As soon as Cllr Banwait stood up in the chamber last night to propose the motion on the change to the electoral cycle he made it clear that he knew he was going to lose. He was crestfallen. He tried in vain to convince everyone of the virtues of his proposal – but what he failed to recognise was, that this was not a vote about the electoral cycle – it was a vote of no-confidence in his administration.
Voting every 4 years is not an alien concept, many Councils do it. The idea of voting on an “all-out” basis is consistent with how we vote on a national level. Some would argue that it improves voter engagement, and that it provides a sustainable position for a sensible period of time- all of which are perfectly valid, and reasonable arguments. I suspect that two-thirds of the chamber would agree with that..so why did they vote against it?
Cllr Banwait cited ( and these were published in the papers on the website) 11 different local businesses who wrote letters in favour of moving to a 4 yearly cycle. It was clear to a casual observer that these businesses would have had no interest in making a negative statement against the proposal. The idea that Rolls-Royce would have a particularly strong view on this subject is quite ridiculous, and the impact on their business would be extremely marginal of either option. The fundamental principle that Banwait seemed to have forgotten is that the businesses don’t have a vote – the Council is there for the residents of the City. Perhaps he should have spoken more to the people that he represents than to organisations who need to ingratiate themselves to him to secure a trouble free planning application.
The people of Derby are sick and tired of this administration, and they want a change. It will not be any easier for a different political group but at least the City will not be subjected to the constant arrogance, and appalling behaviour from this Leader, and his team. A new Council would, hopefully, judge the mood of the City and adjust their engagement in a more positive and inclusive way.
Although Cllr Banwait continued his regular ridiculing of Cllr Holmes ( Conservative Leader) in the Chamber, he perhaps should have listened carefully to his speech, and then he would have appreciated why the opposition parties voted against the motion.
“Four yearly elections may well deliver more certainty in regard to political control, but it will not delivery stability within Derby City Council which has a long and difficult path ahead to re-establish itself as a viable local authority that has adequate governance.”
“The Conservatives have absolutely no faith in the opposition not to use four yearly elections to impose policy and schemes without a mandate and against the will of the majority of local people and businesses. And those decisions could be made in the knowledge that the public would not have the ability to have their say or force a change of direction that could be devastating to this City.”
“We respect the views of those who feel a move to four yearly elections is the right thing to do, but hope that, in return, they accept our considered reasons to seek the retention of the current model for the foreseeable future”
It was my opinion that, had any of the opposition parties voted in favour of the proposal, they would have been pilloried by the people of Derby. This was because, it was not about the very principle of 4 yearly voting, it was about Trust – Trust has been lost – people do not Trust that this administration will do the right thing for the people of Derby…..and that is an untenable position for any Council to be in. A vote ‘against’ was a demonstration of a lack of confidence in the Leadership
Cllr Banwait was desperate to win the vote. He admitted to phoning Cllr Graves (UKIP Leader) earlier that day, the man he previously referred to as a “disgusting and despicable individual”, to secure his vote – albeit that Graves was unable to attend . Banwait then proceeded to accuse Graves of questionable motives by failing to attend the meeting – albeit that his vote wouldn’t have made any difference.
Regardless of which way the vote had gone, the next election will be in May 2018, of just 17 Councillors – 1 of which is Cllr Banwait. The City has another 18 months of this administration.
Mysteriously, in the last few days, the motion to employ Political Assistants at a cost of £90k was dropped from the agenda.- rumour has it that this was following a “rebellion” by Labour Councillors. Perhaps, finally, enough Labour Councillors realise that if they continue with this “bizarre” and unpopular behaviour that no seat is safe at the next elections.
When Cameron lost his “Brexit” vote, he resigned….
Categories: Derby City Council