Its February 2011 and the country is on its uppers.
Locally, just like most other authorities the length and breadth of the country we are faced with grant reductions and funding cuts. £18 million is the deficit currently facing the borough, and this is having to be found from so called efficiencies and savings (although why these are only found now is anyones guess) and service reductions.
Day centres are under threat.
Community Groups are facing closure.
Jobs are being axed and people may be made redundant.
Its a very serious and critical situation to be in, and we need local politicians to propose solutions and steer through policies that protect the services people rely on, and the jobs livelihoods depend on.
So what with the newly elected Liberal Democrats on RBKC? The much vaunted first ones for 40 odd years?
Do they propose an alternative budget, that protects front line services? Or to avoid compulsory redundancies?
Do they move a motion to reduce councillor allowances, or to restrict further the scope of expenses available to elected members?
Oh no. Not this lot...
You couldnt make this up... the Liberal Democrats are actually asking for more money, as if the £10.678 they each get already isnt enough!
Local Government runs on conventions, things like in the event of a tied vote the chairman gets a second and casting vote - convention is to go with the status quo and its a pity Cllr T Buxton didnt follow this when voting on the designs for the Commonwealth Institute.
Allowances are provided to give Councillors financial compensation for their tasks. There are allowances for "Leader of the Opposition" and convention is that it goes to the leader of the largest minority party - not every minority party.
Ed Milliband, is the Leader of the Opposition, even though there are Plaid Cymru, Scottish Nationalists, a bunch of independents and a Green. We dont hear them scrawling letters pleading for a few coppers.
Hornet has a message for the LibDems in K&C.
You are elected to scrutinise and oppose the current majority party and you each receive almost £11,000 to do so. You are not there to cream off as much as you can especially at times like this. You should retract this ill-conceived and naive letter and apologise to the people of the borough.
Hornet doesnt know whose idea it was in the Tory Party to suggest to Cllr Caruana to "put it in writing to the
Administration Committee" but whoever it was, well done. Political masterstroke.