Yesterday, we outlined the contemptuous attitude that some of Croydon’s councillors have towards public accountability. Here, ANDREW RENDLE offers his account of last week’s council meeting
Last week, I took my regular seat for another Croydon Council meeting, and once again I was horrified by the actions of the ruling Tory members.
First, cabinet member for “Performance and Transformation”, Councillor Steve O’Connell (who we should remember “transforms” £115,000 of public money into his own pockets, as the most overpaid local councillor in the country), could not explain why he has not published any papers or explain what he has been doing for the last six months. This man of inaction will be seeking our votes for the London Assembly in just a few months’ time.
It was then put to O’Connell that some care workers, who had previously been public employees working with the elderly and earning £11.20 per hour, had been transferred to private operator CareUK and had their wages slashed to £7.20 per hour or less.
O’Connell – Croydon’s £115,000-a-year man – said he would not support the London Living Wage for the low paid and care workers. This may seem odd, since it is a policy which his mate, Boris Johnson, says he fully supports [click here to see video of the Mayor enthusiastically endorsing the policy], and which even the Greater London Authority used to set a minimum rate of £7.85 per hour 18 months ago.
Again the motions for debate took place at the end of the meeting. The opposition called for a pause and consultation on how Croydon disposes of its waste, especially with the threat of an incinerator on our boarders hanging over us.
Unfortunately, Ashburton councillor Eddy Arram – Croydon’s next mayor – held the constitution aloft and on a trivial point of time keeping tried to bring the debate to an end. Thankfully, both party leaders agreed to a 10-minute extension but when put to the vote some members of the Conservative group opposed this sensible action.
I find it unacceptable that Tory councillors, most of whom receive “allowances” from the public purse, will not stay an extra few minutes to properly debate such an important issue that will affect all Croydon residents.
It is interesting however that members who did not want to stay in the chamber past 10pm were happy to join the Mayor at his tradition mince pie and mulled wine get together straight after the meeting. Good to have your priorities sorted.
Trying to derail democratic debate because you can’t be bothered to stay an extra few minutes is disgraceful, and I hope other Croydon residents to pass judgement on your behaviour accordingly when the residents of Ashburton visit the ballot box in 2014.
- Inside Croydon: brought to you from the heart of the borough – free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
- Croydon’s Question Time: an exercise in undisguised contempt (insidecroydon.com)
- Twitter exposes O’Connell’s priorities over £1bn incinerator (insidecroydon.com)
- Why are Croydon’s Tories running scared of proper debate? (insidecroydon.com)