COMMUNITY! - COMMUNITY! -COMMUNITY!
IF we didn't already know that New Labour had made the word 'Community' fashionable, last night, after listening to Tony Lloyd the Manchester Police Commissioner addressing Rochdale Council, we would now; for he flogged the word to death along with 'building bridges' between the police and the citizens, co-operation between the criminal justice system and the public. Policing, we learned, required expertise in the areas of terrorism, organised crime and child sexual exploitation. And we mustn't forget domestic violence, for 'a woman is at the greatest risk in her own home'. He didn't say where a man is at the greatest risk, perhaps at work on a building site, but that is not a fashionable thing to say. When it comes to general current catchwords, Mr Lloyd is a master at the art.
The Rochdale Council Budget:
PERHAPS the most controversial item in the amendments to the Labour Council's Budget proposals was that in the Liberal Democrat proposal of cutting the number of Councillors from 60 to 40 and a consequent reduction in the number of local elections. This was met with derision from the Labour benches. To Labour Councillor, Liam O'Rourke, this was undemocratic in so far as less councillors would mean 'less democracy'. Yet the Mayor had earlier in this full council meeting complained about 'the decrease in public interest in local democracy' despite the number of councillors lolling on the benches in the Town Hall. There were less than half a dozen observers in the public gallery at last night's full council meeting. Councillor Alan Brett made sneering references to the Lib-Dem Party saying that with their numbers they could easily meet in a telephone box.
The issue of payment the removal of 'Council funding for Trade Union posts' (Lib-Dem) and 'withdrawal of funding provided to Trade Unions' (Tory), was raised in both the Lib-Dem and Tory Party amendments. Councillor Farnell spoke of the help from the trade unions in putting through the current cuts, and Coun. Liam O'Rourke said: 'The implementation of decisions to make redundancies were helped by our relationship to the trade unions'
Now there's a thought!
The trouble is that both the Tories and Lib-Dems point to the absurdity of the Council paying money to the trade unions to attack the council and defend their members. The reality, it seems, if we are to believe the Labour councilors, Coun. O'Rourke and Coun. Farnell, is the opposite, is that the Council-paid union bosses, presumably Unison in this case, actually seduces their own membership to accept the bitter pill of redundancies without a murmur. The issue is not perhaps that the council is foolish for paying the union bosses, so as that the council is wise in that the trade unions by taking the bosses' money are undermined in objectively pursuing the interests of their own members.
In the end the Budget proposed by the governing Labour Council was accepted, and both the Tory and Lib-Dem amendments were decisively rejected.