- and what a total shambles it was, if you cannot keep up with what follows, then don't despair, you are in very good company!
We spent hours debating the budget proposals from the ruling LibDems, then amendments from the Labour Party, Green Party and Liberal Party.
There was a total lack of clarity over some of the issues - most particularly the proposed cut in services for Lollipop men and ladies - or a realignment as the Deputy Leader insisted on calling it.
Was the list of 25 affected school crossing patrols that Labour councillors had been provided with by the Executive Director, the right list, or was there a different list?
And was it a secret list?
And who wrote it?
Were there 24 schools or 25 that might be affected?
Were primary schools to be protected from the cuts in lollipop services as Councillor Flo Clucas, the Deputy Leader of the Council kept insisting, or not?
Was the cut only applicable to schools where the children were not permitted out of school at lunchtime, or not?
Was it also applicable to a primary school where the ward councillor said that actually the children leave en mass at lunch time to go to a different venue to get their lunch?
Were these schools with no (alleged) need for a lunch time patrol, only secondary schools or also primary schools?
And if the latter, did this mean that primary schools were being protected from the cuts, or not?
Was the Council Leader's offer to call a meeting tomorrow to get to the bottom of the cuts, sorry realignment, accepted?
Why did they need such a meeting if it was as crystal clear as the Deputy Leader kept insisting?
Did the Deputy Leader really say on the TV at the weekend that the changes did not include primary schools as she insisted?
And if so, why was that not in the transcript.
Did Councillor Paul Clark, LibDem, County Ward, really guarantee that Councillor Joe Hanson, Labour, Kirkdale ward, could sleep safely in his bed because none of the schools he was worried about would be affected?
And was he in a position to make such a promise?
Why had nobody on the LibDem back-benches seen the list of affected schools that had been shared with the Labour group?
And how would moving school patrols away from schools that dont need a lunch time service save £200,000?
And does the left hand within the LibDem administration have even the slightest idea what the right hand is doing?
And most importantly, are our children safe? Who knows, certainly not the Liberal Democrats!
The council meeting began at 4pm with a special meeting that lasted 4 minutes of the hour set aside for it, which then had us all sitting around idly for 55 minutes before the substantive meeting began. That lost time meant that when we finally got into the detail of the main meeting, with a very lengthy budget debate, we ran on and on until we were staring 10pm in the face.
A really key motion was deferred to a future meeting. This was despite substantial cross-party support, as far as I understand it. It concerns the desirability of all councillors to have enhanced CRB checks, enabling us to carry out our corporate parenting role, important in the wake of the death of Baby P. This was deferred despite considerable opposition (but not enough opposition), mainly because people said they were getting tired, although I heard several say to each other that it was because they wanted to watch the football! Why would someone who supported the motion not want to debate it and get it passed? All power to the elbow of my opposite number for being the only LibDem to put our children before the footie and vote to debate the motion there and then.
We hope to debate it in March, at the budget meeting, hardly an appropriate time if today is anything to go by. I felt we were being manipulated by those who are idealogically opposed to CRB checks in the first place and just wanted to put off the inevitable and that they were being supported by football supporters, and then it became a partisan issue, with the parties voting on block which was very wrong (Paula aside).
We then had a lengthy debate about the capital of culture - and whether it was all down to the LibDems or whether it was fairer to call it a cross-party success with the people of Liverpool being the real reason why the bid was successful. Actually that might have come before the CRB motion, I cannot recall now, but obviously we had time to talk about party politics and who had the bigger Dad. Colin Eldridge was keen to get some self-praise onto the floor of the chamber, most particularly he was keen that we should know that his head is visible in the photo when the news of the success of the bid was announced.
That would not surprise me at all, that he was in the photo, you only have to look at the latest edition of the City magazine (with Cilla on the front!!! and which I dont get delivered, in common with half the residents of my ward, because the distribution is very poor) to see how often he features in photos that do not concern his ward or his portfolio (well of course he does not have one of those any more). I dont know how he muscles his way into so many photos but it is amazing how often they go on to appear in his LibDem leaflets.
Incidentally, I carefully wrote down that he asked Cllr Flo Clucas what the total contribution from the "Government in all its guises" to Capital of Culture was, and she agreed with him that it was £29.63million.
And how much did they ask for initially? I understand it was £10million
So they asked for £10 million and the Government, in all its guises, paid across £29.63 million.
And the LibDems call this contribution "measly" and only this week said on the Marc Waddington blog "What really got me was your claim about the Government's £27M contribution. Crass, if it wasn't so wide of the mark"
There are those that suggest that blog contribution came from Eldridge himself, I dont know if that is true, but whichever LibDem it was must now eat their words.
Imagine turning your nose up at nearly £30million contribution, if it was as measly as all that, if it was so ungratefully received, I wonder if they should be asked to send the money back so it can be spent somewhere where it can be appreciated.
And what a shame that I have continually underestimated the contribution by "Government in all its guises" by £2.6 million, calling it £27 million when it was closer to £30 million. Rest assured I won't make that mistake again!
We have it from Flo herself, and Paul Brant and I both made a big show of writing that answer down, and we wont forget it.
So we had time to make cheap political digs, but it seems we did not have time to talk about our responsibility for looked-after children
We had a motion on the table with total cross-party support, that we should support the idea of a Liverpool Pride, the LGBT supporters had sat for 6 hours to hear us vote on this. It should have been 90-nil (or whatever proportion of councillors were still in the chamber by now) but it was with a ripple of shock that we heard two LibDem councillors announce their opposition to the plan. It went through of course, but it was still a matter of extreme disappointment and concern that it was not unanimous (Councillors Stuart Monkcom and Phil Moffatt voted against it - both I think for religious reasons which I must call misplaced).
I am sure the shambles and the disgraces piled up in other areas, but really, you had to be there. Or then again, if you beleive in representative democracy it is probably better that you weren't.