Praying for peace and harmony between Jason and Grant, and Dawn and the Travellers

What a love-in. Jason and Grant. A marriage made in heaven. Grant tweets support for Jason, and Jason writes in almost affection terms of Grant. Actually, I imagine that they would both say it would be a civil partnership created in hell. For today, the Cabinet Member for Finance and Central Services on Brighton and Hove City Council, Jason Kitcat, called in on the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Grant Shapps.

They chatted fondly of ‘Videogate’ when Jason was hauled through the Standards Committee for posting extracts from a council meeting on You Tube. Grant recalled Tweeting a message of support.

Not all the meeting went according to plan. Grant declined to make more money available to Brighton and Hove, as well as letting on that he felt councillors and MP’s should not be paid anything! There is a short report on Jason’s visit to the Department for Communities & Local Government on his blog.

Perhaps Jason would have been more successful had he heeded the advice from Pal Perrin and attended prayers before Council meetings. Paul writes: “I think a moment of contemplation, reflection (or ‘prayers’) before meetings should be compulsory. An opportunity for our representatives to remind themselves that they are servants not leaders (whether or not they are religious) – if they want to lead they need to persuade the public and then follow them!” If it is of any comfort to Bill Randall, I pray for him every night! I am sure he will gain strength for that.

For good measure, Paul, who is on a one man crusade to hold the Green administration to account, asks: “So how is this absurd meat free mondays thing going?”. The other day I chanced upon the Greens answer to Delia Smith, councillor Amy Kennedy, but no mention was made of meat free Mondays. In the best tradition of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I have become vegetarian on Mondays. I only cook Lamb.

There has been. Some comment on Dawn Barnett and her intervention on travellers. You will recall that Dawn visited a travellers camp in her ward and gave them written directions to Green wards. Zombie writes: “I am surpised Dawn Barnett has been allowed to get away with all she has done, relatively unchallenged. She has incited tresspass elesewhere in Brighton. She has tried to straightjacket councillors into attending prayers on a like it or not basis (most Lab councillors didn’t attend prayers in the 70s with no fuss made).” I think I should start praying for Zombie, as well.

Zombie continues: “Some Labour councillor (Brian Fitch where are you?) could have stood up for local residents less stridently and in a less inflamatory way.Someone could have stood up for freedom of expression and thought. Labour has been inept and cowardly and has allowed Dawn Barnett and Tories like Mike Weatherly and Geoffrey Theobald to do all the running in making political hay, while the Greens pile on error after error. The Greens will learn or be overwhelmed. Labour will deserve to disappear from political life in B & H if it cannot speak a lot louder than it has been of late.”

While disagreeing with what Dawn Barnett did, I do admire the sheer cheek of what she has done, and other councillors could be well advised to show some imagination in their campaigning.

14 Responses

  1. Appreciate the name checks there – (was the first one a freudian slip ‘pal perrin’?? you are going soft – remember the pins?) but I don’t see ‘UKIP’ mentioned… holding government to account is why I got involved in politics at all – repatriating government from Brussels to Westminster is phase 1.

    • My guess is that the Green Group would be happy to have a “moment of contemplation, reflection” at the start of meetings, just not one that’s interrupted by someone reciting prayers out loud. It’s a Green Party tradition to have a one minute period of “attunement” at the beginning of meetings where everyone is silent.

  2. Good on Dawn for defending her patch. I would expect nothing less from this doughty lady and she’s a great asset to the local Tory Party and her ward.

    I think Mike Weatherley’s stock will rise even higher. I hear that in the coming Justice Bill to be announced by Ken Clarke tomorrow, Mike’s campaign against the rights of squatters is being included in the Bill for consultation. Hopefully we’ll see an end to their audacious seizing of empty properties, especially in B&H. Traveller issue next?

