OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

Cabinet Decision on Hornsey Town Hall "called in" - how embarrassing

Called In Twice

Called in not once, but twice. This is clearly very embarrassing to the Cabinet. At least it would be if they were capable of embarrassment, but, lucky for them they have thick skins. A review of the call ins is carried out by the Overview and Scrutiny committee.

LibDem Opposition

One of the call ins has been made by the Lib Dems, and is based on their belief that there might have been a better way to go, and that the money set aside for building a new civic centre would be better used on Hornsey Town Hall. They propose going back to the Community Asset Transfer approach, and going through the bidding process again. If they can persuade the committee to take this back to Cabinet, and then Cabinet agree to the proposal, then the situation might be very much more to the liking of many Crouch Enders. Perhaps this particular call in is not too embarrassing - after all the LibDems are the opposition, and they are opposing a decision. You will find all the details on page 7 of this pdf, which is labelled Page 3

Embarrassing BackBench Revolt

The second call in is potentially much more damaging for two reasons:

1) It is being made by 12 Labour councillors in direct opposition to the Cabinet decision

2) It alleges that the Cabinet decision is itself directly opposed to Haringey's own stated and explicit policies

Obviously being challenged by your own back benchers is a serious thing. It suggests that all is not harmonious within the majority party, to an extent where 12 of that party are willing to put their names to a public document. This in a borough where the Labour Party is very ready to enter into internal disciplinary action, and to suspend members. You can find the names of the courageous 12 on page 14 of the pdf, which is labelled page 10.

Even more damaging is the fact that the reason for the call in is stated as being Cabinet's prioritisation of one policy decision ahead of others. Now the description of the call in in its entirety runs to several pages which can be found as pp 9 - 13 of the pdf, which are labelled pages 5 - 9. The rebels have highlighted the following:

  • The decision delivers an outcome outside of the policy framework Priority 5 of our Corporate Plan "Creating mixed and inclusive neighbourhoods"
  • The decision is taken in contravention of key policy objective within the Housing Strategy
  • Decision taken in contravention of Corporate Plan policy outcome "Value for money"
  • Decision taken in contravention of Local Plan Policy SP2
  • Finally

If you want to read the full technical argument which has been put forward, then it is perhaps better to go the committee papers, rather than take a garbled version from here. I reckon they have made a pretty good job of setting out why the current decision is a bad one. 

They have also been much more reasonable than the LibDems in their demands for change. The LibDems want to throw everything up in the air and start again. This group simply want to clarify the current proposal and have conditions attached to it. Altogether more achievable.

What has Cabinet Done

First step - it has packed the scrutiny committee with Labour members - there is one LibDem but in such a lopsided borough (50 Labour / 7 LibDem) this is bound to be true

Second Step - it has lumped the two call ins together, to be dealt with in a single meeting. Given that the two are so different , and have been made for such different reasons, this hardly seems appropriate. The serious matters of policy identified by the Labour call in, run the risk of becoming lost amid the opposition clamour to do something different. 

The meeting is open to the public. Just turning up will show the cabinet that there is still a depth of feeling in Crouch End and around on this issue. If you think you can add to the debate, then ask the committee organiser and chair for permission to speak.

Tags: HTH call in, call in, dorsett, far east consortium, hornsey town hall, ojeu, tax haven

Views: 731

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I may have missed it but can you let me know the date of the meeting (together with time and location?) Thanks. 

Nov 8th 7pm

Many thanks - I guess that is in the Civic Centre Wood Green. BB

by default, yes. Perhaps you can think of a better public venue for a public meeting about the public asset Hornsey Town Hall, to which the public in Crouch End have easier access. Might even be worth starting a Facebook drive for relocation?

Nice to note that there is such a thing as a "Democratic Services Manager" ah ah ah.

Who comes up with these things?

More to the points - it is a relief that 12 councillors have decided to question a few things.

Well done to them.

Best

JC

"The Cabinet Member was assured that the due diligence process had been conducted including financial advisers and they were reported no concerns about the preferred bidder."

TRANSLATION: SO SINCE I SAY THAT IT'S OK IT'S OK, OK?

Argumenting a la Blairite...

Lyn, the intervention by Cllr Adam Jogee has shown that the Kobertories (right-wing Progress Party) members of the Labour Group are worried about the gathering opposition.
Plainly they've learned nothing at all from the fiasco when Cllrs Gideon Bull and Sheila Peacock went to the "cabinet" to speak up and speak out about cuts to Children's Centres and Adult Day Centres. As you'll recall, Cllr Liz McShane (then Labour Chief Whip) was tasked with being prosecutor, judge and jury in "convicting" Gideon Bull of the "offence" of being "uncomradely". In other words speaking in public to disagree with the Dear Leader Claire Kober and her chums. As we know, Cllr McShane showed herself to be Cllr McShameless when thousands of signatures gathered in an online petition were ignored.

All pointless and utterly stupid, since Cllr McShane could - and should - have told Claire Kober that gagging elected councillors was counter-productive and would - and did - damage the reputation of the Council.

Now having learned nothing at all and seemingly forgotten everything, here we go again. A similar process with Labour councillors who dare to raise questions about Hornsey Town Hall. With the three Party whips engaged in putting the frighteners on people. Or trying to.
Not, as Cllr Adam Jogee claims, in order: "to listen to and understand each other's concerns" and to "robustly challenge and question cabinet and group decisions". But because Labour councillors "... must remain a united and dignified team in public".

In other words children, if you want your sweeties - Special Responsibility Allowances and the Dear Leader's ear and favours - then you'd better button your lip. Because further attempts to question or challenge the Dear Leader and her silent unquestioning acolytes "... will be taken very seriously".

There's three whips going round taking names. Everyone won't be treated all the same  And they decide who can speak and who to blame.

My inference was that, far from being worried, the Kobertories are continuing with business as usual - threats and sanctions for non-conformists through the whips, and reliance on the 50:7 majority. 50 to 7 is an unhealthy majority, not even 12 nay-sayers brave enough to put their names to a document make much of a dent in it.

It is such a shame that most members of the Council are so keen on protecting the "harmony" that no much discussion can take place nor any change of minds. If we were to all (council members + residents) sit down - in an harmonious way  - it would become terribly obvious to all that the sale of the green should really be a non starter - and that a "boutique" hotel although not an abominable concept is not quite ideal.

It is crucial that Haringey elected representatives adopt new approaches - 21st century style - where debate is at the core of everything, And realising - like all good thinker/scientist - that changing one's mind is nothing to be ashamed of but on the contrary the very sign of higher intelligence & progress.

Very best wishes to ALL.

JC

PLEASE note that Haringey Council's Planning Committee will consider the Planning Application for Hornsey Town Hall at Monday’s meeting.

RSS

© 2019   Created by Adrian Essex.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service