June 4, 2014 1 Comment
When I was first told that there was going to be a press conference yesterday I was a little surprised. The press conference I refer to is the one announcing the establishment of a Joint Administration on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
My surprised stems from the fact that the Joint Administration does not, and cannot, exist until it has been voted for at tomorrow’s Full Council. (Note: whilst the media refer to it as a Coalition, the agreement document refers to a Joint Administration.)
I, and my Labour colleagues, have yet to even sign the agreement – the final version was only issued yesterday (after the press conference) and we are due to sign tonight. I do not expect anyone to rebel, but the headlines in today’s newspapers do jump the gun somewhat.
I understand that there are situations where announcing in advance and leaking are necessary – this is not one of those. Who runs the town is decided by the fifty-one who sit in the Council chamber; for a Leader who talks about “open democracy” he has not got off to a good start.
The numbers are close: the Independents (who now include Cllr Velmurugan, back from exile), Labour and the Liberal Democrats total 27. This gives a majority of three. However, absence or a wobbling councillor or two could see a very close vote. The Conservatives and UKIP are 24 in number, and whilst they may not vote together (and UKIP could even support Cllr Woodley) I kind of like the idea that my vote in the chamber means something.
I have refrained from writing about the prospect of a Joint Administration and will tackle the subject after Thursday’s vote.
I should state that this blog has always been my independent and individual voice, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Labour Party as a whole, and I guess I will have to include the Joint Administration in this caveat – for the foreseeable future anyway.