Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The shame surrounding mental health

There is a notice on the board in the corridor at work which states that one in six people in the workplace are likely to be suffering from depression, anxiety or stress.  Now considering the problem we have been dealing with over the past few weeks then the jokes were obvious.

However, it is no laughing matter.  Mental health problems are still a taboo subject for far too many people – far easier to admit to having a physical problem than to admit that the mental stresses and strains of life are sometimes just a little bit too much. What will people think?  Will they start hiding sharp objects and double locking third floor windows just in case?

We all get a bit uptight now and again, we all get down in the dumps, and we all get a little bit tense.  For some people the reactions to situations and events are far more extreme.  They need help just the same as someone suffering with diabetes or any other health problem.We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about these problems – they affect far more people than you may expect, and once a sufferer is brave enough to admit it then they will probably find a lot more people around them willing to stand up and admit similar problems.

There is no shame in being a sufferer from depression or anxiety or any such illness. The shame is that society is still not ready to accept mental illness on the same level as any other.  It is also a great pity that far too many doctors still use the term ‘stress’ to cover  a wide range of non-specific issues and fob patents off with a handful of valium!  The shame is that people are made to feel so embarrassed that they avoid seeking help. The shame is with those people who just don't want to understand.

Labour need to grow up

Well I’ve checked the RCT Council resolution and it states that “Proceedings at meetings may not be photographed, videoed, sound recorded or transmitted in anyway outside the meeting without prior permission of the Mayor. Failure to comply with this rule may invoke Rule 19.4 (Members to leave meeting) and 20.1 (Removal of members of the public).”

Nothing at all there that says I can’t blog afterwards about what a complete and absolute bunch of a*******s the Labour group there are.
Honestly I have seen better behaviour in a Nursery class.  These people are running the second largest Local Authority in Wales, and apologies for the old joke but if brains were dynamite then between them they couldn’t gather enough to blow the leader’s nose!
Not only that but they really are as nasty and vindictive a bunch of people as you could ever hope to meet (or hope not to meet I should say.)  The childish snipes, the loud mutterings whenever any opposition member dares to voice an opinion.  They have a huge majority they can do what they want, yet that is not enough.  They like to put on the superior act, to shout others down, to try and intimidate.  I often wonder what the Officers present think of the show – they would surely be sacked for behaving in such a way.
It is a shame that more people don’t get to see their appalling behaviour.  Although on the other hand many people have a low enough opinion of politicians as it is and are turned off by the democratic process.  This exhibition of idiocy would do little to persuade people they should become more involved.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Calm down Russell you’re making a fool of yourself

Now I am a big fan of the work of Russell T Davies, especially Dr Who and Torchwood, but the claptrap he has been spouting to the press has not endeared me to the man himself.
Now granted he may be a little upset at cuts to the BBC budget, but to accuse Nick Clegg and David Cameron of being "savage and evil people” is a little OTT don’t you think?
He is reported on Wales Online as saying that “prioritizing health and education spending over funding for the arts was a false comparison.”
Really?  Now I like a bit of telly as much as the next person, my life is forever enriched by a bit of Corrie, a run around Cardiff Bay with Captain Jack, or Lembit on the latest reality show (!).  It brings me Glastonbury without the mud, Wimbledon without the rain, and Wales losing to just about anyone without the pain of paying for a ticket.
But it is hardly life or death stuff.  A hospital ward kept open or a new series of Waking The Dead?  More equipment for schools, or a new top of the bill name for Waterloo Road?
Drama Queen Davies rambled on
"When is he (Cameron) a consumer of that stuff, when do you imagine that David Cameron actually sat down and enjoyed a night’s television? How much do you think he knows about it.”
And just how much does Russell know about real life, about the practicalities of running a country, about the tough decisions that have to be made.  You can’t call ‘take two’ in reality. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

More positive news on the jobs front

Good news for the area today as the Gloucestershire based firm Renishaw announced it is to buy the Bosch plant at Miskin.  They have made no commitment to take on existing Bosch staff and as yet no guarantees about jobs but as this seems to be an extension of their operation not a relocation then it sounds hopeful.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pontypridd redevelopment - a long time coming

