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> A question for Julian Swift-Hook
blackdog
post Apr 4 2013, 11:29 AM
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Dear Julian,

In your latest Greenham Newsletter you explain the current decision making system at WBC and then add the following paragraph:

Democratic? Not very – but it is the system we currently have to work under at WBC, and despite our best efforts as an Opposition to get back to the old “Committee” system (where every Committee was made up of members from both political sides in proportion to the overall split, each of whom had the right to both speak and vote), the Conservative administration rather like the absolute power that the Executive system confers on the 10 Executive Tory councillors, and they will not entertain any discussion about changing it.

In the light of this I was wondering if you could explain why, when the Lib Dems were the majority party at WBC, they replaced the Committee system with the Executive system if they are so against it?

I trust that a commitment to revert to the Committee system will be part of your manifesto in 2015?

Yours sincerely

Blackdog
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Andy Capp
post Apr 4 2013, 12:16 PM
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I also wonder if his leaving the meeting in the way that he (they) did, means the tax payer have wasted their money on sponsoring his attending a conflict resolution course!

I do have to agree with him on one point though, just because someone has the right to do something, doesn't mean it is right to do something.


I think our present authoritative set-up is impeachable.
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On the edge
post Apr 4 2013, 04:39 PM
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Any reply would be interesting!


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Simon Kirby
post Apr 4 2013, 06:07 PM
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Good ask blackdog.

I agree with AC, Gordon Lundie may well have had the right to shut the lib dems up, but maybe he might have served us better by allowing a free airing of the alternative views on Sandleford. I say maybe, because I wasn't there and so I don't know how much discussion had already passed before Gordon Lundie pulled the plug on them.

I have to say though, it's a bit rich for Swift-Half to whine on about not being on a committee when his attendance rate has been so poor - could he be trusted even to turn up if the Tories gave him a seat on the Executive?

And forgive me for bringing this up again, but I can't help by choke on Swift-Half's hypocrisy in bleating about his own shutting-up while leading the Town Council who would only let me keep my allotment if I signed a secret agreement not to criticise them - and then refusing the Thames Valley Police offer to mediate between us.

So please, Swift-Half, your contribution is always welcome here.



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Andy Capp
post Apr 4 2013, 07:05 PM
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In some spiel I read from him recently, he complained how the Tories "will not entertain any discussion about changing" from the councils executive model, to the committee model.

There's a lot of this refusing to discuss about, isn't there.
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 4 2013, 07:29 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Apr 4 2013, 08:05 PM) *
In some spiel I read from him recently, he complained how the Tories "will not entertain any discussion about changing" from the councils executive model, to the committee model.

There's a lot of this refusing to discuss about, isn't there.

I notice that RUP hasn't been around lately. I wonder if he's been told to shut up, or whether he's just finding it a bit difficult justifying his party's actions. It's one thing for councillors to spout in the council chamber or issue press releases to the NWN, but they don't like it when they can't control the agenda or discussion.



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Richard Garvie
post Apr 4 2013, 08:12 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Apr 4 2013, 12:29 PM) *
Dear Julian,

In your latest Greenham Newsletter you explain the current decision making system at WBC and then add the following paragraph:

Democratic? Not very – but it is the system we currently have to work under at WBC, and despite our best efforts as an Opposition to get back to the old “Committee” system (where every Committee was made up of members from both political sides in proportion to the overall split, each of whom had the right to both speak and vote), the Conservative administration rather like the absolute power that the Executive system confers on the 10 Executive Tory councillors, and they will not entertain any discussion about changing it.

In the light of this I was wondering if you could explain why, when the Lib Dems were the majority party at WBC, they replaced the Committee system with the Executive system if they are so against it?

I trust that a commitment to revert to the Committee system will be part of your manifesto in 2015?

Yours sincerely

Blackdog


And the most elaborate post of the year goes to...
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blackdog
post Apr 5 2013, 08:42 AM
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I don't know if my open letter on this forum is the reason - but Julian Swift Hook has replied in a special edition of his Greenham Newsletter:

Executive vs Committee

Following my comments in yesterday’s E-News about the Executive system of governance, I have been asked why the Liberal Democrat Administration presided over the change to the Executive system at WBC in 2002 if the Liberal Democrats were/are opposed to it.

