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Ealing and Northfield

Getting to know your council

Local activist Ann Pavett asked me about the details of our “Services Day” last night at our ward forum (of which more later).

This is a chance to meet senior councillors and find out more about the way the council operates. The event kicks off at Central Library on Saturday at 10am. Follow this link for more information. There is also a press release here. I repeat the programme below:

10am: Services Day opens
Visit our information stalls, hosted by services including Youth & Connexions, Scrutiny, waste and recycling and many more.

10.30am: Q&A session – How does the Council manage its parking services?
Have you ever wondered why parking zones are created, what happens to parking fines and how Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) are implemented?

Noon: Break – All stalls will remain open.

1.15pm: Message from the Leader of the Council Councillor Jason Stacey

1.30pm: Q&A session – How does the Council spend your money?
An opportunity to find out more about how the council is funded, how the budget is set and spending prioritised.

3pm: Services Day concludes

I am responsible for parking but my colleague David Millican who covers transport in his portfolio and leads on CPZ implementation will be standing in for me as I have a previous engagement – sorry. As well as hearing from council leader Jason Stacey, who is always an engaging speaker, you can have the chance to quiz our finance lead David Scott – a very sharp cookie.

I call Northfield resident Ann Pavett an activist in the sense that she is locally active. She edits the Neighbours’ Paper which is distributed free in Ealing. I saw their recent summer edition, Number 50 apparently. According to Ann’s editorial:

In Ealing the idea of candidates standing from their residents’ associations is being mooted as a possible alternative.

This is all a little oblique. What does she mean? Cllr Pavett? In an anonymous piece on local democracy Ann says:

NP has asked councillors over the years where their first allegiance lies and the answer is: “To our party”.

This is quite obviously nonsense. Even if it were true (and it isn’t) most councillors would be cute enough not to admit it I think.

Ann goes on to say:

In May 2010, we’ll have the chance to choose another set of 69 Councillors. Wouldn’t it be healthy to have some Independent Councillors elected who would be accountable only to residents and hold the politicos to account in the Town Hall?

Ann can go and hold three senior councillors to account on Saturday. She collared me last night at 10.30pm after three hours of bracing accountability. She doesn’t need to get elected.

If you want to know more about independent councillors I suggest you spend some time in Hounslow where they have a lot of independent councillors. It doesn’t work as anyone crossing the boundary into Hounslow can see with their own eyes anytime.

At least the party system gives you some idea of where your representative might be coming from and where they want to take you to. I suspect that many independents at the next council elections would not be typical old-fashioned residents’ candidates but leftish types who know that a Labour ticket is a ticket to nowhere.

If you want clarity about the council being careful with your money and delivering services that you value then you need to vote Tory.

5 replies on “Getting to know your council”

Your usual crisp, unbiased, and poorly researched analysis.

Well I’m standing next May as an Independent Councillor candidate, and if elected I’ll be one of over 2,000 Independent Councillors in the UK.

The political party system is wrecking democracy at local, regional and national levels.

You could just get voted out in 11 months. So show a little humility here.

Whoever I support there needs to be a strong opposition to a leading party so they are kept to account. Otherwise we may as well have PR. We have enough Tory councillors. We don’t need any more, and sadly the mood of the country as I currently see it means we may well have more Tories in Council. That is too much. Goodbye democracy and hello to greater whips power. Goodbye to balancing differing interests. The same would be said if the Labour party had a strong majority.

The active opposition in the Borough at the moment is scandalously feeble. It feels like the wastelands of the Michael Foot regime.

So if we have some independents and they firstly galvanise the opposition, and secondly give us balanced information as to what really the Council is doing (instead of the infantilising spin rubbish we get), then I am all for a few independents.

So I wish Eric great success in his venture.

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