Welcome news recently that at last developers have started to tear down the Taff Vale Precinct as a prelude to developing a brand new retail centre in Pontypridd.  But people have every right to be sceptical after waiting for over 30 years for promised redevelopment.
What exactly are we going to end up with here?  The history of the site is long and has promised all sorts – major chain stores, hotels, restaurants, offices.  At one stage even the relocation of the Council HQ to make Pontypridd the county town.
In 2007 planning consent was granted for a scheme that would have provided over 400,000 sq ft of new retail space, residential apartments and leisure accommodation including a hotel.  The Pontypridd Observer reported that ‘PONTYPRIDD’S “ugly duckling” Taff Vale shopping centre could be transformed into an elegant hotel, apartments and offices and modern shopping complex .’
As stated on the developers’ website “shortly thereafter a downturn in the property market began.”  So new plans were cobbled together which provided for a far less attractive development with a much smaller retail area and a ‘budget’ hotel provided for in phase 2.
Six new shops are planned of various sizes – not a lot to regenerate what is supposedly the County Town. Worryingly developers Riddell state they have let only two of the units.  There is no mention at all of ‘phase 2’ or the planned hotel anywhere on either their website or the RCT press release.
Meanwhile we have also seen this past week an announcement of a planning application to build a new town in Talbot Green

At this rate Ponty will be lucky to end up with a couple of new market stalls and a hot dog stand,

Only Leighton can save us now

Leighton Andrews is clearly out of his depth with the education portfolio.  His ego appears to be getting in the way of any real progress and he seems convinced that his way is the only way.
According to the BBC today he thinks that the Welsh Government (yes the Labour one) was wrong to abolish SATS (did he mention that to Janey baby at the time?).   He thinks they ‘may not’ have put in place "sufficient ways of ensuring the judgements that teachers were making were done on a consistent basis local authority by local authority".
Now it is blatantly obvious that they failed to do anything of the sort, but SATS are not the answer.  The abolition of SATS had cross party support, more importantly it had the support of the people who really matter, the teachers!
Mr Andrews is determined to right the wrongs as he sees it of his predecessor. He will no doubt ignore the opinions of anyone else as he rushes headlong into making these random changes, determined to make his mark.
He made his last lot of pronouncements outside of the Siambr which gave no opportunity for scrutiny of or indeed questions on the subject by Assembly members.  His next one is again due to be made outside of the confines of the Assembly at an IWA event next week.
He seems to be missing a major point – testing does not raise standards.  Ongoing assessment which is then acted on does – and I certainly would not disagree that there needs to be a degree of standardisation of assessment methods across Wales.  SATS did not provide that.  Yes the questions were standard, but marking varied greatly and some schools did bend the rules slightly more than others.  As a Governor of a Secondary School I know that SATS certainly did not provide a reliable assessment of pupils’ ability.
Perhaps the Minister should stop rushing around like a headless chicken and take some soundings form the professionals.  In the meantime I’d imagine he’s off Jane Davidson’s Christmas card list.

Just a stone’s throw away

Over the border in Shropshire a row has broken out over the Bishop’s Castle stone skimming championship.  A change of rules has been proposed which means that competitors won’t be able to bring their own stones.
The aptly named Mr Long from Welshpool , the over 60’s champion is rock solid in his view that a man’s stone is personal and not to be taken lightly. No doubt he is concerned that they have just cobbled together something last minute and that the competition will not be as grit as a result.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oh Edward, Edward, Edward

Accompanied by lots of determined earnest finger waving Ed Miliband has announced that the Labour party “must change to win.”
Just what planet is this man on?  He made this speech to Labour’s policy forum meeting in Wrexham seemingly ignorant of the fact that in Wales Labour did win – although maybe by not as much as they would have liked – and people in the main unfortunately didn’t seem to be a jot bothered that they hadn’t changed.
He has some fantastic new ideas though. 
‘Its annual conference will be opened up to campaign groups and charities - who will be allowed to speak from the floor in debates although they will not get to vote on policies.’  Now where have I heard that idea before, oh yes of course we do it.
‘Local Labour parties will be allowed to organise petitions on issues which they feel ought to be debated at national level, and if they can demonstrate enough support, those issues will be placed on the agenda at future meetings of the policy forum.’  Now you’re talking, why haven’t we thought of that….oh sorry, we have only in our case there is no need for ‘petitions’ which ‘demonstrate enough support.’  It is far easier for our members to put forward ideas, and they then get debated not by a select ‘policy forum’ but by representatives from all local parties.
Good to see the unions present there though, after all it was the union vote that put Eddie where he is.