In 2002, the change from traditional Committee governance to the Executive system of governance was imposed on all principal authorities covering a population of more than 85,000 by the then Labour Government. West Berkshire Council covers 150,000 people, so the then Lib Dem Administration at WBC had no choice in the matter.

(Parish/Town Councils were not affected and continue to use the Committee system.)

At the time, both Lib Dem and Conservative members at WBC condemned the Executive system as being undemocratic – the system effectively excludes the vast majority of councillors from the decision-making process, regardless of political persuasion, and power is almost exclusively in the hands of the 8-10 members of the ruling political group who make up the Executive.

The new Localism Act 2011 allows Councils to go back to the Committee system if they want to. The Liberal Democrats on West Berkshire Council have been pressing the Conservative administration to consider a return to Committee governance, but (contrary to the Conservative position 10 years ago) the Conservatives have been strongly resisting even considering it.

I hope this is helpful to those who are interested in the technicalities of how WBC is governed and makes its decisions - and my apologies to those who are not! I’m happy to answer further questions if I can.


Fair enough - I look forward to reading the Lib Dem manifesto in 2015.

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blackdog
post Apr 5 2013, 08:48 AM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Apr 4 2013, 09:12 PM) *
And the most elaborate post of the year goes to...

Elaborate perhaps, but it seems to have got a quick response.

And now we know it was Labour's fault...
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CharlieF
post Apr 5 2013, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Apr 5 2013, 09:42 AM) *
I don't know if my open letter on this forum is the reason - but Julian Swift Hook has replied in a special edition of his Greenham Newsletter:

Executive vs Committee

Following my comments in yesterday’s E-News about the Executive system of governance, I have been asked why the Liberal Democrat Administration presided over the change to the Executive system at WBC in 2002 if the Liberal Democrats were/are opposed to it.

In 2002, the change from traditional Committee governance to the Executive system of governance was imposed on all principal authorities covering a population of more than 85,000 by the then Labour Government. West Berkshire Council covers 150,000 people, so the then Lib Dem Administration at WBC had no choice in the matter.

(Parish/Town Councils were not affected and continue to use the Committee system.)

At the time, both Lib Dem and Conservative members at WBC condemned the Executive system as being undemocratic – the system effectively excludes the vast majority of councillors from the decision-making process, regardless of political persuasion, and power is almost exclusively in the hands of the 8-10 members of the ruling political group who make up the Executive.

The new Localism Act 2011 allows Councils to go back to the Committee system if they want to. The Liberal Democrats on West Berkshire Council have been pressing the Conservative administration to consider a return to Committee governance, but (contrary to the Conservative position 10 years ago) the Conservatives have been strongly resisting even considering it.

I hope this is helpful to those who are interested in the technicalities of how WBC is governed and makes its decisions - and my apologies to those who are not! I’m happy to answer further questions if I can.


Fair enough - I look forward to reading the Lib Dem manifesto in 2015.


Well done you for getting a response. It seems that someone does read this forum. There was even mention of the forum in the paper this week regarding opposition to the land give away. Who'd have thunk it?
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Cognosco
post Apr 5 2013, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE (CharlieF @ Apr 5 2013, 10:05 AM) *
Well done you for getting a response. It seems that someone does read this forum. There was even mention of the forum in the paper this week regarding opposition to the land give away. Who'd have thunk it?


Yes strange when we have previously been informed that councillors don't read the forum! rolleyes.gif

Also strange that we get a response when the blame can be passed on but a wall of silence when it can't? rolleyes.gif

All councillors should respond to any questions or queries whatever the medium used to produce them. angry.gif


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Simon Kirby
post Apr 5 2013, 05:44 PM
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QUOTE (Cognosco @ Apr 5 2013, 04:46 PM) *
Also strange that we get a response when the blame can be passed on but a wall of silence when it can't? rolleyes.gif

Indeed.


