This old saying from Malawi reminds us that we never know what the future holds. The disastrous election results of 2015 were totally unexpected. Last year we had 18 Labour councillors and this year we have twelve. The Tories lead with 26 councillors and have a clear majority. Currently ther are two vacancies on the Council and we expect local elections either at the end of February or beginning of March. Both the vacant seats were held by Tories: Stuart Rowland died leaving a vacancy in Greasley, and Natalie Harvey, a newly elected councillor for Toton, has resigned. By-election campaigning will require hard work but it is a opportunity to reach the electorate and win Labour votes.
This will be a hard year for Broxtowe Borough as the council’s budget support from the government has been cut by 28%. Cash offices are closing and redundancies are likely. The system of governance is changing from ‘scrutiny’ to ‘committees’. This will lead to less transparency as committees will scrutinise their own work and electors will no longer be able to raise issues to be taken up by the Scrutiny groups.
Recently Graham Heal as a member of the public asked the Scrutiny Committee to publish data on members’ allowances and their attendance at committees and council meetings. Publication of this useful tool was rejected by the Tories and supported only by Richard Robinson and me. All this information is already in the public domain but very difficult to find.
This comes to wish you all a Happy New Year. Mine began with getting a parking ticket as I visited a friend’s house in Ireton Street. I could have parked in their drive or used my own visitors permit which I had in the car!
There is plenty of work for us to do: commitment and enthusiasm are essential. Life can only get better! Watch this space.