Thanks Mick – very helpful, do your colleagues in RCT know?

There has been a bit of hassle over area development control committees in RCT lately.  Labour Councillors have got their knickers in a bit of a twist after Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell voted against the establishment of a Cynon Valley area committee.  

Council leader Russell Roberts got all hot under the collar claiming ‘ the decision will stop local people from “having a voice” by not being allowed to get involved in the planning process.’ And accusing Cllr Powell of “reckless political opportunism”

Ponty’s AMs Mick Antoniw indulged in his own bit of political opportunism  and decided to  get involved by pestering poor Carl Sargeant with yet more questions . However, unless my reading of this is very wrong it does not seem to have got him the answer he was surely hoping for.  And it is a shame that the answer did not get to the RCT Legal Officer in time for him to prepare his report to Council for next week as he still seems to be getting in a quite unnecessary stir over the whole business.

Perhaps the Labour party should indulge in a little more joined up thinking.

Answers to the Written Assembly Questions for answer on 21 June 2011

Mick Antoniw (Pontypridd): Does the Minister have any plans to consider providing alternative means of establishing area planning committees, in order to avoid the current situation in Rhondda Cynon Taf, where a lone councillor has used S.17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to obstruct the Authority’s continuation of area planning committees. (WAQ57507)

Answer issued on 22 June 2011

The Minister for Local Government and Communities (Carl Sargeant): Section 17 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 provides that the need for a local authority to allocate seats on council committees in accord with the political balance of the authority can be disapplied if all members of the authority vote in favour of such a proposal. I assume you are referring to a situation whereby a single councillor has withdrawn their support.

However, the Local Government (Committees and Political Groups) Regulations 1990, which apply to local authorities in Wales, provide – at regulation 16A – that the duty to allocate seats in accord with political balance does not apply to area committees established to discharge functions of the authority.

Therefore, it should be possible for an area committee established to discharge planning functions to be unaffected by the provisions of section 17 of the 1989 Act.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Room for improvement Mick

Recently elected AM for Pontypridd Mick Antoniw has certainly got a bee in his bonnet about the Council Cabinet system as demonstrated in his question to the Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant on June 15th (below).
Sarge seemed a little peeved by the question. Perhaps Mick and / or his researcher should put a little more thought into future questions.

Mick Antoniw:What consideration has the Welsh Government given to the possibility of re-evaluating the systems of governance for local authorities in Wales. OAQ(4)0011(LGC)
Carl Sargeant: The political structure options available to local government in Wales were addressed in the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011. The elected mayor and council manager option and the alternative arrangements—or the fourth option, as it was known—were removed, leaving a choice between leader and cabinet and elected mayor and cabinet.
Mick Antoniw: One problem is that there is a limited choice of governance for local authorities—just the mayoral system or the cabinet system—and there seems to be a growing concern about the way in which the cabinet system operates. Is it not appropriate to review how the cabinet system is working? There may be opportunities to give local government, possibly through Welsh legislation, the option of a broader choice of governance systems in future.
Carl Sargeant: I am aware of the concern of the Member for Pontypridd and the papers on this issue. I refer him to the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, for which we undertook a consultation on the programme. We did not receive any representations about changing from having a cabinet system to the systems to which the Member referred. However, if he would like to write to me with the detail, I would be happy to look at that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who's making the curry?

Whilst as a Party we have not been without our own problems recently we are certainly not the only ones with problems. 
The Tories are in the midst of a leadership contest having lost their leader at the ballot box. 

Meanwhile some Plaid members obviously wish they were in that situation.  Ieuan has announced he is stepping down but has not given any indication of when that may be. Speculation over who could take over is on-going as you would expect.  Now that Helen Mary has gone who will take over making the curry for the kitchen plotting sessions that were apparently rife during their last attempted leadership coo?

Plaid have found themselves a new Chief Executive – she is Pontypridd resident Rhuanedd Richards who was described by the Western Mail as “one of the most influential people in the party while Ieuan Wyn Jones was Deputy First Minister in the Labour-Plaid coalition.”

