Tuesday 15 May 2018

UPDATE: Butt's power grab confirmed as councillors vote themselves a 17% increase

It was ironic that the public were unable to watch last night's Brent Full Council Meeting as the meeting itself demonstrated how the Labour Council has become inward looking, revelling in the fancy dress pomp of the mayoralty, giving themselves a 17% rise and with Butt's plan to have a guaranteed four years as leader confirmed.  Perhaps it was better that the public were spared the spectacle because they would surely have been reaching for their sick bowls.

The Labour Group has developed self-congratulation and mutual grooming into a fine art and surely any suggestion that robust scrutiny will come from within their own ranks can be consigned to fairy land.

Wembley Matters covered the likely extension of Butt's power on the eve of the local election LINK as well as the appointment of Butt loyalists to Cabinet posts LINK, but even we did not predict the spiteful swipe at the opposition by the slashing of the opposition leader's allowance.

Magnanimity in victory? 'No, my friend...'

With not quite 4 out of 10 registered Brent residents voting, and only 3 out of 10 in Butt's own ward of Tokyngton, the gap between councillors and the ordinary people of Brent is widening. Surely it is time to campaign for more representative and participative local government?

UPDATE allowances at other nearby councils (from Kilburn Times):

Full details of appointments to committees HERE

This is the composition of the Planning Committee:


Anonymous said...

Isn't it the case that the pot of allowances hasn't changed they are just distributing it differently? As for the electoral system - you can't blame that on Brent Labour - classic sour grapes to call for the whole system to be torn down because you lost. Presume you won't be running Green candidates in Willesden Green if you don't accept the system?

Martin Francis said...

Yes I covered the reduction in some allowances in my earlier piece. Only after appointments have been completed will we know the total but it is likely to be little different to the previous. However individual basic allowances have been increased. Some form of proportional representation for local elections is a long-standing Green Party policy and also one advocated by the Electoral Reform Society. One can work within a system whilst at the same time trying to improve it. Non-voters won the election in Brent.

Paul Lorber said...

It is perfectly reasonable to call for a fair voting system as Martin does.

I did so in 2006 when I became Leader of Brent Council with the odd situation of my Liberal Democrat’s winning the larges number of seats on Brent Council despite the fact that all 3 main parties received around 30% of the votes - with Labour and the Tories gaining slightly more than us. Brent residents have a Labour Dictatorship in Brent despite the fact that around 40% of those voting rejected Labour - even ignoring the non voters Labour clearly do not deserve 90% of all seats. As the decision on the massive 17.6% pay rise for Councillors shows not having an effective opposition is not good for our area.

Anonymous said...

What % voting rejected the Lib Dems? What % voting rejected the Greens? It is not a dictatorship if its elected and you do a disservice to those living under real dictatorships

Anonymous said...

What actual percentage of the registered electorate voted Labour?
Do your maths and come back.

Scott said...

Anon at 09:22 is a classic Labour ‘socialist’ talking of ‘distribution’ when this means a greater amount in the hands of people who consider themselves rulers and not public servants.

There is no ‘pot of allowances’, its our tax money. If they realised the allowances were too high before, that’s one thing - but to appropriate the money elsewhere is just entitled.

Anonymous said...

More than the other parties - hence a landslide victory

Do your political science and come back

Martin Francis said...

I have received this comment by email: HEAR BLOOODY HEAR Re today's WM!!! I also was trying to watch and was very mad not to be able to do so. And I am married to one of the ones you are upbraiding. And have voiced my own view to him.
I was fascinated to see B&K's comparison of what nearby councillors are paid. That is not what K was told.

Martin Francis said...

I have edited this comment: "what K was told”

'Alison Hopkins shared the B&K Times article in advance of the vote, which showed the comparison table. IF there is a question that the leadership misled Labour councillors, let's see them be brave and hold a vote of no confidence in the Leader.'

I have checked the Kilburn Times website and the article was written at 16.51 on May 15th and updated at 18.18. The vote was on May 14th.

