I didn't make it to the Council meeting tonight as it is my wife's birthday and I wanted to spend the night in with her, though I have been following it on Twitter and now that she is engrossed in Ebay and her new DS game I can write with freedom.
During his speech tonight Councilor Jarrett, deputy leader of the Conservative Group & Council as well as portfolio holder for finance made an attack on the "Clegg Letter" on city status.
In case you've never read by blog this is a big deal for me. Medway Council are running a third bid for City status... you know what this link will explain it all.So what did Councillor Jarrett say?
[The Libdems] didn’t have the courage unless their group leader was out of the country.
Alright, personal bias aside, let’s examine the validity of the claim.
After much debate over the last year or so about City status and campaigning against it during the Local election in May the issue came to a head at the AGM where a vote to decide whether or not to write to Nick came about. The vote was cast and the decision taken.
Where was Geoff Juby the Council group leader? Surely Geoff would not agree to this course of action?
Geoff was present at the AGM. I only know which way I voted (Yes) but all of us acknowledged that the majority had spoken and that a course of action was decided.
Then, yes Geoff went away for about six weeks to the Philippines and Hong Kong to see family.
However, although Geoff is leader of the Council group and a well respected councillor and guy he is not the leader of the Medway Liberal Democrat group – that is in fact Tony Jeacock who was elected at the same AGM for 2012. As the letter was drafted it was passed to the chair a number of times before it was presented to the Group on the 16th January for approval.
The letter was sent out with the signatures of the Group Chairman and Secretary the following week and yes Geoff was still on holiday, however if Geoff had been present I’m sure he would have been supportive and critical in the right places. After all, the group had democratically voted for this.
The Group took this very difficult decision and acted. It was not a Palace coup initiated by a couple of cowardly or ambitious Group members whilst our brave and heroic leader wasn’t even on the same continent as Councillor Jarrett’s words may suggest. This was democracy in action, something that the Party is based on.
I apologise if this has been a bit of a rant, this project has been a personal one for me and I do get defensive, especially with all of the flak that has circulated in the Media and online. I also understand that the Conservatives have fought hard for City Status and can understand they are angry with our perceived “betrayal” of their project but I wanted to set the record straight on Councillor Jarrett’s words.