Thursday, February 19, 2015

Democracy the Labour way – Council chaos shows cracks.

It has not been a good week for Labour in South Wales.  Quite apart from the usual health stories which indicate yet again that the Welsh Labour Government cannot run a bath let alone a country there have been some very interesting spats in a couple of Labour controlled Councils.

First to surface was news of six Councillors being suspended from the ruling group on Bridgend Council.  Their crime?  They did not vote with the rest of the group in favour of a merger with the Vale of Glamorgan.  The real irony of course is that the Labour Minister for Public Services turned down the proposal anyway. 
Then hot on the heels of that came news from Cardiff where there are some difficult budget negotiations ongoing.   There rebel Labour Councillors have been working with opposition members to come up with alternative budget proposals.  Wales Online reports:

Labour group whip Garry Hunt has warned potential rebels of disciplinary action in an email which says:

“Non-adherence to the whip in a budget vote which threaten the passing of a budget is likely to lead to significant suspension from the group.”

Coun Hunt adds: “Peter Wong, chair of the local campaigning forum, has been in touch….(he) has asked {Welsh Labour General Secretary} Dave Hagendyck to co-author a letter to all current Labour councillors reminding them that any unwise actions on their part could lead to problems with them being re-selected for the 2017 elections.”

This is of course the way of Labour Councils everywhere – put your hand up in the air when you are told or else.  Independent thought is not allowed, acting in what you consider to be the best interests of the people you are elected to represent is definitely frowned upon.  Labour Councillors are expected to toe the line.  The open threat is there otherwise – not a chance of getting reselected.

All credit to the Councillors concerned for having the guts to rebel, but what I fail to understand is why they continue to remain with a party that obviously has so little regard for democracy.


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