board, has been set up to do.

This Board, will clearly be making sure that all recommendations, are acted upon by our Council. This can only be a good thing.

I for one, would like to see the Council engage with the public more. Yes, some difficult decisions have to be made, but at least try to gain the public's support, rather than work against them, and ignore their opinions.

The one thing, I am not sure would be a good idea, is, to cut down on Councillors per ward. It has to be better to have more, than less. Speaking as a resident in the Longton North Ward, the three Councillors, have worked together very well. They are trying to make a difference to the area, and do get involved, and work well as a team. To expect one Councillor, to take on all this work individually, would surely not work as well. Maybe, I have misunderstood, the cutting down of Councillors, so correct me, if I have.

One thing I do know, is that I am no politician, and am not fully aware of everything involved with local politics, so I for one, am pleased, that Councillors are taking the time, to get the information to us.

brooneyes said...

Nita, how can having a bunch of unelected lefties, forced on the council by the government, be a good thing??
This board was supposed to cover the broadest spectrum of Stoke-on-Trent. Where are the right wing representatives? Where are the nationalists? This is the worst kind of government interference, brought here specifically to try and rally the Labour vote, while at the same time doing everything they can to hinder the BNP.
This is a body that has no power other than that of recommendation,
yet this board is to report to the Secretary of State, Jimmie Krankie, aka Hazel Blears.
Why? Who got this board put in place? Who chose the people to serve on it? Who decided on the recommendations to be made, and how many were decided before the commission came into being?
This is nothing more than another example of Labours bully boy tactics in forcing their agenda onto the council, and insiders like Joy Garner are there to grease the wheels.

"Both to ensure the Council actually did what the report says.Para 5.29 onwards explains the make up of the board which it describes as a "Transition Board of local stakeholder representatives which will monitor progress on the implementation of our recomendations and help hold the Council to account."

I'm sorry, I thought the governance commissions remit was to make suggestions, yet here is Mrs Garner telling us the governance commission has put this board amongst the council in order
to make sure that the councillors do what they are told! And who the hell suggested this board will be here for three years?! Not if the BNP take control!
PARA 5.35.
"We also believe that the responsibility for formal appointment to the transition board should lie with the Secretary of State."
Well we don't! Bad enough having that little fascist Meredith buggering everything up with his
narrow minded, blinkered ideas, but having the Westminster retards
stick their beaks in, is one step too far!
It is beyond all reasonable expectancies for an outside group like the governance commission to be extoling the virtues of letting themselves into a local government setup in order to change things about, when they have not been democratically elected to the positions that would allow them to do so! Instead, they have been given what a councillor has to work hard to achieve. There is no reason for the implementation of the recommendations to be allowed, especially coming from a group with such obvious liberal leftist political leanings!
And why should the transitional board think it can make a difference? It is here solely on the recommendation of the governance commission, and that was brought in because of the
maladministrative behaviour of
Meredith and Co, and in particular, the elected mayors
persistent failure to take, or heed, advice! So why is it that the
commission believe the inclusion
into the Civic Centre of a transitional body will be able to
affect the mayors skewift judgement
on just about everything, when 60
councillors, 12,000 employees, and
240,000 disgruntled Stokies can't?

Any action plan created for this city should come from this city. The influence of non city based
individuals should be kept out until at least two thirds of our
elected councillors vote in favour
of such outside interference.
Once again, this frantic dash to get this body in place smacks of more than just watchful eyes. They say none of the board should have executive powers, but if you have
the ear of an executive, then by default you have executive powers.
We don't need this continual interference from central government, we didn't ask for it, and we had no say over the contents of it. We should tell them they are not wanted, and kick them out. That would show this rotten, fascist, incompetent government what they are going to get come 2010!

Mike said...

How can the BNP accuse anyone of being lefties when their economic policies are further left than anyone's?
How can they accuse anyone of being fascists when one of their core policies is to disenfrachise any British citizen that doesn't fit the racial profile?
How can the BNP whine about free speech etc.. when they want to ban women from wearing headscarves.
The list of their contradictions is endless. What do expect from a party that has a couple of intellectuals with strange ideas in charge and the rest are just brain dead zombies following their master's voice.
What makes me laugh even more is the fact that they're blatantly homophobic and yet two of the local leading members are gay lovers with a third crying jealousy. How farcical a party are they.
Heard it before but when the Tories get in at the next election the BNP will go the same way the National Front went after Thatcher got elected. Far-right always thrives under Labour, always dwindles under the Tories. Quite ironic as it's old-Labour types people that vote for these loonies ie people that did badly at school, got crap jobs and just want someone else to blame for their troubles.

nicky said...