    What’s this about Jason Kitkat asking Grant Shapps about extra funding for councillors to cover childcare? Being a councillor is not (or should not be) a full-time job, it’s voluntary, like being a magistrate etc. I presume people shouldn’t volunteer to become councillors if they don’t have the spare time to fulfil the duties of their post..

    • Quite right. Only rich people who can afford childcare should be allowed to be councillors, what-what?

      Dawn Barnett (according to the Southampton Argus) stated that the Greens had said that travellers had to live somewhere. This was her justification for inciting travellers to trespass in Green wards, though not her own, of course.

      What is the opposite of the statement that travellers have to live somewhere?
      Try putting the emphasis on the word ‘live’, while thinking broadly about some of the bigger events of twentieth century history. I think we are heading into extremely dodgy territory here, to say the least.

      • People in the private sector very rarely get extra for child care – they take a hit to their lifestyle – why should people taking such a hit, then be hit again to so councillors don’t take such a hit?

        Councillors need to get over themselves – they are there to manage the provision of servcies that the public want, not dictate what those servcies are.

        If the council don’t want to collect my rubbish when convenient to me – fine, send me the cash instead and I’ll take my rubbish to the dump myself — isn’t there a water shortage? and water processing crisis on the horizon? And here we are washing up our trash (with metered water that we pay for) so it doesn’t smell in the recycling!! Madness.

  3. Several folk in the saloon bar tonight commented that a community meeting in Regency billed as “Meet the Kitcats” was one Kitcat short. It is doubtless tough to meet every commitment a hardworking Councillor such as Jason wants to attend. But I did chortle at one comment, from a local lady:

    “I didn’t realise we also had to elect the babysitter.”

  4. @Linda F – Maybe you missed the bit about counsellors allowances? In opposition the Greens said they were too high – but one of their first acts in power was to confirm them at that ‘too high’ level…

    For instance I think the leader is on at least £45k… Its not attendance based, just paid straight out – and councillors can opt into the lovely local government pension scheme – nice work if you can get it (as they say).

    For more on the green peril – check out my latest blog posting:

  5. Good move by Dawn Barnett, we should have traveller zones where Green councillors are so they can park in the roads.

  6. But Jason is a trustafarian methinks or at least a man of means? Harris Fitch recommended us an excellent babysitter who we now use whenever we need one, quite often for Labour Do’s and meetings. There is also a great agency we use called ‘sitters’.

    The Council can’t afford any additional costs at the moment.

  7. It may not be the best time to suggest childcare allowances for councillors given the general picture. But, having read Jason Kitcat’s blog, it seems to me that the really extraordinary point is Grant Shapps’ suggestion that even MPs ought not to be paid, let alone councillors.

    How reactionary are some of these people! It’s like local Tory wire-puller Mike Holland, and his brilliant idea of reserving half the council’s seats for business people (and how on earth would you define that precisely?)

    Representative government ought to be what it says, and to that end some effort ought to be made – though perhaps not right now – to encourage more councillors with young families. My impresssion is that there aren’t too many at the moment – perhaps if there had been more the city wouldn’t have reached crisis point over schools places?

  8. Our democracy is supposed to be representative – but councillors thinking that their first duty is to represent councillors – because they are councillors – takes it all a bit far.

    There are lots of unemployed on benefits – maybe councillors should be paid at that level so they can effectively represent those people, and maybe a few should get addicted to drugs for similar reasons? No, I don’t think so.

    Instead, how about ensuring that candidates for the council have *had* a reasonably wide experience of normal life *before* the become councillors? There’s a thought!

  9. […] The Matriarch, it has been reported, was referred to the Standards Committee for handing out leaflets directing travellers camped in her ward to open spaces in wards held by Green councillors.  While I do not like the tone of much of the anti-traveller debate, I thought that what the Matriarch did was imaginative touched with humour.  She made her point very well.  It was rumoured that it was a Green councillor who made that referral but I am yet to see any firm evidence to confirm this. I have previously written about Dawn’s “sheer cheek”. […]

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