Wednesday, 25 July 2007

That's Just That, Then

We in County Durham are to see our County Council turned into a unitary authority. Never mind that this is insane. Never mind that every measure of public opinion has found it to be massively unpopular. Never mind that members of this new authority intend to pay themselves twenty thousand pounds per annum plus expenses, merely for the fact of being on it. Never mind that the current Deputy Leader of the County Council is a District Council employee, and so will be ineligible for election to this new authority, just as will be those District Councillors who are teachers, and so forth. Never mind, even, that extremely few sitting County Councillors are going to be selected as Labour candidates for election to this new authority.

Oh, no. That's just that, then.

Massive privatisation of housing, revenues, benefits, environmental services, and much else besides, here we come. Plus, of course, the regional assembly, roundly rejected in a referendum, but without which there is absolutely no point to any of this.


  1. does that mean we have a categorical assurance you will never seek election to such an institution? even for 20k a year? thank the lordy!

  2. Oh, I might. Although I probably won't, because there'll be no shortage of very good candidates for the one seat covering Lanchester, Burnhope and Castleside, our only Councillor above Parish level. How stupid is that?

  3. Just as a matter of fact - all 8 local authorities will be scrapped and replaced with a single council.

    The CC is not becoming the unitary.

  4. It is in all but name. In fact, it is IN name: the new authority will be called Durham County Council, and it will be based at County Hall (where there isn't the space, so look out for massive privatisations and job cuts).

    And the wards will be the current County wards, including, as one among numerous examples of the lunacy of all of this, precisely one Councillor above Parish level for all of Lanchester, Burnhope and Castleside. Again, there simply isn't room in the Chamber mfor any more.

    Perhaps worth considering si that Durham itself will now be a City without a City Council. Perhaps the un-Parished wards will be given an authority with the nmae, but it will only be a Town Council in terms of powers. Similar things apply to Consett, Chester-le-Street and elsewhere.

    Madness. Utter, utter, utter madness.

  5. you're not very clued up are you? The Durham County Council bid clearly states there will be 2 councillors for each County Division until the boundaries are redrawn. Perhaps you really should do some researching before you open forth with your opinions.

  6. If I'm not, then nor are a lot of other people...

    Or, to put it another way, no one seriously expects this to happen.

    And even if it did:

    a) When, pray, is this redrawing going to take place?;

    b) On recent form, we may reasonably expect it to pay absolutely no attention to any views expressed within County Durham; and

    c) Even two is a significant reduction on the six that we in Lanchester, Burnhope and Catleside have at present.

    If Somerset can keep two-tier local government because that's what people want, then why can't we?

  7. the Boundary Commission would re-draw the divisions in the first term of office. So that the 2 member wards would go down to 1 member smaller wards at the second election. The wards would have electorates roughly comparable to other unitary authorities so no problem there. And of course you're going to get suped-up Parish Council and ward committees, even closer to the no problems there.

  8. Believe any of that when you see it. And you can probably guess who are saying exactly that very loudly indeed...

    I don't see why we couldn't have had "suped-up" Parish Councils anyway. In fact, some of us were alraedy working on that through the Quality Parish Council scheme.

    There is still, among numerous other things, the problem of just how many people, in an area of high municipal employment (not least of the middle class), will be ineligible for election to a unitary authority. As I say, among numerous other things.

    Still, I'll be able to amuse myself with all the stories that will reach me about the blood-letting within the Labour Party. I wouldn't be surprised if it were literal.

    In fact, I'd be surprised if it weren't. People who retired early to do this sort of thing are not going to give up great chunks of their incomes without one hell of a fight, quite possibly hand to hand in certain wards.