Joy,

Thank you for taking an interest our blog and providing your input.

Also thanks for inviting us to think through some of the important questions. Personally I'm still mulling over some of these things and the answers are not clear cut as yet, especially on a Friday night - whoops Saturday morning, when the brain is not as sharp as it could be. It is perhaps best to think some more and comment some more later.


Craig,

What a gem of a comment, the keyboard must be practically on fire! I have to say some of the points you make sum up my worst fears about this transition board.

"Bad enough having that little fascist Meredith buggering everything up with his
narrow minded, blinkered ideas, but having the Westminster retards
stick their beaks in, is one step too far!" That's amazing, it's the sort of thing that's running about my mind but I couldn't put into words as well as that.

"Any action plan created for this city should come from this city." I agree with that one, except it needs to come from the people, not Meredith and his cronies, which is a point you also make.

I said in the other blog on the transition board that my cynical side really fears that this board could just be about imposing central government will on us. Given that this board was appointed by central governement, and I don't have a lot of confidence in them, it perhaps doesn't bode well.

But there is another side to it. Perhaps the board could actually 'hold the council to account', but it depends what that means. Is that to benefit us, the people, or them, the government and EMB, with their unfathomable motivations? Now if this board were able to tackle the current Meredith system and stop the new leader system from also ignoring; the people of the city, a large proportion of councillors and it's own scrutiny committees and instead enable a more democratic system, then that could be a good thing. But will it? I still don't know?

We should watch it carefully. Then if they are not acting in favour of the democratic rights of the people of Stoke-on-Trent, we should do as you say and "tell them they are not wanted, and kick them out".

brooneyes said...

Mike, I know some of our policies seem socialist, and indeed they are. But there is a difference in vision and implementation on our part, against that of L:abour and the rest of these tri-party idiots who think public service is about
creaming as much public money off for yourself as you can!
The Labour are fascist. Who reneged on their deal to give us a referendum on the Lisbon treaty?
It wasn't the BNP.
Who stole the pension savings of tens of thousands of retirees?
It wasn't the BNP.
Who is it that has given away our sovereignty and flooded our country with foreigners, all without a mandate from the electorate?
It wasn't the BNP!
We want free speech for the indigenous people. These others you talk about are not British. They come here, have a couple of kids, and hey presto, British citizens! There is more to being British than just being born here, and if your bigotry won't let you see that, then you're stupid!
We as a party have said that homosexuality is OK in the privacy of the home. It shopuld not be flaunted as it is with these ridiculous "gay pride" events, and sure as hell shouldn't be offered up to our children as some kind of alternative lifestyle to hetrosexuality and marriage!
We have come too far to sink back into nothing, and when the Tories fail to change this country for the better, we will make sure we are there to offer Britain a way out of this stinking mess the three main parties have gotten us
into over the past 50 bloody years!
If you don't like what we offer, don't vote for it, but there are plenty that do, and that's a number that increases on a daily basis.

Thanks Nicky, this is one subject that really lights me up! How these people cannot see that central government are deliberately
interfering in the running of a city council, and with no public mandate(again!)is beyond me. And then people like Mike come along and say this isn't fascism!

Daniel Baker said...

Can I ask you a question, Brooneyes?
My grandad is from Trinidad but my other three grandparents are white, do you consider me British or just another foreigner?

T Cope said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daniel Baker said...

I was asking Brooneyes a serious question, there's a time and a place for all that?

brooneyes said...

Daniel, I would consider you British. And before anyone starts, we would not be looking to deport your Trinidadian Grandad either.
There are people that came to this country because they identifed with the ethos of this country, and I'm betting your Grandads one of those people Daniel. He may well have come here as an immigrant, but I'll bet he has taken up the torch of Britishness as this is what attracted him in the first place.
These are good people, these are not the people we are looking to get out of this country.
I hope this puts your mind at rest Daniel, and remember, don't believe all you hear when it comes to the BNP, you can always pop on here to check, or you can try our main website.

Bob said...

I see the fake Terry Copes are still at.

