Sunday, 29 May 2011

A Rock And A Hard Place

It was a tough choice holding the balance of power in Reading We were between a rock and a hard place and tried to choose the least bad option. A Lab minority administration at leadt means we can combine with other oppositiion and vote down their worst policies.

An alliance with the Tories and LD would be far worse news. They have cut services and made the most vulnerable suffer. Their response to our actions has been to invent a promise from Rob to back a Tory Mayor. Why he would do this they dont explain. Rob says he made no pledge and thats good enough for me. I suspect its a strategy to distract from their poor record, but that will not work.

Before the election they tried something similar, claiming a green vote was the same as Labour. Actually this may have helped us, a Tory telling ordinary voters that we were at least as good as Labour.

When we started in politics in 2004 all the parties said we couldnt possibly win, that we were a wasted vote. We kept trying and in 2009 triumphed, proved them all wrong. They then said it was just Rob, we could never repeat it. Once again they were wrong, the next election in 2011 saw a second triumph for us with Melanie.

Clearly they could not go on saying we couldnt possibly win. That required a channge of tactics, so now we are said to be "pledge breakers". How very bad, or is it just a red herring, a distraction from real events. If Reading people liked what they did last year they would have voted for more coalition not less. Its they that made the choice. Tories, you should learn from your mistakes. Or repeat them.

The mayor making was quite a night at the council as we didnt back any of them. Abstaining and letting them battle it out has resulted in a minority Labour administration. If/when Labour do something we dont like we opposition can combine and defeat them.

In 2008, I think it was, the then opposition Tory and LD (pre coalition) combined to put in their choice of Mayor and outvoted Lab. So making the mayor political. They hope people will have forgotten this. Hypocrites.

This year much the same has happened, a Tory deputy mayor got replaced by a Lab candidate for Mayor So thats the precedent for this year.

The LD and Tories now say "How dare we treat the deputy mayor in this way". Just the way they treated the then deputy in 2008. its not personal, just politics. See where the depty who lost was one Debora Edwards, who becomes Mayor now. Some would say justice is done.

The LD have a different tactic. They are now claiming to be the party helping those in poverty. And they are talking up what they have done to tackle climate change and support cycling. There record in power tells a different story they backed a Tory administration that cut services and did nothing to reduce emissions. Shame on them for claiming one thing and delivering another. A single extra cycle parking place would have helped, but no all the money went on making traffic worse. Unsustainable transport gets all the money, its an old story.

So thats the choice, not much choice as it happens. All the big parties have a similar agenda. Last year the LD did a "labservatices" spoof. Fair play Would mean a "Libservatives" one, with Clegg as Camerons poodle. Thats how voters see them. Local spoof site muckspreading could do it, if it wernt so biased.

At least in Reading we have a real opposition noe, two Greens who will stand up for the people who voted for them. This fact changes everything, it can give some backbone to to other opposition parties who are all to often ineffective.


Isobel Ballsdon said...

Adrian you've got your facts wrong. Labour tried to block Fred Pugh becoming deputy mayor in 2008 by voting against. However the Lib Dems supported us and Fred was duly elected deputy mayor. The following year Fred was elevated to mayor (labour abstained).
Rob White told both Andrew Cumpsty and Daisy Benson that the Greens were going to follow tradition and support Jenny. Rob White then went back on his word.

Adrian Windisch said...

Thats not what the link says.

But you are admitting that a previous mayor was political so this tradition you site is so much tosh. Cheers for confirming that.

Your source on this "pledge" is politically motivated, and I trust Rob. Andrew and Daisy appear to me to be bad losers.

PolitePaulo said...

I'm not sure it is accurate to say that Melanie and Rob "abstained" in the vote, as this implies that they sat on the fence. A more accurate form of words would be to say "refused to vote for either of the poor choices available".

Isobel Ballsdon said...

No Adrian. Fred was not mayor in 2008. He was voted in as deputy mayor that year by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Fred was not political: however the way labour voted was political because they said nasty things against him in an attempt to block him. Fred was a superb mayor.

The following year labour forgot their supposed "principled" stand against Fred and abstained so as to get Gul Khan elected as deputy mayor.

