Cllr Patricia Walker is Labourâ€™s Children and Young People portfolio holder. Most councils spend about half of all their revenue on children and in Ealingâ€™s case that is about Â£500 million a year. It is a big job and she has to make most of the biggest decisions that Ealing council makes. Walker is a senior lecturer at the University of East London and has a higher education background specialising in studying international higher education.
Like Councillor Withani above she receives allowances of Â£25,488 but finds it all a bit hard it seems.
Only this week officers sent out a reminder about the Speak Out 2012 Youth Conference which is due to take place on Saturday 25th February, 11am. This is one of the key youth engagement events that the Borough runs every year and it is normally led by the portfolio holder. Walkerâ€™s response, which she inadvertently copied to all, was illuminating:
I am required to do a campaigning session that day but will try to come by about one o’clock.
This tells us a couple of things. Firstly, she prioritises sticking some leaflets through doors for Ken Livingstone above doing a very important job for which she is effectively paid. Secondly, she doesnâ€™t have the gumption to tell her colleagues that she needs to do her political work some other time. Maybe she wants to be seen out by her Labour colleagues and feels that this will help motivate the team. â€œI am requiredâ€ does not convey leadership though. Who knows?
When I challenged Walker about this in council on Tuesday she refused to tell council whether she would attend and lead the Youth Conference. Walker told me that â€œI should stick to your bloggingâ€ and finished her remarks with L’OrÃ©al’s famous advertising slogan “Because I’m worth it”.
In response to her two assertions I am and she isnâ€™t.