I have to agree with Mike. It's not just the race issue that concerns me with the BNP but their economic policies too. My understanding is that anyone who's made a go of things and been financially succesful will end up paying out alot more in taxes. The argument against taxing the rich heavily has always been why should the hard working pay the social security for the idle? The BNP is attracting people who can't be arsed to stand on their own two feet, want govt to sort their lives out instead of doing it themselves, and are keen to blame their problems on others. If the UK wants to be a properous nation are these really the sort of people we want to pander to? Then of there are the hard core genuine nazis who can't see themselves for what they really are because they're British not German, their parents/ grandparents may have fought in the war and they don't parade in uniforms shouting sieg heil. A nazi is a national socialist, ie socialism in an ethnically homogenous nation, exactly what the BNP stands for. My father once said that most of the people he served with in the war knew nothing about nazism and it was about fighting for King and Country, and giving Jerry a damn good thrashing. He also said that there was alot of anti-semitic views etc... expressed amongst British troops, though obviously not as rabidly as those that turned traitor and joined the British Freekorps in SS service (mostly ex-Mosleyites).

Anonymous said...

I thought that was why Sharon Ebanks was thrown out of the party, because it turned out her ancestry wasn't wholly white.

Former Town Clerk's Dept said...

A good synopsis of the role of the Transition Board by Joy Garner - thanks very much.

If anyone is concerned about how this Board operates, then put it to the test when it meets and ask to meet with it. This blog and the correspondents commenting on it have a lot to offer, I think the Transition Board would be stupid not to welcome the input of others to their work, especially if they are acting as advocates for the people of the City. Lets hope it doesn't come to that situation, but lets be ready if it does.

Daniel Baker said...

Thank You for the response Brooneyes. I wasn't worried anyway, I was just trying to get a fuller picture as you refer to people who are born here as foreigners.
My grandad has retired to Trinidad, so it doesn't really matter if you would want to deport him anyway (I know, you said you wouldn't).

I have been on the BNP website and they do have some disgusting articles and comments about black people, not just Muslims and asylum seekers.
That's why I asked really.
Thank You for the response again.

Posh Pete said...

In other words Daniel Baker you were just checking to see if Craig was lying like the BNP do more than any other party. With the 3 main parties they tend to stick to what they say they're going to do. With nuLabour (and I've never voted Labour) people had overly high expectations after 18 years of the last Tory government. They've actually tried to deliver what they said they said they would but it's not enough for their traditional voters, many of whom have gone BNP. With the Tories we saw "the I'm alright Jack" culture emerge but with this Labour govt we see a culture of dependency particularly in areas that have gone BNP. The BNP have the biggest hidden agenda of any political party which has occasionally been outed by ex-members and a local Branch Secretary who just can't seem to keep his opinion to himself and tow the party line.

brooneyes said...

Posh Pete, another one with a
conspiracy theory and no facts to back it up. Where do all these sad little people come from?

Anonymous said...

Mike, who are these two leading members of the BNP that are homosexual, and who is the jealous one?
What proof have you got to these accusations?
I would love to know.

nicky said...

I’ve given this some thought. It is not easy because I am drawn to an idealistic approach but then my pragmatic side can see how it might not work. I may change my mind but these are my thoughts at the moment.

Joy I’ll start with the points you raised in the blog first.

Fewer councillors but more scrutiny work and more time in wards:
I agree with Nita on this, I’m not convinced that having fewer councillors will work well. Although people, including me, like to criticise our councillors, many of them do I think work very hard. They have a lot to do. There are developments such as (in a couple of years time I think) the LSC going and post 16 education coming back under LA control. But we lost the LEAs already so how is that going to be handled? (And please don’t say employ serco to do it…) That’s one extra responsibility and there may be others I’m not aware of, plus government probably often invoke tasks they want LAs to deal with. As for the number of councillors in a ward, well when some of them are useless you are glad you’ve got more than one and maybe you’d get one to help you when another wouldn’t. But in an ideal world if they were all good maybe having one for a smaller area could work well as they’d concentrate on that area. I can certainly see the ward I’m in dividing naturally into 3 bits. But currently I don’t think it’s pragmatic. More scrutiny work I’m not sure about. What I do think is that the council needs to respect its scrutiny committees more. Maybe it does sometimes but there have been recent examples where it doesn’t; the EMB still not reporting back as promised on the scrutiny recommendation on Trentham High, the health portfolio holder apparently not communicating properly with the health scrutiny chair. I think the scrutiny committees fulfil a vital role, but for that to work the new cabinet will have to treat them properly and take them seriously. I don’t think it’s necessary really to say that councillors should spend more time in wards. If they are good councillors they will make time for the people in their wards. What is needed is a mechanism to complain about them if they do not work properly with wards, which does not appear to be in place at present. For example there are 3 councillors in my ward but only one who is any good. The other two will not answer my emails and one of them when pinned down in person has confirmed that he will not. That is simply unacceptable behaviour in a councillor. So it is important to implement a system for complaints about councillor conduct.

