The Times yesterday carried the following report :
ONCE, things were simple. Some members of Leicester City Council were Conservatives, some were Liberal Democrats, and when they got together they formed a ruling coalition.
However, it appears likely that this dual-partisanship approach is more about pragmatism than party politics. The Lib Dem group has split, leaving the coalition at risk of losing its majority on some committees — including the one that’s due to decide the chief executive’s bonus. Or, as the Labour leader put it: “It is an attempt to rig the employment committee to ensure (that the opposition) does not have majority and cannot vote down the chief executive’s bonus.” And the Lib Dem leader’s response: “It is nothing of the sort.”
For those not in the know Roman Scuplak - in my days in that city at least - was an authoritarian, socially conservative, Thatcherite. If he's a liberal, let alone a Liberal, then my name is Brian Clough ! Basically, the group of SEVEN that split from the Lib Dem group and now called the Focus Team should be entitled to a number of committee places, including one on that which decides the Chief Exec's pay. The remaining Lib Dem group, in a coalition with the Tories, want to push through a big increase for the council's principal employee. The Focus Team would combine with Labour to frustrate this move. Even before this fall out it appears from talking to sources in that city that the juniour party in the coalition - the Tories - were the tail wagging the coalition dog.
It begs the question why the Lib Dems got politically into bed with the Tories. A previous attempt at coalition following the 2003 elections crashed and burned in pretty spectacular and prompt fashion. The Tory personnel has not changed to any great degree so why sup with the devil twice ? And, to join a party for purely political manoeuvring brings the Lib Dems, Tories and Cllr Scuplak into disrepute. Both parties should act to kick him out of their respective parties.
No wonder people don't trust politicians and shun the political process when confronted by shameless dishonesty such as this.
I'm sure I'll be criticised by Lib Dems for publicly raising this issue but are blogs just meant to be 'good news' pieces ? The Lib Dems in Leicester are out of order end of story in my view. Anyone care to say different ?