Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Branley's absences

Absence makes your friends work harder!

It would not be my normal habit to help out the Labour Party in South Tyneside but I am happy to support their contention that people who live in glass house should not throw stones. At the Annual Meeting of the Borough Council on Tuesday the Opposition parties attempted to make some small headlines by attacking the poor attendance records of certain Labour Councillors appointed to outside bodies. An attack made with a flying boomerang by all accounts! The recently formed Alliance group (Independents and Progressives) had, as one of it's prime movers, Allen Bradley, who is on record as having defended his own non attendance at Council and committee meetings by saying "most of these meetings consist of hot air and opportunities for Labour Councillors to grab some headlines".

Now, I might be old fashioned in my thinking, but I would have expected that the best way for the Opposition to grab headlines would be to actively oppose Labour policy in every committee and Council meeting possible, attack, probe, challenge, and offer viable alternative policies. You were elected to oppose, you were elected to represent and articulate the views of your constituents. This cannot be achieved by staying away! Allen Branley's failure to join his colleagues means that they have to do more, individually, at committee or Council meetings, they have to work harder as a team, because they are one man down! You just have to recall Arsenal's desparation at failing to overcome Barcelona, as good an illustration of a short-handed team that I can think of.

So, come on Councillor Branley, think of your team mates, they need you there, think of your constituents in Westoe, they need you there, think of your new colleague in Westoe, Vic Thompson, he needs you there. Indeed, to provide an effective opposition for the whole of South Tyneside, you are needed to play your part - don't leave it all to others.

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