Higher calibre councillors:
I’m not sure about any huge increase in allowances. If they are paid too much you could end up with a system of career politicians and the minute you have that, they are immediately seen as not representing the community. I know MPs are paid but at the local level it’s more crucial that councillors are seen as part of the community. How councillors manage to fit in their council role with their jobs and the rest of their lives I do not know but I think it’s good they do. (£200,000 houses in SOT? Can’t be many of those. I live in Trentham which is often said to be the posh bit but I think there must be a minority of houses like that.)

A wider north staffs authority:
Certainly not now. The rest of North Staffs wouldn’t want us. Sort out governance in SOT first then later see if such a thing would make sense or not, I kind of expect it may not be popular although I’ve an open mind.

Community involvement:
(I’m thinking of a blog on that at some point – waiting for some info requested from council.) I agree very much with recommendation 5. This will depend on council wanting people involved and I think some members just don’t at present, but I think we people should be involved. We did actually have a citizen’s panel before, I was part of it. I thought it was a good thing, not sure when it disappeared but if I remember rightly it went out when Meredith came in. So we had a mechanism, just need to bring it back in. Opportunities for people to develop civic and political knowledge, sure great idea, I’d be interested in that. The communications strategy is important. Meredith’s propaganda magazine just does not do it I’m afraid. As I’ve already said some councillors are useless. I’ve also found when communicating with councillors more widely that some are very good and some just don’t. This needs to be sorted out. I would like to see more involvement of people in decision making, via citizens panel, public meetings, residents associations etc. Then communicating of decisions made could be improved. One good thing already in place is the publication of meeting papers and minutes on the council web site. But what would improve that would be a short quick reference list of important decisions to be made, when, and when the decision is made a short reason given and link to the minutes. Involving young people really shouldn’t be difficult, they have these regular PSCHEE (have I got all the letters right) days and at key stage 4 have citizenship timetabled. Why not have people from the council into schools to visit, why not take citizenship out of the classroom into the council chamber, it’s an easy school trip to organise.

Now onto other issues coming out of the recommendations:

Recommendation 1 – move to all out elections every 4 years. I think this one is a very good idea although the 4 years seems a bit long (2 years perhaps). At the moment we have a lot of voter apathy. I don’t think that is helped by knowing that after an election 2/3 of the councillors will be as before. Being able to elect or get rid of councillors on the entire council at once would provide more reason for people to vote because it would raise the possibility of real change. (And don’t close schools for elections.)

(2 & 3 dealt with)

Recommendation 4 – further devolution of governance. I’m stuck with this one as I do not as an ordinary person notice the good or bad effects of this. (Maybe we have little budget in Trentham as we’re meant to be the rich bit so nothing happens so I don’t notice it?)

(5 & 6 dealt with)

Recommendation 7 – strengthening of political machinery. I had an interesting discussion with Gary Elsby on this site about how national/local/council labour party works (or doesn’t it seems). There are rifts in labour and Shaun Bennett has alluded to rifts in the conservatives. The libdems we never hear from. The bnp appear to be pretty united. The independents are of course their own people and I have to say I’m impressed with many of them, largely because they are quite open in saying what they think. Now especially for me as a floating voter, I would like to see all the parties and groups get their acts together a bit more and communicate their principles a bit better.

Recommendation 8 – member development. OK as long as it’s not too onerous.

(9 & 10 dealt with)

Recommendation 11 – MPs roles. Well in an ideal world this would be easy. They are meant to represent constituents views in parliament. Central government aren’t interested in ordinary plebs from SOT so we need MPs as the link. This could be improved by less sucking up and more putting the foot down. If council were operating properly then MPs wouldn’t need to interfere, but when council are screwing it up, e.g. BSF plans, we the people are glad for them to interfere and try to knock sense into the council. So get things working properly and the problem will go away.