Gareth Epps said...

Quote from you Adrian:-
"In 2008, I think it was, the then opposition Tory and LD (pre coalition) combined to put in their choice of Mayor and outvoted Lab. So making the mayor political. They hope people will have forgotten this. Hypocrites."

Absolute garbage. In 2008 it was taken as the opposition's 'turn' to have the Mayor, after a run of four Labour incumbents (Stainthorp, Chaudri, Tickner and Maskell).

Labour were openly admitting in discussions that they had very few in their Group who wanted to do it, and so put forward Debbie Edwards who at that stage had only been a councillor for two years. They had an ideological opposition to Fred Pugh ever becoming Mayor, in just the sort of manner of personal vendetta that is typical of Reading Labour. But Labour openly admitted that they would back any other Conservative candidate for Mayor other than Fred Pugh.

The Liberal Democrat Group discussed this at length, talked to Fred to get his side of the story, and almost all of us voted (on a free vote as I remember) to back Fred for Deputy, as all councillors were in agreement that it was the tories' turn.

So, Adrian, you are talking absolute garbage; the 2008 Deputy Mayor vote was not political, but was about Labour's personal vendetta against one individual. Don't make wild statements, as you are prone to do, on things you know absolutely nothing about.

Adrian Windisch said... has a different version of events.
"Politics entered the normally non-political mayor-making ceremony as two candidates for deputy mayor were nominated. Veteran Tory councillor Fred Pugh won the vote, beating the Labour nominee Cllr Deborah Edwards by 21 votes"
I wasnt involved myself and dont know the details, as I made clear in the original post you quote; but read the link before commenting further to save any more embarasment.

Either that year it was political and set a precedent or it wasnt and the post got it all wrong. And if it was political then the tradition of it not being political is only when convenient. So all those comments about this being unprecedented, "infamy" as one has it, is b s.

As to the so called pledge, to repeat myself, I believe Rob. I suspect Andrew and Daisy of being poliically motivated, though its possible they have both simply got confused.

Gareth Epps said...

Adrian, I was Lib Dem group leader at the time, when the Council had just gone into no overall control. I still have the correspondence.

Labour forced a vote because of a quite nasty personal vendetta against Fred Pugh; they openly said at the time that they would support any other Conservative as Deputy Mayor.

I think it's you that had better think before commenting further to save yourself embarrassment.

sez.seymour said...

I think what has gone on here is simple miscommunication. I hope I am not speaking out of turn but my impression of comments that Rob made in my hearing (I am no one special by the way - just a resident!) was that he was not really bothered who became Mayor. I assumed that this meant he would probably abstain as this is the way you indicate that you have no preference for either candidate. Saying that you are happy for tradition to be followed (if indeed Rob ever made that comment)does not actually indicate that you are actively going to seek that outcome. Finally as a resident can I say that all this argy bargy from Tories has just irritated me. Is the Mayor that has been chosen capable of carrying out the job? Then move on! I don't honestly care who is Mayor as long as they are not an idiot and you are meant to go into local politics for the good of the community not for the kudos, so at least make an attempt not to look like children squabbling over who is going to be the Indian Chief this time!

Gareth Epps said...


Adrian Windisch said...

Good point Sez. Rob has made comments on Cllr Richard Willis blog where he sets the record straight.

As for Gareth, every posts he makes is proving me correct. It was political in 2008 so thats the precedent. The more they argue shows they are in denial.

Quite amusing really.

Adrian Windisch said...

For those interested in the history of Gareths comments to me earlier, see

He says 'The fact is that anyone our LD members select to fight Reading West will have much firmer green credentials than Lab and the Tories could muster between them and the credibility lacked by the maverick Green candidate there.'

This was completely unprovoked incidentally. Being called a Maverick could be a compliment, suggesting I have no credibility isn't. I have yet to respond in kind, but naturally my respect for him is not very high.

Gareth Epps said...

Adrian, the point you deliberately don't admit is that in 2008 the argument was over an individual, not from which political party the Mayor would come. Get over it.

The sort of spin you clumsily attempt here is exactly what undermines your personal credibility in my eyes.