Monday, May 29, 2006


Life in Opposition

As I've mentioned before, the Liberal Democrats lost control of Winchester earlier this month. The Tories now have 29 of the 57 council seats to our 21 (plus 3 Labour and 4 Independents). We're in the process of learning a little about what life under a Conservative administration is all about.

Obviously the Tories have all the Cabinet portfolios, although they've created some strange and challenging ones! "Housing & Communities" covers a multitude of sins and I wonder whether the new Portfolio holder really appreciates what he's let himself in for.

Back in the good old days (i.e. last month) when we were still running things, we had a LibDem cabinet and opposition members, mostly Tories, chairing the various Scrutiny Panels. We also had an Independent councillor as Chair of Planning Development Control. It seems to make sense in this new age of cabinets and scrutiny for the opposition to have a significant role in the scrutiny process. Not any more! The new administration has given the Chair of Principal Scrutiny to a LibDem (as required by the Council's constitution), one other Chair to an Independent and kept the rest for themselves. I suppose scrutiny is so much nicer when it's done by your friends. Our new Cabinet seems to think so.
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