She revealed her vision for the future of the party in a Western Mail article , announcing that ‘Plaid Cymru must put forward a vision for the economic renewal of Wales.’

Now what was the portfolio held by Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones during Plaid’s time in the coalition Welsh Government again?  Oh yes of course – he was the Minister for Economic Development. Pity they didn’t have that vision four years ago then perhaps he may actually have achieved something.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Welcome on board Gwenda

Deputy Minister for Social Services Gwenda Thomas has criticised what she referred to as the ‘supermarket approach’ to social care arguing that a one size fits all approach is wrong.
Does this mean she backs the Welsh Liberal Democrat manifesto commitments to encourage a greater take up of tailored care packages then?
We look forward to an announcement soon!

Well done that Minister.

Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant  today announced he was sacking the Commissioners of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales following a highly critical report into its running which concluded that the  Commission is  not fit for purpose’
I would imagine  that a large number of Councillors across the country are welcoming the news having seen some of the nonsensical recommendations the Commission came up with.
Back in November 2010 RCT Lib Dems criticised the Commission after some of its more its ludicrous proposals were repealed.  There had been no mincing of words in February of that year when the original proposals were announced
The story had been the same across Wales.  These people surely could never have left their cosy offices given the nonsense they came up with.  Now maybe we could start looking at some other Commissions who have been less than effective??

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New town centre madness for Talbot Green

PLANS for a £200m new town centre for Talbot Green have been unveiled in a project which its backers claim will create up to 1,900 jobsAccording to newspaper reports

The retail element of the scheme extends to 33,000 square metres.  A leisure and entertainment quarter, covering 5,000 sq mts, will contain a multi-screen cinema as well as cafes, restaurants, bars and an 80-bedroomed hotel. In addition, there will be office space for local businesses, a range of civic and community facilities, residential apartments and town houses.”

For those of you not familiar with the area Talbot Green is a relatively small village in the Pontypridd constituency.  In recent years it has been all but swallowed up by two out of town retail developments which provide a great spot for some retail therapy on my way home from work but have also added considerably to the traffic levels in the area.
A development if the size proposed will surely turn a bad situation into an absolute nightmare.  The infrastructure simply cannot cope with such a concentration of development in one area.
And what of the effect on what is supposedly the county town – Pontypridd.  That is already dying in its feet, and the £10million that us being spent on tarting up the pavements and some shop fronts is a mere drop in the ocean and will do nothing to revive the town.
Interestingly the developers are a company called Scarborough – the company which some ten years or so ago put forward proposal for the so called Angharad Walk development in Pontypridd.  That involved grand plans for the town including large department stores, river walks, office space, etc.  Needless to say they never came to fruition despite gaining planning permission and the backing of the Council.
So what of these plans? Will they come to anything?  And what will the knock on effects be at both ends of the constituency?

Lame ducks swimming in circles

Lot of changing of minds going on down in the Bay this week.
The badger cull which Labour were so keen on a few months ago is now on the back burner and the gimmicky free lap tops which they were fully signed up to has now been scrapped. Carwyn has turned his back on the TAN 8 policy that he himself introduced as the then Environment Minister and guess what – he thinks that there should be a review of Wales’ financial powers.  Strange he didn’t appear to be quite so keen when his lot were in power in Westminster.
The word hypocrisy keeps cropping up in relation to Labour but the level of their hypocrisy really is absolutely stunning and I cannot put into words on any public forum the level of revulsion I feel towards this party that once was considered the party of the working class.
The only thing that amazes me more in relation to them is why on earth apparently otherwise sane individuals keep on voting for them.
I think we sometimes delude ourselves as Liberal Democrats that our policies are so much common sense that surely any rational person as soon as they realise what they are must pounce upon them and vote for us in their droves  (ok that particular delusion is getting a bit harder to sustain these days).  But there are far too many people out there – intelligent, professional people on the face of it – who simply lap up what they read in the Labour rags and take it as gospel.
It’ll take a lot more than a correctly worded manifesto and a top class focus leaflet to get through to them

Is he taking the Mick? (letter to the press)

