CBC Cabinet Titbits

Things that we now know following the CBC Cabinet meeting this evening…

Protest and Political Careerists

The anti-austerity protest took place outside the Town Hall, as planned. We’re still not entirely sure what the aim was.

Nasty, nasty Tories and the Summer Budget?

Yep.

That seems to tick the political boxes.

But putting across your anger before a Cabinet meeting made up of a LibDem and Labour Coalition?

Still, it was all very pleasant.

Banners and flags lined the main entrance to the Town Hall. We gave a wink to the RADICAL Cllr Tim Young and Cllr Tina Bourne who were ‘protesting.’

Minutes later and they had taken their seat at the top table of the political careerists.

Nice.

Cabinet has Become Something of a Protest Heavy Hot House of Late

The anti-austerity lot then filed into the Grand Jury Room. We haven’t seen it so busy since oooh – the last time there was a protest outside the Town Hall.

No sign of Cllr / MP Will Quince this time and his Save our Market T-Shirt.

It was good to see so much interest in the CBC Cabinet with no Mandate, but once again we feel that the political blows might have been better guided elsewhere.

SEXY as though the Revisions to Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service (CIMS) Joint Committee Agreement report was, we don’t think that it was high on the agenda of the political protestors.

It’s All About Have Your Say

Ahhh– so that’s what it was all about. The anti-austerity banner wavers had come to hear the Have Your Say speakers address the Cabinet with no Mandate.

But yeah – we’re still finding it slightly tenuous to make the connections between a LibLab Cabinet and the Tory cuts.

Green party activist Mark Goacher did a half-decent job though.

You may remember how Mark emerged as something of a star during the General Election campaign in Sunny Colch.

Actually – does anyone even remember the General Election campaign in Sunny Colch?

The point of Have Your Say is to… Have Your Say.

Yer Green man did just that, asking the Cabinet with no Mandate what they can do to collectively counter-act the Conservative cuts.

Given that they have no mandate to govern in Colchester, trying to stop the national Tory cuts might be a job too far for even the brightest political minds in the town.

Mark asked about the benefits cap, the harsh treatment of the under-25’s in the Summer Budget and the housing situation in Colchester.

That LibLabIndie alliance then came very close to becoming a LibLabIndieGreen collective.

You’re either for us, or against us, etc.

CBC Leader Cllr Smith addressed each point. He spoke about the contribution that CBC has made to building social housing for the first time in almost 20 years in the town.

Cllr Bourne talked about “working proactively with partner organisations.”

We think she means talking to the likes of Colchester Borough Homes.

Cllr Smith then came back with the very key point that CBC is a Living Wage employer.

But with so many localgov services pimped out to the private sector, there is the very real concern that this is simply a claim that sits well only on a letterhead.

CBC to its credit however insists that any contracts with the private sector can only be signed if the third party also commits to the Living Wage.

Good.

Labour’s Cllr Rosalind Scott was another of the protesters turned politicians who had made it up the stairs to the Grand Jury Room. The Wivenhoe Cllr also addressed Cabinet as part of Have Your Say.

It was a fine upper cut to the Tories at ECC, and then a hard jab in the ribs to the Tories in Westminster.

POW. Right in the kisser.

With Have Your Say having been had, the anti-austerity protestors then filed out of the Grand Jury Room.

Which was all something of a shame.

If they had stuck around they could have seen how Cabinet is all about compromise, as well as some nonsense political tit-for-tat that wastes everyones time.

Don’t Mention Joyce Brooks House

uh-oh.

The Appointment of Contractors for Refurbishment of the Enoch House Sheltered Housing Scheme involved an informative presentation.

It also led to the re-surfacing of Joyce Brooks House – but in a good way.

So that makes it alright then.

Cabinet sat through a presentation showing how wonderful the refurbishment at Enoch House has been. Tales of jacuzzis were told, and how the new accommodation has a “hotel feel.”

Nice.