Recommendation 12 – raising profile of SOT. Get it sorted out first then raise profile. No good raising profile whilst it’s in a mess.

(13 & 14 dealt with)

Now what about you other guys on the blog? What do you think? They (council/transition board) may or may not take any notice of what we think but if we don’t say they don’t even have that choice. Craig, you’ve responded extensively on recommendation 14 but what do you think on the other recommendations? What about you Mike, Daniel Baker, Bob, posh Pete and the anonymous(es)? And to the fake t cope (same one two times), please don’t insult the real Terry Cope or Craig, but please contribute as yourself if you’ve got anything off the homosexual topic and more to the point to say.

Daniel Baker said...

Nicky, in what way have I insulted anyone?
I asked Brooneyes a question, he responded and I thanked him for responding, end of.

terry turbo said...

Nita, your comment on fewer councillors is spot on.
How can one man, or woman serve a whole ward,like Bentilee,Abbey Hulton, Meir, or Blurton.
It does not make sense, and the Council Chamber is half empty now, it will be like a ghost town.
Your comment on public consultation is spot on as well, they are sometimes left out of the loop, which only causes more problems.
Why is that outsiders think they can fix something they have no knowledge of?

brooneyes said...

Nicky, the problem is there are two distinct roles to be played by a councillor. One is as ward councillor, the other, city councillor. The idea of reducing councillor numbers, or of redefining boundaries so that there are 60 wards, are ridiculous suggestions. Keep the number at 60
and look into making the position full time.
The other thing desperately needed, is the devolvement of power
to its lowest practicable level.
Across most of the city we have a network of local bodies perfect for the devolving of power to, and they are the residents associations. By allowing a combination of residents associations and neighbourhood officers to take responsibility for the day to day running of the
wards, the councillors could then concentrate on reinvigourating the city and its economy, education, transport, and all the other major subjects in which this city has been allowed to lag behind in.
Don't let the liars and smear spreaders deflect your attention from the BNP, we are the only group who can put this city back on track.

brooneyes said...

OK Nicky, just remember you asked!

1. MOVE TO ALL OUT ELECTIONS.
Holding all elections on the same day is a tactic Labour has used before to unfairly hinder its opposition. If you have a local election, a general election, euro elections, or any other kind held on the same day, two things happen;
confusion, and increased apathy.
Labour know that by assimilating elections on the same day, there is a marked difference in the results. This is the governance commission doing what's best for Labour, not the electorate.

2. SINGLE MEMBER WARDS.
Either way you look at this it is a stupid idea. Reducing the numbers of councillors for the 20 wards that make up the city would be catastrophic! With 3 councillors per ward, the average is about 3300 people per councillor. Remove 1 and that becomes 5000! If this interpretation of the recommendation is wrong and what the governance commission are talking about is splitting each ward into 3, then this is even more stupid than the first suggestion! Stoke-on-Trent does not need the extra complication and expense that will come with trebling the number of wards! And while we're on the subject of stupidity, combine this with recommendation 1. Can you imagine having to organise for a general election AND 60 local elections too?! This is another suggestion from the left designed to interfere with the democratic rights of those parties and individuals who offer a threat to the Labour vote.

3. A SMALLER COUNCIL.
The governance commission won't recommend a size for the council,
but instead expects the council to recommend a size suitable for the purpose! What is the point of asking this council to make decisions like this, when the
governance commission was only present in the city because of this councils inability to run things properly in the first place?! This is tantamount to asking criminals to sentence themselves! Besides which, there are so many factors that would have to be calculated in, it would be far better to encourage the coalition that have wrecked this city in a sustained display of mediocrity and incompetence, to stand down and make way for those who genuinely have the best interests of the city at heart.

4. DEVOLUTION OF GOVERNANCE.
Genuine devolution is the passing of powerto the lowest practicable level in the community, thereby allowing the people to have a say in the day to day running, to let them shoulder some of the responsibility of keeping it in good repair and crime free. This is what real devolution is about,
not soundbite, temporary measures designed to look good for the press, but with minimal impact on the people of the community.

