Another Full Council meeting yesterday. The most frustrating part was a discussion about Petitions. We have a good process for petitions at the County Council and try to treat them seriously. However, as part of the wash-up at the end of the last Government a new Bill was passed which passes more responsibility on to Councils, one of which was a statutory requirement for the Council to hold a 15 minute debate at Full Council for any petition that receives the support of 5% of the population of the County. We proposed to reduce this down to 2.5% - so to cut the statutory requirement by half.
Of course this wasn't good enough for Cambridgeshire Lib Dems who played their normal games and put in an amendment that set the level so low that we could never accept it, probably so they can now put out a "Nasty Tories" press release. Of course they didn't like it when this was pointed out to them. As I said "New Politics, same old Cambridgeshire Lib Dems".
What annoys me is that there are numerous opportunities for Councillors to raise and discuss local issues and stand up for their residents both at Full Council and elsewhere, so if their amendment was not a political ploy, the only other thing it could have been is an admission that they were not standing up for the people they represent without this.
As an example, yesterday my fellow Whittlesey Councillor Ralph Butcher raised both the issue of a Whittlesey bypass and the problems that the East-West rail upgrade will have on both Station Road and Kings Dyke crossing gates and I have a meeting scheduled with our new Acting Director of Enviroment Services to discuss those very same issues.