“The biraderi game is over. This is a terrible result for us but it had to happen.”
- Take control of the regeneration agenda – rather than, as so many Council leaders (including me) have done, hiding in the smoke and mirrors that is our regeneration strategy. Use some of the war chest – the £180 million in reserves – to kick start work in the City. Perhaps a new central library in the former Odeon, maybe actually digging out that canal we promised and even demanding a ‘put up or go away’ from Westfield.
- Asking where tomorrow’s jobs will come from – those thousands of young Bradfordians face a choice right now. Stay in the City on benefits or working stupidly long hours for not much money driving a taxi or sitting in a take-away. Or leaving – heading south to London, to the Thames Valley, to the Home Counties where there’s a chance of a job with prospects.
- Ending the Council’s culture of venal navel-gazing – for the past few years the Council has been obsessed with its internal structures, operations and organisation. Rather than bothering about how good or bad the City’s schools were, we obsessed instead about closing down Education Bradford, about bringing it back “in house”. As if this would change anything about the educating of children in Girlington. And the same goes for everything else – for social care, for health, for planning – we paid attention to the structure and cared little for the outcome
- Protecting services – over the past two years, rather than admit that its change programme wasn’t delivering savings quickly enough, the Council’s leadership chose to cut services. Right now they’re crowing about how the 2011/12 budget will have a £5.7 million surplus – that’s money which could have kept open a swimming pool, provided much needed care for the elderly or helped a few of those young people into jobs