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More stunts in South Tyneside

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ShrekOpposition groups boycott Council meeting

There were two meetings of South Tyneside District Council this afternoon, the normal scheduled meeting and an Extraordinary Meeting followed it, and both were packed with stunts to dazzle the small audience in South Shields town hall.

The NuLabour apparatchicks had a nice session slapping their own backs and contrived a nice presentation of a silver trophy marking their award (from the Municipal Magazine) as the number one council in the whole wide world – well it may as well have been. Labour’s local Leader Cllr. Iain Malcolm was effusive in his praise for the “one team” effort, officers,staff,  past and almost forgotten councillors, and sundry others, unfortunately he forgot to include the readers of the magazine, oops!

However the main stunt of the day was pulled by the South Tyneside Independents led today by their Deputy Leader Cllr. Ahmed Khan, the South Tyneside Progressives, and the Lib-Dems who en bloc decided not to attend the Extraordinary Meeting convened to bestow the Freedom of the Borough on Paul Waggot, Labour’s former Leader in these parts, who was summarily turfed out of his ward by disgruntled voters in May. Notwithstanding the fact that I do not particularly approve of handing out such honours to political personas (I was not keen on awarding it to Lord Dixon either) at least I could accept the position offered by Conservative Leader Cllr. David Potts who made it quite clear that he opposed almost everything that Waggot and his party stood for, and that the Tories were only supporting the motion to bestow the Freedom of the Borough in return for Labour’s unqualified support for the proposed State Funeral for Margaret Thatcher (yes, it’s the silly season before the summer recess).

Khan commented afterwards that:

“The honour has been cheapened through political cronyism. This was a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Earlier he had said;

“He was voted out by the people of Fellgate and Hedworth less than two months ago. Hopefully, any members of the opposition who may be thinking of backing this will remember why they were elected – to oppose.”

Cllr. Khan is not shy when it come to accusing others of political opportunism, yet today when his party Leader Jane Branley was absent, he showed such leadership, honour, and courage, by leading his party (and others, out of the chamber – again.) I’d love to know how he can accuse others of a failure to oppose when he so readilly gives up the opportunity to cast votes against a motion. If there were any real strengths to the convictions of these councillors, who boycotted the Extraordinary Meeting, they would have stayed and recorded a vote against “cronyism”.

I’d hate to think how they would face having to make major policy or strategy decisions if they were in control of the council, they would not be able to run away so easily then!

Makes a nice headline in the local paper though, and that’s what I call “opportunism”.

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Written by curly

July 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm

One Response

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  1. They all walked out? Not one had the cojones to say no? Are they enforcing a whip system?

    In particular, how do Fellgate voters feel about their opposition councillors failing to, er, oppose?


    July 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm

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