11:12am Friday 18th December 2009
By Jack Cohen
The full Council meeting on Monday descended in to farce. I can not recall any Council Meeting under any Political Control that ever ended up in such a shambles. There were so many vignettes that I would be blogging well into the New Year with these delights.
But first I have to admit there were some decent debates. My colleagues in the Lib Dem group excelled themselves. Cllr Monroe Palmer gave a tour de force highlighting the Housing Waiting list Crisis in Barnet. Cllr Duncan Macdonald spoke passionately in defence of the A. and E. Department at Barnet General (rumoured to be under threat) and Cllr Susette Palmer warned the Labour Government not to take away the Freedom Pass.
The rest was pure pantomime. The meeting started off with the usual apologies for the absence of members. A senior officer intoned the list, (no mention of our Antipodean Member). Conservative councillors then shouted out with mirth an apology on behalf of their colleague who had married at the weekend who was on her honeymoon. Obviously, they added she had more important matters to attend to. The Mayor was not impressed he glared at his colleagues, he could not think of any thing more important than the Council Meeting.
Well it seems the Bride herself concurred with The Worshipful the Mayor for lo and behold in she walked five minutes later! More important things there are indeed.
One of the lesser known Committees of the Council is the fostering and adoption panel. The Panel meets during the daytime. There has been a vacancy for some time. This arose because of the resignation of a Conservative Councillor from the Panel. A Labour Member rose to complain about the delay in appointing a Conservative replacement. The answer came back that because Conservative Councillors had proper jobs during the day it was difficult to find a replacement. We were told to look on our Order Paper. We would now see that the Conservatives were putting forward a nomination. So who is this paragon that now has time on their hands during the day? Step forward the former Leader of the Council!
We then moved into the fifteen minute break after which we were due to debate the Conservative Administration Policy Item. The bell summoning us back at nine o'clock was rung .Back in the Council Chamber the Mayor marched into a two thirds empty chamber. All but two or so Conservatives had not bothered to turn up. But, there were enough opposition Councillors to make the meeting quorate. The Mayor invited someone to propose the Motion; there were no takers so the Conservative Administration item fell.
What a start to the New Leaders reign of office! The former, former Leader (one of the few Conservatives who turned up in time) was heard berating his colleagues for their unprofessional conduct. When they finally lay off scoffing their half time cakes and sandwiches they trooped back in to a chorus of derision.
The (new) Leader or some one else was heard to complain that bell had only been rung once. “Send not to seek to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee!” Immediately sprang to mind.
There were other moments to savour but perhaps the best of all came towards the end. The Mayor had reason to address the former leader. He called him “The Dowager Leader” I got the feeling that the Mayor enjoyed that.
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