CAMDEN Labour Group councillors and a few others on a select email list have received another ‘Dear Comrades’ message this week – with three interesting little steers from chief whip Roger Robinson. (…the red text is from the email circulated on Monday)
1. Unlike party leader Ed Miliband, there is clearly no dithering over next week’s public sector workers strike. Members are not even allowed to enter the Town Hall, which would be seen as breaking the picket.
“Camden staff strike 30th November: The Camden staff strike, both UNISON and GMB ,as you know, is on 30th November. Obviously, in support, no member of the Labour Group should cross the picket lines outside the Town Hall and other council premises – it would be totally against our views and values- and if you have the time ,and it is up to you, join the picket lines and if possible attend the union rally at the Town Hall at 11 am to show your support for the staff.”
2. There is a discussion over whether deputations at full council meetings – that’s the bit where you, the public, get to make your points in front of all of Camden’s councillors – are taking too long. Or are at least ‘overloading’ the meeting. And because all of those protestations from the public are dragging on, it means less time for
political point-scoring the rest of the meeting.
“Deputations to Council meetings: I have asked the Mayor’s office to ensure that there is liaison with the Group’s Whips as to deputations to council meetings before a decision is made to avoid he [sic] agenda being overloaded and less time is made available for portfolio reports/the two minute slot/questions/ motions etc…”
and perhaps most interesting 3. Halfway from that sparky group AGM earlier in the year, where leading councillors were handed bloody noses or booted out of the cabinet altogether, and halfway to the next one, organisers are appealing for unity. There is already talk of more challenges and changes when the group decide who will run the big departments next Spring. The chief whip wants ‘cohesion’. The leadership’s door is always open.
“Cohesion and unity: I would ask that if any member has concerns and questions on policies these be raised by members with the relevant Cabinet member and/or at Group meetings with advanced notice to the Chief Whip and the Cabinet member to ensure open and helpful discussion.”