Thursday, 26 February 2009

The role of an opposition party

Opposition parties have an important function in any democracy - to act as responsible guardians of good practice and fair play.

Tonight Wrexham Council saw the ruling coalition (which includes Plaid) put forward a budget negotiated over several months in difficult circumstances. It meant no cuts in education budgets and no redundancies.

The Labour opposition proposed two amendments - both contradicting themselves. One would have seen the budgets for key social services and other services cut to protect teachers. Worse, the budget amendment was uncosted and had been left to the last minute instead of being discussed with the relevant officer - point scoring and political game playing of the worst order.

After an hour's debate Labour realised its amendments were untenable and withdrew them.

To make matters worse, the vote on the budget saw the Labour group split. Labour wasted valuable time debating uncosted and unaccountable budgets. You have to wonder what is the point of an opposition party that is so clueless and uncoordinated.

PS Labour's other contribution to the evening was to suggest that Special Responsibility Allowances were cut by 50%. The resolution might have stood more chance of passing if it wasn't seen as Labour spite for seeing their own personal allowances cut last year because they wouldn't take on those special responsibilities. Labour were advocating a cut in other people's pay while maintaining their own allowances. As it was, councillors voted for a freeze on personal allowance and voted down Labour's gimmick.

3 comments:

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

The two Labour members on Wrecsam Council voted against the council house rent increase of 7.31% last Tuesday...despite the fact that most of the rent increase is down to WAG's Rent Guidelines which are binding on Local Authorities which if they don't support it they will lose a 1 million pounds. So basically Labour in Wrecsam voted against their own party in Cardiff but conveniently blamed the Plaid Deputy Housing Minister...they have to take the hit same as we in Plaid do. Labour's behaviour is nothing less than 'cowardly' but I suppose we should be expecting that by now.

Anonymous said...

WAG set rent guidlines,they dont set the rents,
take clwyd alyn there rent 14 months a go was £12 plus service charge of £4 aweek above what wag set, its not down to wag, its down to each indivitual council,
housing assocations charge more and can get away with it,
wag guidlines are what it states

Plaid Whitegate said...

Because the council refused to raise council rents by the WAG guidelines last year, the council forfeited £1.5m to WAG for housing repairs.
So there is a penalty clause for not sticking to the guidelines.
It's interesting that Clwyd Alyn are ignoring WAG guidelines - perhaps they too are being punished.