Labour wastes Newcastle City Council's time with irrelevant political posturing
Liberal Democrat Councillors on Newcastle City Council were outraged when the Labour leadership decided that the most important issue facing the Council this month was a meaningless call to the Liberal Democrat Party nationally to abandon the Coalition Government to which it had commit itself for the fixed term of this Parliament.
Liberal Democrat Leader Anita Lower said ;
We have a number of motions on this month's agenda, perhaps most telling is that (as I am sure all members know) motions are placed on the agenda in the order they are received. Therefore, I was astonished to see such a puerile motion first in the thoughts of the Leader of Council.
I could understand if this motion addressed some of the issues that the Leader has embraced over the past months - the subversive infiltration of Sure Start parents or Action Group, the City at the edge of a precipice as per his Guardian interview, or the streets of the West End being compared to the slums of Mumbai by a Labour colleague. I would have been much more sympathetic if it was a motion about funding and how hard it is to run the City with £880m of assorted funding streams available for next year.
I wonder what other members of the NECA (North East Combined Authority) must think. Whilst other Authorities in the region have taken greater cuts than Newcastle, they are getting on with business and trying to present the North East as somewhere open to do business, not on the verge of civil unrest.
Maybe The Leader of Council should invite The Guardian back again to look at some of the positives:
* Housebuilding in Scotswood and Great Park
* City Centre regeneration
* The work on Science City
* New technologies on the riverside;
* Cash for the Metro Reinvigoration
* Local growth deal
* He could tell us where the TIF money has been used in the past 18 months.
* There are 50,000 more staff in schools than in 2010.
I could go on but would run over time so I will leave it to my colleagues to contribute.
However, I will finish with one challenge to the Leader of Council, will he confirm he will be telling the Labour Leadership to refuse to enter into a coalition after the next Election.
Councillor Robin Ashby said :
As a preface, the vast majority of our electors will see the primary motion as silly Socialist point scoring rather than talking about what's important to them……… providing efficient and effective local services.
But as you insist upon this irrelevant debate, I fear I must remind you again of real history
In 2010 Labour was rejected by the country
60% of the votes were cast for the present coalition parties
Gordon Brown was sent packing
Your unopposed leader
Your unelected Prime Minister
The man who spent years undermining Tony Blair behind his back
The man who craved power but had no idea how to use it
The man who claimed to abolish boom and bust in the economy
The man who with Ed Balls gave the Bank of England independence - so as has been revealed today, they could all go to sleep on the job, allowing Northern Rock management to run riot and trash the savings of local people.
The man who left the Treasury empty
The man who tried to cling on to power by doing a deal with the Lib Dems even though he'd been trounced
The man whose disciples the Red Eds Milliband and Balls are now at your helm
Who might yet need the help of the Lib Dems to form a Government
That is, if the brother from over the water doesn't return to plunge the comrades into fratricide.
So do you REALLY want to preach treachery to us too?
Do you want to set a precedent for stabbing a Labour coalition in the back?
Do you want your leaders to be constantly looking over their shoulders in case any moment we may follow the advice in this inept, silly motion
But make no mistake
The Liberal Democrats have paid a terrible price to bring stability to this country. stability which is now paying off
The stability of Coalition has created the conditions to turn round the economy, now one of the fastest growing in the Western world
• To create conditions for a million jobs in the private sector
• Of which many thousands, plus apprenticeships, are here in our great city
• To pump £10 billion into the NHS
• To cut the income tax paid by 104,000 residents of Newcastle
• To take 11,640 of the lowest earners out of tax altogether
• To invest so much in higher education that we have a construction boom here in Newcastle to meet the needs of thousands of extra students
• To prime the pump massively to stimulate more regional private investment
• To see salaries growing at a faster rate in the north east than any other part of the country
• To give 9000 younger children universal free school meals so they learn better
• To give 8000 local parents free childcare hours
• So that over 1200 disadvantaged two year olds in Newcastle are benefitting from the centrally funded early education and childcare offer.
• And many other achievements that I have no more time to recite
It's been hard. It's hard to work with politicians whose basic philosophy you despise.
But the national interest demanded strong government for difficult times.
We brought heart, where we might yet bring spine in the future
We made the sacrifice for the people, and they at least are benefiting from it
So you on the other side of the chamber can take your unwanted advice and……