Rumour is rife that the Leader of the City Council’s much expanded Labour Group, having won 17 of the 20 seats contested on May 6th in the last of the City Council elections by thirds, has finally been roused to recognise responsibility that goes with now being the largest political group on the Council, though with 26 of the 60 seats, a handful short of a simple majority.
The awakening extends only to seeking a coalition with the City Independents (considering their recent history their name is increasingly questionable), the Tories, and the Lib Dems, thus aiming to absorb all but the five BNP group members and the 3 Non aligned, 2 independents, 1 Libertarian.
Attempting to obliterate opposition, and thus, effective scrutiny, not to mention the political choices of the electorate, is a move well along the road to a totalitarian approach to local government.
If the “good of the City”, the cry which almost drowns out principled argument in defence of difference (once choice was the New Labour buzz word!), really is such an agreed priority then why didn’t these petty politicians seek the people’s mandate on that basis? Why did they go all out to win for their particular party?
Apart from it being a rather sordid little tactic to avoid singular responsibility and accountability it fails to command even a commonsense consensus since no one has yet begun to spell out what “the good of the City” might mean! Is there only one good? Is there only one way to the good of the City? Of course not to both questions.
Such shallow siren calls reflect an abject laziness to articulate basic principles, core values and essential policies. Instead, of tackling those tasks they wish to slither into an amorphous mass to nod through whatever the root and branch cutting machine, driven by officers and over-paid consultants, churns out.
Come the all-out City Council elections next May to herald the new smaller one-member wards (perhaps with a few anomolous 2 and 3 member wards) the electorate will be truly challenged to work out which party candidate to support. I suspect many wont even bother, safe in the knowledge that their vote will be ignored and composted into coalition