5. IMPROVE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT.
How are we to improve community
engagement, when the entire system of governance in Stoke-on-Trent rests in the hands of 2 people?!
If you want to improve engagement,
you have to practise real democracy, not this fascist dictatorship that masquerades as one! People will re-engage with local politics when their vote has an impact on it, and not before.

6. DIVERSITY AND YOUNG PEOPLE.
One mans diversity is another mans
immigrant colonisation!
The lack of interest from the young is because they know no matter what they say, Meredith does as he pleases. This change of system has potential only if those elected have the drive to put the community before self interest!
Allowing these ethnic communities to become so large, and detatched
from British culture, is causing funding problems, no go areas, ill feeling, and it takes part of an English industrial city and turns it into a foreign land. The way forward is to treat people as people, not seperate communities.

7. STRENGTHEN POLICAL MACHINERY.
The breakdown in party politics is
simply part of the changeover period in which the voters are weaned off their allegiance to the destruction politics of the LibLabCon whilst they look for alternatives. It is only right and proper that the electorate advance with caution as they mull over in which direction to move.

8. MEMBER DEVELOPMENT.
Member development clases are a good idea IF the politics of the incumbents are completely free from the tutorials. Everyone knows of the Labour partys' embracing of indoctrination techniques.

9. REVIEW OF O&S.
Once again, there are two main problems with overview and scrutiny. Some of the councillors who get to Chair some of these committees, simply are not fit to do so. Take a look at the present
EMB. As Labour have lost more and more seats, so Merediths, "genepool
of talent" has been drastically reduced from what was at best a collection of mediocrity in the first place, to the atrocious gathering of moneygrabbers, perverts, incompetents, and 3rd
raters the people of Stoke-on-Trent
find themselves lumbered with now!
Point two refers to the behaviour of the elected mayor.The overview and scrutiny will not function to their best until their decisions are allowed to carry more weight!
Irrespective of how many sensible decisions are arrived at, all they are allowed to do is recommend. When all said and done, the decision is solely that of the elected mayor, and not that of the 60 DEMOCRATICALLY elected councillors chosen by the people.

10. PAY AND ALLOWANCES.
I think we should look at making councillors full time positions. So many of them have to work outside of what they for the council and it has to have a detrimental effect on their work.
I don't think anyone would mind councillors getting paid well if the services were up to standard,
but they are not. Perhaps a performance related pay scale would
be the best way of ensuring that those who got the most, earned it.

11. CLARIFICATION OF MP'S ROLES.
What a loaded statement that is! Three Labour MP's and a Labour elected mayor! My honest opinion is that no matter how hard I think, I can't think of one thing that stands out about any of them achievemnt wise. Kick 'em out at the next election and let's get people into these positions that will work for the city.

More tomorrow.

Gary elsby said...

Believe it or not, Labour actually won the last three General elections.
Labour rules the Country through its Cabinet of Ministers.

Labour does not rule Stoke although approximately 60% will acknowledge Labour as first preference.

If Councillors don't mean anything and their opinion (elected) is secondary to Labour's ruling Cabinet, then why have them? Why have an opposition of Tories/Libs/BNP/Ind etc..?

Why?

What for, do we need a number of (elected) opinions sitting in the Town Hall giving LOCAL opinion for and of this City?

Why?

If local Labour says NO and any other party says NO to anything that Labour's ruling Cabinet wishes to impose throughout the Country, then why doesn't it either remove local (elected) opinion and impose everything from the centre?

What is the point of local opinion?Why pay for it? If the National Government is always right, because it was elected by the whole Country via a majority of opinion (within Constituencies), then why do we bother to listen to a few local yokes who won a vote in Burslem or Hanley?

The answe is because local opinion deos matter and National Government knows it.

The Tranjsitional Board is here to deliver National Policy over local opinion. They will say not.

I say, why are you here then?
Why aren't you in Newcastle Under Lyme?

They have failed under the Mayoral system and 'may' fail under a Leader system and no countenance of such is being allowed for.

A quango, answerable to no-one in Stoke-on-Trent who pay their taxes.

Politically and morally wrong in a sphere where everything is supposed to be politically and morally right.

Norther Ireland has just spent the last 35 years fighting to remove (and keep) a political quango that was seen as being both representative and unrepresentative of local views.

The quango lost (or won, depending on your perspective) and ELECTED politicians now rule the province, under the 'rule' of Labour's National Party of Cabinet Government, just like everywhere else in the UK( apart from Stoke).

