For the last couple of weeks (and most likely again this week), Crawley Borough Council’s Leader of the Opposition has been harping on about committee chairmanships. His argument seems to be: we won more seats than you this year (ignoring that three Labour seats weren’t even up for election) and besides we’re a larger opposition now, therefore we should be given that percentage of chairmanships.
The problem with this argument is simple, they only started to believe it was the ‘right’ thing to do when they lost control of the council, anyone who doubts that should look at what they offered the Labour opposition in 2010. Hypocrisy is a poor quality in general but in politics it’s particularly loathsome.
The opposition held three positions last year and they remain open to them now. At West Sussex County Council, where Crawley’s Leader of the Opposition is a Deputy Cabinet Member, only one position is held between Ukip, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Independents and it’s not even on any of their four scrutiny commissions, which apparently is another of their rules we now ‘have’ to follow.
The trouble with all of this is that it forgets who we are really here to serve, the community. When Labour started to set up a Fairness Commission to help map out how we can tackle local inequalities the Conservatives refused to join, saying that since it was ‘unfair’ they didn’t get the posts they wanted they wouldn’t participate.
Again, this year most of their group ditched the Mayor’s Reception after Annual Council, an event traditionally held to raise money for local charities, on the grounds that they didn’t like the positions they were offered. Does anyone outside of their group believe the biggest issue for Crawley is what titles they get to call themselves?
Sussex Police are facing job cuts of 1,000, GP surgeries are overwhelmed, we’ve lost a fire engine and all retained firefighters, class sizes are increasing rapidly, and what do the Tories want to discuss? Themselves. It’s time that they grew up and remembered what they were elected to do.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Labour Northgate, Labour Leader