Helping to pay for all of this was the hard political decision of closing Joyce Brooks House, rather than refurbishing it.

You gotta say that it looked like a job well done.

LibDem Cllr Bill Frame came out with a bit of an odd statement about how the 20% overspend in the refurbishment was a “good thing.”

We kinda get his point that it means that the local Colchester construction economy gets more work, but not so much the point that this comes at the expense of the Council Tax payer.

Strategic Partnerships Appear to Work Better a Local Level

The Future of South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) basically involved the Tory Opposition leading on a project that the weird LibLab lot need to support.

The South East LEP is a BEAST. Everyone wants it broken up.

But what will it be replaced by?

Wearing one of his many hats, Cllr Kevin Bentley addressed Cabinet in his capacity as an Essex County Cllr.

We think.

Cllr Bentley managed to convince the CBC Cabinet that the SE LEP has probably had its day. The move is now underway to set up an Essex based replacement.

As one would expect from a LibDem dominated Cabinet, caution was the word.

Cllr Mark Cory spoke elegantly about making sure that there was a safety net of an Essex LEP before doing the dirty on the SE dodo.

For all the delicate cross-party considerations in trying to find the best solution for Colchester, Cllr Tim Young still managed to politicise the whole process.

And you wonder why we are so distrustful of this Cabinet with no Mandate and the coalition way of working?

Two Budgets for the Price of One

On the day that Gideon put forward his Summer Budget proposals, it was fitting that the CBC Cabinet then looked ahead to the 2016/17 Budget Strategy, Medium Term Financial Forecast and Budget Timetable.

If only the anti-austerity protestors has stuck around to listen…

This was a technical debate, but also one that was flawed.

All of the Cabinet proposals in the report now need to be carefully re-considered, given Gideon’s ramblings from the despatch box earlier in the afternoon.

Colchester Conservative Leader Cllr Dennis Willetts chose to attack on the CBC “money mountain.”

We think that the magical Tory Money Tree is struggling to take root on top.

Cllr Willetts also tried to make a connection with the anti-austerity protestors. He suggested that residents will be wondering why CBC is rolling out austerity when it has cash reserves.

The political tit-for-tat then followed for the next ten minutes or so.

We think that it is written into the CBC constitution that Firstsite always settles any financial political point scoring.

Cllr Tim Young pulled out his Top Trump card by politicising Firstsite once again, something that we thought had been banished from the CBC lexicon only last month.

Two Museums for the Price of One

The Revisions to Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service (CIMS) Joint Committee Agreement was pretty straight forward.

The report tinkers around with some of the wording in the now dated joint agreement with that lot on the other side of the borough border.

And then that was pretty much yer lot. All members of the public [that will be just The Chronic then] were thrown out of the Grand Jury Room, ahead of some highly important Cabinet reports that were no doubt too challenging for our little political head to even ponder.

3 thoughts on “CBC Cabinet Titbits

  1. Hi. The Colchester branch of the Peoples Assembly organised the protest outside the town hall yesterday – it was one of a number of protests against the Tory Emergency Budget (and austerity generally) that were organised in towns and cities across the country. The purpose of the protest was not only to voice our anger at austerity, but to invite people to share with us their stories of how austerity has had an impact on them. (Which they did). Our local council might be a LibLab alliance, but they are also the local representatives of parties which have either failed to robustly oppose – or support in part or in whole – the austerity measures which are causing increased child poverty, homelessness, greater poverty for disabled and chronically ill people, cuts to services for victims of domestic violence and.. well, the list goes on. The old, young, disabled, low paid people and families who were there were glad of the chance to democratically exercise their right to protest. Hopefully that will clarify things for you.

  2. Sorry, are somehow suggesting that because one self-publicising-never-fails-to-take-advantage-of-a-photo-opportunity councillor (and perhaps one who actually opposes austerity) show up for a protest they had no part in organising, that this somehow detracts from the validity of the protest or the anger and concern of those who recognise austerity for the already-failing and morally dubious political ideology that it is?

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