Pontypridd’s newly elected AM Mick Antoniw is obviously keen to keep his close association with the unions going and to be seen to be supportive of their grievances.  Hence his ‘Statement of Opinion’ tabled at the Assembly which reads as follows:

“This Assembly puts on record its recognition of the hard and dedicated work of our public sector workers and recognises the anger felt by many at the serious attack on their living standards arising from measures being taken by the UK Government which will result in reduced terms and conditions of employment and pension provision…”

He will no doubt then be coming out and stating his unequivocal disgust at the way in which RCT Council employees have been treated by his own Labour party colleagues?  Defending the rights of those lower paid employees who will see their living standards fall not because of any actions of the UK Government but because of the Labour administration here.

You can’t have it both ways Mick – can’t have the power and not take the responsibility.  How many times has it got to be said?  The Labour party were in Government at Westminster for 13 years, they have been in power in Cardiff Bay since 1999 alone or in coalition.  They are running RCT Council. Yet whose fault is everything?  Of course, it is the fault of the Westminster coalition.

Take a look around Mick, talk to some of your union friends, see just how much anger there is locally about changes in terms and conditions on your own territory. Then ask yourself who caused it.

Karen Roberts

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unions should operate in the real world

Here we go again, the unions jumping up and down in feigned righteous indignation over the proposals to change public sector pensions

That will of course be the same unions who put the Labour party into power and watched and even applauded whilst they messed up so completely.
Could somebody please tell me why public sector employees should be protected over and about anyone in the private sector?  Just what is so special about them? Shouldn't they take their fair share of the pain?  After all they have been more than willing to take advantage of the benefits over the years.
The NUT ballot showed, according to their General Secretary, just how much anger there is amongst teachers. Yet the figures  do not quite show that do they?
 “Results from the NUT's ballot show that 92% were in favour of strike action. Turnout was 40% among state school members of the union and 27% among private school members”
Some 83% of ATL members voted to strike, and overall turnout for the ballot was 35%”
Most of them it seems were not even bothered enough to vote. Could there be just a hint of politicising going on here?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is it fracking safe?

A US private equity backed firm  recently started    pumping highly pressurised water mixed with chemicals and sand nearly 3000m underground into a shale gas reservoir near Blackpool.
The process, known as fracking because it fractures rock to produce gas, has been criticised as having the potential to contaminate water supplies and agricultural land.

The process was halted following a small earthquake  which it was thought could have resulted from it.
Now there are plans afoot to start fracking in Llandow in the Vale of Glamorgan and that could be just the start as it is estimated there is a substantial amount of this gas throughout South Wales .  A test site is planned in Maesteg, which Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black  has already expressed concerns about.
There is the usual argument that this will bring economic rewards, but money is most certainly not everything.  This process has already been banned elsewhere, why should we be the guinea pigs for a process which we know so little about?

Now about that TAN 8

The BBC report today that
“Opponents of windfarms have welcomed the Welsh Government's announcement  to restrict developments in mid Wales.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said planning guidelines on the number of windfarms should in future be regarded as an upper limit
In a statement on Friday, Mr Jones said: "The Welsh Government believes this level of development is unacceptable in view of its wider impacts on the local area."
He said the Tan 8 "capacities should be regarded as upper limits".
Overall responsibility for large-scale energy generation rests with the UK Government.
Mr Jones said he hoped the UK Government would "respect" his announcement and "not allow proliferation when they take decisions on individual projects in Wales".”
Good news for many Mid Wales residents I am sure.  However, let’s not forget who was the Minister at the time TAN 8 was introduced.  Yes, of course, none other than the now First Minister himself.
So old dogs can be taught new tricks!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Religion and politics do not make good bedfellows.

