Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Tale of Two Cites and Labour at war amongst themselves.

The Civil War amongst Labour on Swansea  Council took a new twist when one of the  councillors controversially sacked from the cabinet of Swansea Council looks set to become the authority’s new leader after being elected to replace the man who dismissed him.

Wales Online report (so presumably this will be in today's Wasting Mule) Councillor Rob Stewart, the cabinet member in charge of finance, was fired by then-Labour leader David Phillips last month in a double-axing which also saw education and training cabinet member Will Evans given the chop.

But Coun Phillips then unexpectedly stepped down from his post as leader in order to “focus on building Swansea’s regional and national profile”.

Makes change from "devoting more time to the family ".

The Labour Group met last night and elected Coun Stewart as their new leader.

Following the election Coun Stewart aimed a thinly-veiled broadside at his predecessor as he pledged an “increased focus on delivery” under his administration.
He said:

 “It is a huge honour to be given this opportunity. I am grateful and humbled by the confidence shown to me by so many colleagues.
“A change of leadership does not mean a change of course but it does mean an increased focus on delivery.
“I intend to say more over the next few weeks about the tough decisions needed on spending. It is my belief however that these decisions must reflect priorities within the communities who elected us.
“I want to match savings with improvements. I will be looking closely at the entire local authority with this aim in mind. People’s aspirations and expectations still need to be met even in times of austerity.
“It is my intention to retain the finance portfolio with my new role as council leader.
“I will also be redefining the cabinet portfolio responsibilities to make them more service-focused.

The last piece indicate that they may be a cull of the former leaders supporters on the politbureau cabinet

 It says something that diverse coalitions on our councils seem to hold together better than Labour seems to do when in overall control.

Back  February Cardiff Council leader Heather Joyce stepped down Cllr Joyce, who  continues to represent the city's the Llanrumney ward, did  cite a desire to spend more time to her family and her unwell husband

Her replacement Complete unknown Phil Bale was elected leader only elected  to the counci  2012  now faces  a report from  Wales' public spending watchdog warning  Cardiff council  that it is is failing to improve its services because of "fragmented leadership and management", 

The Wales Audit Office (WAO) says the council is not doing enough to address "long-standing weaknesses" or plan effectively for cuts in its funding.
Decision processes are "inefficient and lack transparency", it also said.The new l leader Phil Bale said the report "makes for a sobering read" and lays out challenges "very starkly".The report by Huw Vaughan Thomas, Auditor General for Wales, assessed how the council, the largest in Wales, performed in 2012/13 and analysed its planning for the next financial year.Mr Thomas praises the council for putting in place a new senior management team and identifying £50m worth of potential savings.But the report says the council needs to take "urgent action" to make improvements.It says: "Older people in Cardiff are waiting longer for appropriate care and delays are increasing.

It seems that our two major cities  my be suffering from electing Labour Councillors who have little ties with the Cardiff or Swansea and are putting their long term political ambitions ahead of the good of the city
The report on Cardiff may also raise questions on whether merging councils as pr opposed by the William's commission  will in effect provide better services.
Labour still seem to be benefiting from an Anti Tory/Lib Dem vote how much longer can the public stay with them when they appear to be fighting amongst themselves to the detriment  of those who trusted them with their vote remains to be seen.

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