Anonymous said...

Terrific explanation Joy, many thanks!

Whilst it wasn't in Stoke, I'm fairly certain that Gerard Coyne (AMICUS-TGWU) was a Birmingham City Councillor in Northfield prior to his succeeding Jim Hunt as TGWU Regional Secretary.

T Cope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T Cope said...

Gary, you don't half waffle on mate!
I can't make head nor tails of your comments, it's utter tosh!!

warren said...

I think that at the moment we need this Transition Board to oversee the council as we move forward with plans and get a new leader in place, whoever that my be.I dont think that its a load of loony leftys, at least I hope its not, it sould be a board made up of differeing politacal views, lets face it this city holds a lot of very diverce politacal views and all sould be represented on that board. As for the board being in place for upto three years, that not needed or wanted by this city. Why ever takes over must be given the right to run this city without haveing to anser to any board, only the voters within months if not weeks of takeing office.
And it nice to see we are getting a good debate going round hear again, even with fools butting in, who will be ignored.

nita said...

Warren, I agree, it is great to get back to some good debating.

I am now a little confused on the reason for having this Transistion Board. As I understood it, this Board has been put into place, to ensure that all the recommendations made, were carried out by the Council.

Brooneyes, you are saying that it is the Government interfering into local issues, that don't concern them. It was the Governance Report, that made all these recommendations, so surely we need a Board in place, to ensure that the Council is acting upon what they recommended?

Do we really need Higher Calibre Councillors? I say not. We need to stick to electing local people, but maybe, offering the positions full time, would be of benefit. Maybe, this would offer an improved wage, and provide more time to do what they need to, instead of trying to work around a full time job.

I would like to see Councillors having a bit more power, as currently, it seems pointless having these various Scrutiny Committee's, as it would appear to us the public, that if they do make any recommendations, they are not really listened to.

I think it is vital, for all the local politicians, from all parties, to get out into the communities, and get their individual policies across. We need to stop this apathy, when it comes to voting. I am fed up of hearing people saying, "I don't vote, because it doesn't make any difference, they are all a waste of time", then all they do is moan. We have to change this negative attitude, as I believe every vote does matter, and you should use it.

nicky said...

Daniel Baker, I didn't mean that you insulted anyone, I was only referring to the fake t cope there. It was fair enough you asking Craig a question. But I was just interested in hearing what you and others who were commenting thought of the transition board and of the governance recommendations.

Craig, thanks for your extensive input, interesting reading. I want to pick up on the point about all out elections. I took this to mean electing all local councillors at once every 4 years rather than having elections for 1/3 of them 3 out of 4 years. I don't think it means having local/general/euro on the same day. I checked the "representing the future" reference in the governance report and it actually says not to have these on the same day. (Same reference recommends multi-councillor wards rather than single.) I still think all out local elections would entice more voters out to vote, which would be better because it's more democratically representative. The four years still seems a long time though. Especially if you consider trying to get younger people interested. By the way, I'm in favour of the voting age being lowered to 16. Suppose you get the vote at 16 or 18 or whatever just after local elections, then you don't actually use your vote until you're 20 or 22. That's actually a long time (fractionally) for a younger person.

Craig and Nita, I liked both your comments on the current scrutiny committees. I think we all agree these must be improved and that will largely arise if the cabinet in the new system takes proper notice of them!

Warren I think the board does include a lot of lefties (although I think it's possible to be leftie without being loony). That is bound to happen I guess as it is appointed by secretary of state. I still have hopes and fears for the board. Gary you clearly agree with my fears - that it is to impose the national will locally.

brooneyes said...

Nicky, there's nothing wrong with holding the local elections once every four years if it has a seperate date from any other elections.

st george said...

Craig

All out elections every 4 years is a system in place already in this country.

All councillors normal term of office is 4 years. We have 60 Councillors.
We in Stoke stagger our election and go in thirds, ie 20 per year followed by a fallow year that the mayor would have used.

All that would happen, is that we would have one election every 4 years, where all 60 seats are up for election.

Clashes with Euro, national, county or a referendum, are purely random, and are not part of the 'all out election' process.

This is an interesting debate, and if Tony could collate the posts to reserve them for comments to the Boundary Committee, that would be useful.

Democracy in action.