It made me quite angry today to hear in the news the comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury attacking the coalition Government.
As anyone who knows me will be aware I am an atheist, and whilst as a Liberal Democrat I fully agree with the right of everyone to be able to practice their own religion I do not believe that religion should have any influence over the state.
Of course the Archbishop is as entitled as any other individual to his views, but surely in his position he should also be apolitical?  His job is to look after the morale and spiritual wellbeing of his flock surely?  And whilst their well-being is certainly enhanced  (or otherwise) by a whole variety of state provided services then it is in my humble opinion not his job to make political attacks on any Government that is elected by the people of this country.
I have to say I agree with the Prime Minister when he says that there is
‘nothing "good or moral" in passing national debts to the next generation, trapping people on welfare or in schools that were not offering a good education’
Religion and politics do not make good bedfellows.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I did that (with a little help)

Just back from the official switching on of our micro-hydro turbine with special guest Roy Noble.  Excellent turn out with a whole raft of people from organisations we have worked with along the way. It has been a long hard struggle through mounds of red tape and interminable grant application forms, but thanks largely to a nice £400,000 grant from the department of that nice Mr Huhne we got there in the end.
Gave me a chance to do something we rarely do enough of in the Valleys - brag about what we have done.  There is a tendency to under play our achievements.  This is something we see a lot in Wales in our schools as much as anywhere, where we have some hugely talented young people who hide on the shadows resulting often in a lack of self-confidence.
There is of course a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but we do need to be more assertive as a nation and as individuals (well some of us do!).
Communities first has come in for a battering, in many case rightly so, but I am proud to say that in Cwmclydach we have got it right.  It is an organisation which is benefitting the community.  We set up a Development Trust which is the ‘business arm’ and through that now own and run a Community Centre and a Day Nursery.  We employ around 20 staff and have been able to offer training opportunities to people via various projects such as the Future Jobs Fund.
Running alongside that there is the Cambrian Village Trust which offers free football coaching to local schools, drew down grants to build a multipurpose all-weather sports facility, and runs the lakeside cafĂ© bar.  Again this offers local employment and training opportunities.
The amount of money that has been pulled down into this tiny community in the Rhondda Valley is huge - it is almost frightening on the odd occasion when I sit down and actually go over what it is that myself and my fellow Directors are responsible for.
So it was good today to be able to celebrate that and to think that I have been involved in making a difference. 

Friday, June 03, 2011

As I was saying....

A New Welsh Medium Primary School is on the cards in RCT and not before time. 

However, as I was saying recently why on earth is RCT’s Labour administration wasting money on meetings they don't need.  The pretence of 'open' Cabinet session goes on even though they have already clearly made the decisions necessary.  As the press release on the RCT website says:

 “Exciting new plans to increase Welsh medium education provision by opening a new £3.3million school in the County Borough will be agreed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Members on Monday (June 6th 2011).

In a special Cabinet meeting, members will agree to open the first Welsh-medium primary school in the village of Llanharry, an area in the south of the County Borough where the demand from residents is greatest.”

So why bother with the meeting?  Apart from giving Cabinet Members the chance to pick up a few extra quid in expenses.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The future of YG Llanhari

The future of YG Llanhari

One good piece of news is the proposal going to RCT Cabinet (will it get passed?  oh the excitement!) to provide a new Welsh Medium Primary school at Llanhari.  There is a shortage of Welsh Medium places in RCT which is going to get worse if not addressed.
Whilst I am not wholly convinced by the idea of 3 to 19 schools, the extra provision is very welcome.  It will hopefully also increase the number of pupils going to YG Llanhari as that is currently operating at levels which are unsustainable.  It lost a huge number of pupils when the Welsh medium Secondary school in Bridgend was opened a few years ago.  It has also suffered because the replacement school for YG Rhydfelen was built in the wrong place and has attracted pupils who may otherwise have gone to YG Llanhari.
It is time that the problem of Welsh Medium provision was taken seriously in RCT and there are some very welcome proposals in this report.

Pointless posturing

Massive investment announced by leadership 

So states the press release on the front page   of the RCT Council website.   It goes on to say that  on the 6th June, Cabinet is to make proposals for a total of £74M of investment in our schools, libraries and highways infrastructure.”
Now this is all well and good, but what is the point of this press release, or more importantly what is the point of wasting money getting the Cabinet together.  We all know that in RCT nothing is ever open or accountable. Cabinet meetings are only there to rubber stamp decisions already made.  But why be quite so blatant about it?
“Council Leader Russell Roberts described the proposals as a clear demonstration of the administration’s commitment to delivering on its promises.”   So is there really any chance whatsoever of his colleagues not doing what they are told and nodding sagely as these magnificent proposals are put to them?  Next they'll expect us to believe that the consultation will actually matter.
Give me strength!