STOP PRESS: Coghill replaces Robbins as Labour Group Leader

Labour councillors have just completed voting for their new Group Leader, and the results are as follows:

Clare Coghill 30
Nadeem Ali 9
Gerry Lyons 1

Two of those eligible to vote did not attend (one was away, one sick) while another is currently suspended.

It is said that Gerry Lyons’ single vote was cast by….Gerry Lyons.

Amusement aside, however, it will be interesting to see what if any changes Cllr. Coghill now institutes.

Will she act on her ‘little list’?

Will there be a ‘new direction’?

Or is she, as some have suggested, simply a more human face for the old, and now discredited,  Loakes-Robbins show pony?

I am reminded that in a 2015 post (‘Cllr. Patrick Edwards speaks out’), I wrote as follows:

‘by chance I was at a meeting addressed by Councillor Coghill this week, and if her performance on that occasion is anything to go by, the future doesn’t bode well. She spent a lot of time trying to convince us she knew our area, you know, really, really well, and indeed on occasion bicycled through and around it, carefully name checking the Red Lion, the North Star, and Panda (in this case, the restaurant, not the animal) to underline her, you know, cool credentials. She flattered us for our wisdom, in the way that politicians are trained to do. But when it came to substance, she was alarmingly vague. Yes, the Council wanted to spend £500,000 doing up our local shops. And yes, she was really, really interested in our opinions, and was going to sit and listen to us. But yes, she was also going to talk to a lot of other people too – for starters, our local councillors (because, of course, they knew what was best for the area), ‘her officers’, and un-named other stakeholders. It all sounded dreadfully nice, and so, well, concerned. But if you scraped off the rather obvious soft soap, the rehearsed references to Panda, and so on, little was left. Was there going to be a meaningful public consultation, where residents as a whole could express their opinions? We left the meeting none the wiser’.

One and a half years later, the promised spend on our shops is a distant pipe dream, and the only meaningful development that has occurred in our area is the Council’s extraordinarily mean-spirited closure of the local food bank.

Let us hope that this is not the pattern for the coming years.

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Cllr. Clare Coghill and her ‘little list’

Chris Robbins: in memoriam UPDATED

Cllr. Patrick Edwards speaks out