Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Joining the Cabinet

Today's full council meeting was the culmination of two and a half weeks of negotiations and discussions on the shape of the new administration to run Cornwall. And it means I have a new role as one of ten cabinet members.

Ever since the electorate decided that none of Cornwall's political groups should be given outright power, we have been working behind the scenes to form an alliance. The Lib Dem view from the start was that the new administration should be formed of as many groups as possible.

Much has been said already about the decision by the Conservatives not to join. My own view is that, whilst they were willing to sit around the negotiating table, it never seemed that they were serious about actually joining an administration under any circumstances.

In the end, the cabinet will be comprised of members from two groups - the Liberal Democrats and Independents. But two other groups - Labour and Mebyon Kernow - have actively supported the formation of the new administration and UKIP are seeking to play as positive role as possible. Only the Conservatives will be actively in opposition.

The commitment from the new Leader - John Pollard - and from the whole of the new cabinet is that we should actively engage with all groups. This will not be a 'them and us' situation and we want to harness the ideas of all 123 councillors in a positive manner. I hope that we will be openly discussing ideas with councillors and the public in a way that the last administration never did. No party or group can afford to be dictatorial when they won 30% or fewer of the seats on the council. I anticipate that there will be a 'mission statement' setting out the aims of the new administration published soon.

Joining John Pollard around the cabinet table will be five Liberal Democrats including myself and four more independents. The roles we will be taking on will be decided over the next 24 hours and I will, of course, blog this as soon as I know. As a cabinet member, I will be helping to take many more decisions for Cornwall and will represent the council in a way that I never have before. But this blog will continue and it will always be my own personal thoughts - it should not be taken to be the official view of Cornwall Council. I'm adding a disclaimer on the right to make this clear.

Also decided today was that Independent councillor John Wood will chair the council for the coming 12 months with Lib Dem Ann Kerridge as Vice Chair. Congratulations to them both.

Finally, I want to say thank you to those who have been in charge of Cornwall until now. The cabinet members who have formally stepped down have put in many hours - often unseen hours. I may not have agreed with many of their decisions. In fact I vigorously disagreed with many. But they showed a commitment to Cornwall that I hope to be able to live up to.


Robert Ian Sully said...

Congratulations on your new Cabinet position Alex, and I'm really pleased that you are continuing with this blog - I wonder if Andrew will do the same? Two Cabinet bloggers would be awesome.

Alex Folkes said...

Many thanks. I know Andrew will continue to blog as well. They might evolve, but I hope they won't change completely.