Friday, October 10, 2008

A blog post too far?

The only Labour Councillor to blog in Norwich is Sue Sands, who is also an Executive Member. Sometimes because of that her blog is rather tame - but not so today. She has a very bold post about the Icelandic Banking collapse which is worth sharing. I've added my comment too.

In truth, the news that Norfolk County Council has lost so much money in the Icelandic Bank crash, couldn't have come at a worst time.

Well, true, but losing money for any authority is pretty bad whenever it happens.

With the whole Unitary question still hanging in the air and NCC using financial stability as one of their cornerstones, it could sound the death nell for them.

Nonsense. In the same way that Gordon Brown blames the world economy for the current crisis there is no way Norfolk County Council can be blamed for this; after all, these accounts were meant to be triple A rated for stability.

Where does that leaves us at City Hall then? Well I suppose it could strengthen our case , but either way we will all pay.

It won't. Norfolk County Council have hit a problem not of their own making and shared with other authorities. Norwich City Council - albeit under the LibDems - made its own problems.

The councils affected are saying that they followed government guidelines, so it's easy to see where the backlash will come- last thing Gordon needs right now.

And that is why the government are desperate to help the councils get their money back.

I suppose the question that many council taxpayers will want to ask is: How come they were allowed to treat our money so flippantly?

In what way have Norfolk County Council acted flippantly? How come a Labour govenrment which abolished boom-and-bust has got us into this situation. Trying to suggest that Norfolk County Council made any errors here is purile. Now, losing £2m is flippant...

If I lose all my money through poor financial decisions, then no-one will bail me out.

Are you, as a senior Labour Councillor, suggesting that the bank bailout is wrong?

The council will have one hell of a time convincing residents that a hike in council tax is necessary and who could blame them for refusing to pay?

I am deeply worried by this comment; do you think that a mistake like this is reason to withdraw payment of council tax? Do you think I shouldn't have paid my council tax when City Hall was plunged into the red? Again: Norfolk County Council didn't cause this and were not playing footloose with the money. However, clearly the Labour position is that when you suspect poor financial management at your council you should refuse to pay tax. An interesting stance.

Not a time for City Hall to feel smug either - gaining unitary with a lot less money won't be easy. Perhaps those people wanting the status quo will get it after all. John Fuller is the only one sleeping tonight.

I understand that some LibDems are now calling for local government reorganisation to be shelved because of the crisis; I also hope that nobody is smug - because using the collapse of the stock market and the loss of millions of pounds of taxpayers money for political gain is very cheap.

Overall, a great blog post - it got me thinking, it got my angry and it got me to reply. Exactly what a blog post should do. Sue should be congratulated for having the guts to write it but I fear it could yet backfire on her career.


Anonymous said...

Sue Sands appears to have gone mad; have you seen her "response" on her blog? I saw her response first and then saw your original post afterwards. Given her blog I thought you have given her some kind of utter monstering. I was so disappointed; this post is just political debate and you have been decent and polite the whole way through it.

I wonder if Sue is being wound up by other Labour councillors somewhat?

Anonymous said...

You've missed the stupidest thing on the response; the fact that she lives in Bowthorpe means you shouldn't attack her! She's not a resident, she's a Labour member!

Has anyone pointed out that she is political and people will disagree with her? Unbelievable. What will happen to Sands when the debate really gets going? Morphew might be regretting that choice.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Icelandic accounts of Norfolk CC. Government advise on the security/safety of such accounts. Whatever unitary outcome, the tax payer (government depending, tax payer) will have to pick up the bill, if LAs money can't be recovered. UK govt can't buy into (invest) Icelandic banks like HBOS/Brad&Bingers.

John Fuller will be, and deserves to sleep well this week. His officers must have visited an astologer or claire voyant last week to withdraw £2m from Iceland last week. Norfolk CC finance dept. were obviously on holiday again or asleep. Obviously a shade of officer professional embarassment.

I hope Norwich CC has safe(r) accounts (Northern Rock, Channel Is, IoM, Caymans?). Either way I don't think this alters the unitary balance of debate significantly, pro or con