Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A few comments following a Bradford Council meeting....


This isn't a coherent 'single issue' posting but a series of specific and (I think) significant thoughts following a meeting today of Bradford's full council. Don't expect anything change-making or brilliant - this is after all a Council meeting!

1. We had a visitation from the Bradford Coalition against the Cuts. This took the form of a petition which (according to our standing orders) grants the petitioner five precious minutes addressing the assembled members - so long as those members are minded to receive the petition. I would say that the petition was sound except that it appeared to lose touch with reality after the first couple of sentences. I was especially taken with the "there is no crisis" line - these folk really are barking.

2. There were the usual set of questions to the leader - these are not particularly edifying nor indeed to they address the real issues facing the district. Especially when asked by Green Party members - today, aside from their normal collection of eco-loon questions the Green leader asked: "Can the leader tell us the cost incurred by the Council in responding to Freedom of Information and any other requests from the 'Taxpayers Alliance' during 2010." Clearly it is scandalous that this organisation - evil Tory scum to a man - dare exercise the right to secure information from Bradford Council! Dear Readers will need to know that the answer was £565 - all of it officer time at the agreed Audit Commission rate.

3. And so to our motions - we discussed (really we did) whether we should oppose suggestions that a 'super-diocese' be created by merging Ripon, Wakefield and Bradford dioceses. Understand that the real worry is that the super-diocese might just be called Leeds - which would never do! I wonder what - if anything - this has to do with us Councillors but I do understand the politics (let's be blunt - Leeds is, if not an actual plane of hell, certainly a portal to the dark side).

4. Which brings me - in the manner of these things - to Child Poverty. We discussed this important matter, or at least that was what the motions and amendments said was the topic. In truth it was a confused, rambling and meandering debate - little more than a list of grievances, few, if any, directly connected to the issue of poverty. Everything was covered from nicking egg sandwiches and knickers from Tesco (apparently a sure fire indicator of neglect), through tuition fees - which may or may not be a good thing but certainly have no connection to child poverty - to EMA. The whole purpose (so far as I could tell in amongst the nonsense) was to try and show that the Liberal Democrats in Bradford were still lovely, caring, right-on folk despite what's happened in Westminster. And I guess despite said party supporting a Conservative administration from 2000 to 2010!

I'm pretty sure that we didn't make any decisions of substance - we'll probably write a letter of two to some ministers and will see a couple of member working parties (including one on the Bishop) set up. But not a lot else - that would be to rock the boat! Although the last vote was good as it involved a dozen of us - honest drinkers all - voting against a nannying fussbucket amendment on licensing. Which will, of course, teach us to put down such motions in the first place!

Next time we'll be voting on the budget - which at least is a real decision!



Phil said...

As entertaining a description of Leeds, or any city, as I've heard for a long time!

SadButMadLad said...

#2. So basically the Greens made a FOI request to see how much FOI costs! I think the TPA should make a FOI request to see how much the Greens have cost the council with their questions.