Tuesday, February 03, 2009

LibDem Lollipop U-turn

Liberal Democrats in Liverpool have bowed to pressure from Labour councillors, schools, parents, governors and children and scrapped plans to cut the school crossing patrol service.

This is of course great news

However, in a staggering sleight of hand, the LibDems are now trying to suggest that the plans and proposals came from Liverpool City Council officers (staff) not them, and they are only reflecting public views by rejecting the scrapping of 25 lollipop ladies and men.

Now make no mistake, they have ALREADY VOTED IN FAVOUR OF THESE MEASURES - last Wednesday, they all put their hands up for this.

Are we all absolutely clear what this means?

The Liberal Democrat administration is supposed to run this council. Leader Warren Bradley and his cabinet of Executive Members are elected to provide the strategic direction for all local government policy. They should be making clear their political priorities and then asking the officers to do whatever is necessary to implement them. They are not supposed to be buffeted by the actions of officers, they are not supposed to be caught on the hop by something.

They should not sitting back and letting officers take decisions.

If we wanted to be run by civil servants then we would not need elections at all.

I cannot believe that all 46 Liberal Democrats turned up in the council chamber last week to vote for a budget that they had not read properly. I cannot believe that they had not discussed the implications of a cut to Lollipop services with each other before they came into the meeting. I cannot believe that they had not asked questions of the relevant council staff and made sure they were in agreement with the proposals before putting their hands up to vote.

I also cannot believe that they sat and listened to us arguing passionately against this cut yet were still prepared to vote for something that obviously was very controversial – but which they now say they did not really know anything about and had not themselves proposed. They ignored our amendment and forced through the vote in favour of their own proposals.

If this is true, then they are blind sheep, who go into the chamber, stick their hand up when their leader tells them to, and we may as well get rid of the lot of them.

If this is true then they have no political compass and are utterly inept and drifting

If this is true then it is a massive dereliction of duty and a national scandal.

The alternative however is not to believe a word of it. They were perfectly clear on the detail, they were perfectly clear about which crossings were at threat and at what times of day, and Councillor Flo Clucas had gone on TV to defend these plans in the days leading up to the budget vote. She cannot now say that she did all that without understanding what the cuts meant.

So what we are left with is the image of a council totally lacking in political understanding, totally at odds with its people. Bankrupt financially and bankrupt of ideas. A council where the elected politicians could not see that scrapping school crossing patrols would be a step too far for the residents.

(And if the raging arguments about introducing car-parking charges in the city centre between 6pm and 8pm are anything to go by, they are out of step with Liverpool businesses too. Expect another u-turn any day now)


scouseboy said...

Spooky or what? I was informing the world wide web about the same shortcomings of the Fib Dems on my blog at the same time as you were!!!
The more people that wise up to them the better!!!

Anonymous said...

Scouseboy is allowing the dog to do the thinking again... down boy!