There have been enough whispers following
last week’s councillors only
Boundaries Briefing to give a pretty good idea of what is going on.
It was last July when Bexley council’s Labour group put forward a clearly worded Motion.
As is the universal norm with Labour Motions, the Tories played Follow my Leader and threw it out. Their own suggestion omitted all reference to numbers and a month or so later council leader Teresa O’Neill wrote a suitably vague letter to the Boundaries Commission. One might be forgiven for thinking her heart wasn’t in it.
In due course the leader was summoned to a meeting and was somewhat taken aback by the Commission’s proposal. They suggested that 21 councillors would be enough for Bexley (instead of 63).
It was time to implement panic mode, O’Neill would have been hoping for minor changes, if they were looking for two member wards they could have gone with Labour last July. Conservative ideas were fixated on three member wards but maybe one or two fewer. With any luck they might be Labour wards.
The first necessity would be to pull down the shutters so that the public wasn’t able to witness any unseemly scramble to retain fat allowances. Council cuts are for residents, not for Tory bank balances, hence the General Purposes Working Group rather than a public sub-committee. The usual suspects were called upon to lie for the council.
At the meeting itself the Tory Group was worried, accusing the Boundaries Commission of being obsessed with single member wards. When faced with supposed examples of where single member wards could not work, the Civil Servants came back with answers. Protocols and procedures must be changed to suit a slimmed down regime.
Bexley council. They are good at dishing out the cuts. Not so good at being on the receiving end.