At the Full Council meeting on Wednesday 10th January 2018,East Riding Council put on the agenda, the conduct of Pocklington’s Independent Ward Councillor Andy Strangeways, over one of his ‘photoons’ about the Council’s Chief Executive.
The ‘photoon’ itself was ill-advised and not up to Councillor Strangeways usual satirical standards, for which he has apologised. His previous twitter output “@AndyStrangeway” and his blog “andystrangewayindependent.com” has been a thorn in the side of the ruling elite in the East Riding Tory Group, so they have taken this opportunity to get their own back and attack him on this transgression!
Councillor Strangeways has chosen to attack what he sees as bullying and intimidation of himself and other Councillors over the areas where he believes the Council elite abuse their powers and fail to act in the best interests of the residents.
Others including myself have done this before and are continuing to do so outside the Council.
He naturally upsets the the ruling Tory elite by his actions and I for one commend his rebellious non-conformist stance, where he alone in the Council seeks to shine a light into the dark recesses of County Hall!
Indeed the Leader of East Riding Council wrote to all Councillors(not just the Conservatives) a few months ago, to urge them to complain about Councillor Strangeways, which as far as I know is unprecedented!
Like little lambs the supposed Opposition Labour, Liberal and I am not surprised to say Ukip Councillors, fell into line and did exactly that!
Yesterdays Full Council meeting was no different, with the expected ‘correographed’ speeches from the ruling elite, followed by similar criticisms from those that are expected to hold the ruling Group to account, laughingly known as ‘the opposition’
They too joined in the feeding frenzy to try to bully and intimidate Councillor Strangeways into silence.
I am appalled at such supine behaviour, but not as appalled as I was to hear that Councillor Felicity Temple said in Full Council “that she wished she had the power to sack Councillor Strangeways”!!!
I bet she does and I am not surprised to hear that she of all people would utter these words, given her and many others on the ruling Tory elite track record’s!
As far back as 2010 the Tory Party deselected 10 of the ruling elite including the Leader, for their bullying behaviour, only for them to be saved by the Local Tory MPs lobbying the National Tory Party on their behalf!!
Since then any Tory Councillor who has sought to question their behaviour has been ruthlessly persecuted and then deselected when the next election came around.
I myself and some of my colleagues, chose to leave the Tory Party over this precise issue in 2015.
The effect is that all internal questioning of the ruling elite Tory Group has completely ceased and now Councillor Temple wants the power to sack Councillors in other Parties she doesn’t like too!!
No wonder the euphemistically called ‘Opposition’ quake in their boots at the massed Tory ranks in front of them and meekly follow behind them!!
Well I can tell Councillor Temple that the only people who can sack Councillor Strangeways are the good residents of Pocklington at the next election in 2019 and I seriously doubt that will happen, because he is one of the most active Councillors in the East Riding.
He does things that many of the Tories would find a complete anathema, like hold surgeries, take action of behalf of his residents, hold others to account, and most of all, highlight waste and corruption where he sees it!
It is important for our democracy the he continues to do this because the necessary checks and balances with the Tory Group and the East Riding Tory Party are no longer there! The ‘whipping system’ and the threats to deselect Tory Councillors who question the Leadership elite, means that almost absolute power rests in the hands of the few not the many! ( to misquote Comrade Corbyn slightly).
This is not just an East Riding Council problem but a national issue in our broken system of Local Government. There are far too many ‘single Party States’ of both Labour and Conservative where no opposition, no questioning and no scrutiny exists. The Jay report into CSA in Rotherham highlighted similar concerns and the Grenfell Towers Enquiry is likely to look into similar issues there too??
We need Local Government reform as the system current systems are not working in the best interests of local residents, with a self serving elite benefiting with little or no accountability in far too many areas of the UK.
That will take time, but for now I hope our friend Andy Strangeways continues with his work and is not intimidated into silence.
I also hope that those who are supposed to be there to question the Tory elite actually do so for once, rather than meekly join in with the bullies when the are ordered to!!