Having looked at the press today, it’s quite bizarre. It would seem that the Liberal Democrats went to a different Full Council meeting than I did.
Firstly, they delivered a press release that stated they had ensured that GFRS would stay in County. That is a complete misrepresentation. Their motion tried to deliver that, but I had stepped in before the meeting and recommended an amendment that took the ring-fencing away and changed the purpose. As I said in the Chamber, While I really want and believe that the best organisation for Gloucestershire is to keep it in-house, this is just a gut feeling and I don’t have any evidence to support it. We cannot just disregard options to merge on a whim, we need the evidence to prove it. As unpalatable as it may seem, a merger may provide a more effective service to our residents and we would be failing our duty as the Statutory Fire Authority if we turned a blind eye to the option. It is the effectiveness of the service to the residents that should be uppermost in our mind. Their version of the motion is somewhat different as to what was actually passed.
Then I see that they are up in arms about their Badger Amendment failing. There were two badger motions, our Labour one asking for a task group to be set up to evaluate all evidence from all parties about what happened and then write to the secretary of state, and a Liberal one to just write to the secretary of state. In a pre meeting, we agreed to allow an amendment to our motion that would allow for both the working group and the letter. However when they tabled their amendment, they tried to be sneaky and do away with the evidence gathering and just have their letter, with no evidence, to the government. Then they got upset when it was voted down. Subsequently we see stories in the Citizen saying that their “bid to ban badger culls” had been over turned. Quite frankly, they have only themselves to blame, if they had stuck to the agreed amendment, they would have had their success.
That’s not to mention their comments on the Javelin Park motion and them feeling rather sore that their amendment wasn’t accepted, because it didn’t really make sense against the facts. I’m guessing that they didn’t feel that they had a good day in the office, hence why Jeremy Hilton decided to stoop even lower and take a side-swipe at Mark Hawthornes MBE.
Considering they are the second largest party in the chamber, its disappointing to see them working in such a shallow way. They keep pointing out that the council came out as “no overall control” and that we have to work together more, but when it comes to practicing what they preach, they don’t seem to be very good at it. Someone highlighted yesterday that rather than a Party, the Lib Dems are more of a Franchise, they take the logos and slogans, but deny they are in government whenever it suits them. When it comes to team working and authority, it seems that the Lib Dems are hard to rely on, given the lack of leadership and control, from the national leader right down the spectrum.
Maybe this is the Hydra Effect of having too many Chiefs, and one head not telling the other head what is going on.