NO surprises at the Town Hall this evening as Danny Beales and Adam Harrison were elected to the cabinet. Well done to them, after coming through three rounds of voting in committee room two. You could hear the claps through the Town Hall corridors.
Sue Vincent, one of candidates put up by the left of the party, was actually in second place after the first ballot – better than some pre-match predictions – but did not manage to break through the 20-vote target to win needed to claim majority support. She was one of two women overlooked for a promotion here, a source of anger among some. Cllr Beales, by the way, went past the 20-vote threshold on the first round and was the most popular candidate on the card.
Oliver Lewis, the inbetweener candidate (he has neither signed a letter calling for Jeremy Corbyn to stay or stand down), was first out, potentially an illustration of how the group lies divided by people who wanted to vote for candidates from two different wings of the party. It was said that he had the support of Councillor Georgia Gould, but the leader’s hopes for this election did not become a reality.
Cllr Gould had called for a new broad church cabinet and a fresh look to its decision-making with people of diverse political views working together, but after seeing two people aligned to the old leadership being replaced by… two people aligned to the old leadership, supporters of the beaten contenders are already muttering that the new leadership looks a lot like, well, the old leadership.
Good (and mutter all you want), will say the councillors who are happy with path the group has been on, feel the council is high-performing and don’t see the need to shake things up. Cllr Gould’s plea for a new look has, nonetheless, been pretty much ignored by her colleagues this evening. They won’t wear her suggestion.
This mean she doesn’t have the authority within the group, say her sternest critics, while supporters say democracy has taken its course and it would not have been appropriate for Cllr Gould to try and force a different outcome with a heavy-handed approach. At least nobody can call her presidential now.
The niche wordplay joke outside Town Hall chamber this evening, however, after these mini cabinet elections was “you can’t say it’s not all progress“.