Friday, May 09, 2008

Something Achieved

By 8.30 this morning I was at the Norwich City Council Group Leader's Meeting - I wish I could say more, but the issues involved are largely confidential - but it is a method by which all the players on a hung council can work together constructively and honestly; it usually works. This morning was a long one and we seemed to go round and round a bit followed by deciding on a volley of reports.

By this afternoon I was at a Norfolk Conservatives Meeting; a forum by which senior representatives of the party can get together and work together constructively and honestly; it usually works. This meeting was, too, a long one.

If you spend a long time in politics, sometimes you leave meetings and wonder what you did when you were then and what was actually achieved. No, come on, we've all been in them.

In between these two meetings I did achieve something; a very tricky housing problem that took a great deal of time and a visit to the Customer Service Centre at City Hall. It took a while, but we got a result - a decision that will make a great difference to the life of one family. I thought little of it at the time but as I sit back blogging tonight, and wonder what I did today it was this act that stood out.

I got back home to spend a few hours in the sunshine with the girls ...


Paul said...

How on earth do you manage to be a group leader & activist.

Be a teacher and have a young family!

Where do you find the time Antony? :)

Oh... and spend your late evenings blogging!

Anonymous said...

Personally and practically a jointexecutive will not work with party agendas going on. Power sharing sounds lovely and utopian, but council needs a clear policy agenda, leadership and accountability for council decisions. Otherwise their will be political ambiguity, limbo and chaos for the next 12 months. IMO

Anonymous said...

Surprised to hear that you actually understand housing issues all councillors get stuff like that sorted so stop making yourself out to be more great than you are

Antony said...

Anon - I understand housing very well thank you. And if you ask councillors they would sya housing is one of the hardest constituency casework issues to resolve.

Don't you get bored of being so negative, and usually so wrong?

Anonymous said...

Councillors are pretty much controlled by central government and local bureaucracy. To achieve anything is worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Whats wrong Anthony worried aboutbeing seen for the political animal you are

Anonymous said...

I understand housing issues very very well

Antony said...

I am a highly political animal; I've never denied it - I'm standing to be an MP, how could I be any more political than that?

If you want a serious answer (which I don't think you do) then many people who are "non-political" end up in public service to do good and are Independents. Sometimes people that really are Tories stand as Inds (hence the tag Condependent) and othertimes they join the LibDems fully; we've had a few of them in the past - excellent cllrs but not political. I am not saying if this is good or bad but that it is a fact. On the other hand I am a very political cllr, my ward knowm that, the press know it and so do the council. After all, I Lead the Cons Group. Now ... if you are suggesting that I help people for votes, well that is another matter altogether.

If I wanted to spend 2 hours campaigning and win votes, I'd go canvassing or leafleting. Helping individual constituents isn't a very effective way of earning votes. Why do it then? Because I'm interested in helping people not winning votes. The people of Bowthorpe, West Earlham and Larkman voted for me to represent them and that is what I am doing. They deserve nothing less; because they were getting less with Labour.

I have no idea what the political affiliation of my constituent was before ot after my action. It never occured to me. But it did to you - so I think that says more about you than it does about me.

Anonymous said...

I was happily going along with what you were saying Anthony, housing is bread and butter stuff for a councillor (anyone who thinks otherwise should take a cllr's phone calls over the course of a day or two). But I really do think its a shame that you then had to take a political potshot at your Labour predecessors in the ward.

Maybe where Millie, Anon etc are coming from is - while you may well be working hard on the problems of individual constituents - perhaps some of the wider policies you pursue actually lead (or would lead) to more of those types of problems in the first place...

Antony said...

We will have to agree to disagree. And for your information, large amounts of my casework comes (or came) from people who hadn't heard back from the Labour Cllrs in the ward. When you work in a split ward you get a bit of that, but I am surprised how many people felt that Borrett, Rumsby and then Ferris "just didn't bother". I am allowed a political pot shot if its true!

Paul said...

When I was a cllr housing didn't feature very much at all in my ward: Nelson - maybe I can count the number of housing casework items on 1 hand!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Paul that was because you were an ineffectual lib dem and nobody wanted to come to you
i never had that problem

Paul said...

Not at all anon - unless you have more than just the one odd case where perhaps I am unaware that I might have failed a constituent.

I was and still am quite happy to take political flak but what really pisses me off is where people just don't do their homework and spout statements based on poor, little or no information!

If you cared to consider the amount of social housing stock in the Nelson of my time (i.e. pre boundary change) you would have found out that other wards had significantly more. Hence (I would say) the reason why I didn't get much in the way of housing casework.

It's interesting because I actually wanted to qualify my last comment with what I just said in the paragraph above but decided that it would be fun to see what response I got! So anon you utterly predictable.

Also as I think the author of this blog has stated eleswhere to make the kind of comment that you have made anon anonymously is just cowardly & cheap :-D

Anonymous said...

anon - I think you are rather unfair with Paul. For me the Lib Dems have been in meltdown mainly as a result of the legacy of the £2m budget shortfall on their watch [1 star council legacy], and the priotity of recycling investment [£2 sunk in a multistorey car park instead] that saw Norwich in the bottom of the recycling league in their 4 years, Citycare contract. Bucking the trend are the few left who are willing to really fight for their seats as quality councillors.

On the other hand one has to really appreciate the public service and contribution councillors put in; notably Hereward Cooke. Whatever party, councillors put in a huge amount of vital and mainly un appreciated work, on top of their other activities whether work, families or other public roles.

Whilst Antony crows [and should]of Bowthorpe successes, passions, canvassing; I have to agree his Bowthorpe comments and assessments are largely accurate and his group deserve their successes. Democracy is alive and kicking in Bowthorpe. Antony hit the pavement listening to people and vocalising these concerns 3 years ago. Labour have been lazy in Bowthorpe and Greens putting up largely paper candidates without the pavement effort.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments entirely and whilst not a lib Dem myself do not understand the comments made by anon.
Housing is an area that compiles much councilor casework and for a variety of reasons. However what I would say is that in my experience Housing issues are not just related to social housing stock. I agree that it is too simplistic to see wards as all the same even within one ward a constituent can go to a number of different councillors and Anthony is right, scarey as it is, that you do not always know the political affliation of your constituent and nor should you. I agree with comrade regarding the comments about taking political pot shots about labour councillors in your ward. They served the council well during their time in ofice. I also agree that there is a much wider debate to be had about how social policy can cause the very problems it seeks to solve.

Paul said...

Ah schucks! Thanks for the support guys! :)

It's interesting to contemplate the anonymous comments and wonder why they have made them anonymously. For example anon who referred to the Lib Dem legacy got me wondering who he/she was!

BTW I'm no longer a member of any party. I may have come out publicly in support of Adrian Ramsey but that does not mean that I support the Green Party. In my time there were people in Labour & the Lib Dems who I had zero time for; there were people in the Labour Party for whom I had more respect for than some in the Lib Dems. Similarly I know that there will be the same such people in the Green Party.

I'm just enjoying myself reading (at the moment) 3 local political blogs (Tory, LD & Green - haven't found an interesting Lab one yet) and posting the odd comment here and there.

Antony, sorry, despite having been self-employed and a business owner for most of my working life I just couldn't contemplate being a Tory!