Paul Lorber said...

What are the people writing here so scared of that they hide being anonymous. The Maths is very simple. If 60% of the electorate vote Labour then Labour should get 38 Councillors in Brent. If the Conservatives get 20% they should get 20 Cunciloors. If the Liberal Democrats get 12% they should get 7 Councillors and if the greens get 5% they should get 3 Councillors that leaves 1 Councillors for the rest making 63 in total. There is no justification for Labour to get 95% of the seats on 60% of the vote. as it is not Democratic it can only be a Dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

Incorrect. https://twitter.com/bktimes/status/995979928012316672

The status shows the article published on twitter at 3.41am on 14 May 2018 (ahead of the vote).

Why are we not naming and shaming Councillor Keith Perrin, whose wife emailed you?

Martin Francis said...

I have checked with the sender and she is happy to be named as Gaynor Lloyd. It was my decision not to name her as this was an emailed comment and I did not have her permission then to use her name.

Martin Francis said...

Re Anonymous 15.22 I donlt want to nitpick on this but the headline on the article that Twitter linked to was 'Brent councillors to vote on awarding themselves 17.6% pay rise' - in anticipation of the vote and then later edited to cover the actual vote. Anyway a little beside the point as I wrote about the proposed £1,800 increase days earlier on May 12th: https://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/butts-power-grab-confirmed-as.html and despite denials many councillors read this blog.

I have explained re Gaynor Lloyd above - for the record I don't think this is a matter of 'naming and shaming' but of Gaynor being straight and to the point on a matter that she as an independent person sees as important.

Alison Hopkins said...

Merriam Webster defines dictatorship thus: a : a form of government in which absolute power is concentrated in a dictator or a small clique.

I'd say that's a pretty fair description of how Brent now is.

Brent is essentially a one party state. That surely means that those within that state have a responsibilty to hold their "leader" to account and to challenge and scrutinise. This is not happening. Those who dissent either stay silent or are side lined. (I had an interesting chat about this with a councillor at the count.)

I find it personally pretty disgusting that so many seemingly disagree with Butt, yet continue to give tacit approval. John Duffy being the one honourable exception.

Brent Labour see no issue with this model of governance and will do virtually anything, now, to win seats. That seems to be the one overwhelming goal, and once it's done, they sit back for the next four years.

I think that they long since forgot what the ethos of public service actually means, and that what can perhaps be described as a darkness of the soul has set in. A loss of moral compass.

Anonymous said...

In a dictatorship absolute power wouldn't accept a challenge (genuine elections) the Lib Dems had a chance to persuade the people of Brent to put them in power but they rejected them entirely. In 2006 the Lib Dems got 11,000 less votes than Labour but got six more Councillors than them. Don't remember them standing aside to allow these % to be reflected differently at the town hall. Face it - you're out of ideas and nobody trusts you in power after tuition fees and getting into bed with the Tories

Alison Hopkins said...

I suggest you read Paul's comment with regard to 2006. And Butt has now blocked any form of challenge to his power. The fact that you think the current state of Brent Labour is laudable speaks much. And yes, I do know which current serving councillor you are.

Trevor said...

But Alison,
I don't intend to undermine the point you made about ''dictatorship''
but I think that you are being a tad unfair to describe Brent as ''a one party state.''
I suggest that by you resorting to ''name calling'' in the aftermath of the Lib dems defeat at the ballot box,
you make yourself sound like someone who is consumed with jealously.
I am sure that you are experienced enough to know that politics is a cruel game and that the electorate choose who they want to run the borough and not the other way round.
Why not leave with grace rather than bitterness?

Trevor said...

I think it was indeed a case of ''sour grapes'' on the part of the Lib Dem candidates.
They could not accept the results and so they resort to effectively suggesting that the election was rigged in favor of Labour candidates
but nothing could be further from the truth.
I'm not a labour supporter and neither was I happy to know that they have retained leadership of the council
but I think that they won fair and square.