Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cornwall Cabinet sticks two fingers up to democracy

Cornwall's Tory led cabinet has this afternoon stuck two fingers up to democracy and insisted that it will press ahead with the privatisation of key council services despite an overwhelming vote against the proposal at yesterday's full council meeting.

The Cabinet member in charge of the policy - Steve Double - has claimed that most of the concerns raised yesterday had already been addressed at the council meeting. Clearly members were not convinced by the answers they were given then or subsequently.

Steve also claims that there are many cases of successful public-private partnerships. Which is true. But there are also many examples of privatisation disasters and Cornwall's own history has not been so successful. Members are clearly worried about the ability of the authority to make any contract work.

Indeed, the statement issued by Cllr Double today is virtually identical to the one sent out as soon as the vote was taken yesterday - so it appears that the Cabinet has not even considered the case made by councillors.

From another cabinet member comes the claim that ordinary members of the council did not engage (read: understand) with the issues under discussion. All I can say to that is that the majority of members who sat on the single issue panel which looked at extreme depth into the issue voted against the privatisation scheme yesterday, and the cabinet member who had studied the issue most deeply also spoke out against it.

Liberal Democrats maintain that the administration does not have the mandate to carry through this scheme which risks services, jobs and money. We have challenged the Conservatives to face the electorate with this plan next May, but it seems they are too afraid to do so.

UPDATE - My colleague and group leader Jeremy Rowe has just said this:

"I am appalled at this latest display of arrogance from the Conservatives at County Hall. At yesterday's meeting more than half of the democratically elected Councillors present voted to stop this privatisation process, yet today a select few tucked away in the top floor bunker in Truro have decided to ignore that clear view from the Council and plough on regardless. They have no mandate for this outsourcing project but they still have the arrogance to assume they know better than just about everybody else. It is a black day for democracy in Tory-led Cornwall."

1 comment:

Leo Penbloedh said...

how many councillors were absent?