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On the edge
post Apr 5 2013, 07:55 PM
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Umm. Great that a response was made. Only damper for me is that isn't quite how I remember the options or the debate. Will try and find time to look up the old copies of NWN in library if I get some time. Anyway a response at least.


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Richard Garvie
post Apr 5 2013, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Apr 5 2013, 09:48 AM) *
Elaborate perhaps, but it seems to have got a quick response.

And now we know it was Labour's fault...


You know why it was elaborate...
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blackdog
post Apr 5 2013, 10:13 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Apr 5 2013, 11:09 PM) *
You know why it was elaborate...

Coz that's how I wrote it?
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 5 2013, 10:20 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Apr 5 2013, 11:09 PM) *
You know why it was elaborate...

This isn't a joke about Black Labradors is it?


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Richard Garvie
post Apr 5 2013, 10:26 PM
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I find it amazing that after speaking to a senior Lib Dem about Julian Swift Hook and his alias on this forum, he then posts a question on this forum to himself less than two hours after that conversation took place.

For some people this thread may appear plausable, but then why would anyone question the leader of the TOWN council about the district leadership model? JSH is not the leader at district level, nor is he regarded as a "senior" Lib Dem in comparison to Brooks, Rendel and Vickers.

The fact he questioned himself and replied 24 hours later via a "special newsletter" sums up how far this guy will go to try and cover his tracks. When has JSH ever replied to a sensible question in such a timely manner??

Yes, Labour did restrict the options of governance and asked the council (like others) to select from the available options. The Labour Government did not pick the model for the council, no matter what Julian or his alter ego would have you believe.
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Andy Capp
post Apr 5 2013, 10:42 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Apr 5 2013, 11:26 PM) *
Yes, Labour did restrict the options of governance and asked the council (like others) to select from the available options. The Labour Government did not pick the model for the council, no matter what Julian or his alter ego would have you believe.

You are going to look really daft if this is not true, or a bit of a hero if it is!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_government_in_England

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Government_Act_2000

http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/lo...authorities.pdf

Political structure

The Local Government Act 2000 imposed changes on local authorities that were designed to streamline and modernise their political structures. The act was intended to end the old committee system of local government which, it was argued, was slow and ineffective although, others may counter, democratic and accountable. These committees were to be replaced with a new streamlined cabinet system. Each local authority was asked to choose from one of the four options below:

1. A mayor elected by the electorate, with a cabinet of between 2 and 10 councillors.
2. A leader elected by the council, with a cabinet of between 2 and 10 councillors either selected by the leader or the full council.
3. An elected mayor with an officer appointed by the council known as a council manager.
4. A modified committee system could be chosen by district councils with a population below 85,000 (or for some exceptions when it was deemed ‘most suitable’ eg Brighton and Hove).

The most common option chosen was a council elected leader and cabinet system. A smaller number of communities have voted for a publicly elected mayor and cabinet. A small number have gone for the modified committee system, and only one (Stoke on Trent) for option 3
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 5 2013, 10:46 PM
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QUOTE (Richard Garvie @ Apr 5 2013, 11:26 PM) *
I find it amazing that after speaking to a senior Lib Dem about Julian Swift Hook and his alias on this forum, he then posts a question on this forum to himself less than two hours after that conversation took place.

For some people this thread may appear plausable, but then why would anyone question the leader of the TOWN council about the district leadership model? JSH is not the leader at district level, nor is he regarded as a "senior" Lib Dem in comparison to Brooks, Rendel and Vickers.

The fact he questioned himself and replied 24 hours later via a "special newsletter" sums up how far this guy will go to try and cover his tracks. When has JSH ever replied to a sensible question in such a timely manner??

Yes, Labour did restrict the options of governance and asked the council (like others) to select from the available options. The Labour Government did not pick the model for the council, no matter what Julian or his alter ego would have you believe.

Richard's called "Napoleon". Go on then Richard, I'm curious to see how this plays out.


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blackdog
post Apr 5 2013, 10:56 PM
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So now I'm JSH?

Lol.
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