It is a bizarre but not unprecedented issue. The “majority” for the proposal consists of Deloittes and the Conservative councillors on the Warwick and Stratford District Councils.
But the recent consultation demonstrated that there is a real majority against.
Residents are clearly against. Our MP is against. The Labour membership is against. The Greens are against. Parish councils, including mine, are against. Even four Tories are against. And of course I am against.
I scanned the record to see how my Labour councillors voted. Were they for or against?
Given the opposition to the proposal throughout the constituency and, in particular, the call by Matt Western for a local referendum, you might think that this was a strange decision. How can the Labour Party not have an opinion on a proposal which will diminish local democracy significantly?
True, it would not have changed the decision, but it does demonstrate to voters where the Labour party stands. Or rather, sits. Which of course is firmly and uncomfortably on the fence.
I have read the rationale from the Labour leader on the WDC. Announcing that he has been led “to a position of abstention”, he stated that:
“I and my group … will want to take part in discussions about the devolution of powers, assets and decisions to towns and parishes. And above all, we will want to ensure that residents’ and other stakeholders’ voices are heard and heeded whether we continue to explore the merger proposed, service integration and transformation, or some other form of political geography.”
Well, yes. But by abstaining in this crucial vote, Labour has snubbed its MP, reneged on its responsibility, and handed the leadership of the opposition to the Greens.
Having sat on our hands during a key democratic vote, I suspect it may be difficult to regain a role “at the centre of the debates about protecting residents”.
Today from the everysmith vaults: Ignoring the call of Bob’s Christmas In The Heart, and indeed almost anything that hints of Christmas, I am listening to Shostakovich, the Jazz Suites. Thanks to Georgia Mann of Radio 3’s Essential Classics for reminding me of them.