Please note: these Jottings are purely personal comment, and do not necessarily or directly represent the policy of either the Conservative Party or the Conservative Group on Medway Council.
When it comes to what most people want from their elected representatives is some positive action and some worthwhile proposals. A track record of delivery helps give confidence that this will happen, but attitude on the day (and day!) is what many people to whom I have spoken assess.
Thus, every year at budget-setting time by the elected Medway Council, it is the Conservative Administration's task to produce a budget that includes a programme of growth and improvement—concrete decisions that people can point to and say: "Yes, I can relate to that!"
It is therefore always a disappointment nowadays that opposition members generally fail to make any positive contribution to Medway life at this ideal opportunity to do so. The Labour Group (as the currently largest opposition group on Medway Council) traditionally did make an effort, though it wasn't very good and soon got rumbled as more of a publicity exercise than something that could be delivered.
They have not bothered to do this for several years now. Presumably they realise that they would only do as they did before, which was to make fools of themselves in public. Indeed, there were some members of the public in attendance this year, along with a local newspaper reporter.
At least, to their credit, the Liberal Democrats (who I suspect will become the largest opposition group after the next local elections, if they play their cards right) did offer a couple of amendments. Strictly speaking, the second one didn't really belong at that meeting, and was rejected; but the other (which had a selection of three options) we did accept, picking the most appropriate option—so it isn't going in as a vague idea, but is tied-down to that option. Well played by both them and us: that's how to make a useful contribution!
Meanwhile, Labour just spouted their usual negativity, running down everything they could without offering anything themselves. Easy words, but no real substance, from both the Red Waffler as usual, and the Labour Leader (whose demeanour rather reminds me of Albert Steptoe), as last year, and the year before, and... Well, you get the idea.
This year it got a bit boring, as the Red Waffler (Cllr Glyn Griffiths) spoke for getting on for twice as long as he did at last year's Budget Council meeting—36 minutes as against 21 mins in 2007. Although he is capable of speaking well, this was just a droning diatribe, of no value whatsoever to Medway and its residents.
Worst of all, he attempted to justify the effective theft of millions of pounds from Medway every year, including this coming year. This works through wheezes that take money calculated to be needed here and instead diverts it into bailing out Labour-run councils that continually overspend, year on year. Why would anyone who refuses to stick up for Medway be elected to this council? Perhaps that will change at the next local election here...
You wouldn't think he gets an additional payment on top of his standard Councillor's Allowance for doing so little and so uselessly, would you? He could at least try to earn it by working on an alternative budget, and putting forward concrete proposals in his speech to the Budget Council. That's his job, really, though not explicitly demanded. But no, not a chance. Once again zero value from a party of zeroes.
I'd suggest that this is not what the people of Medway want from their elected councillors!