Manchester Labour’s latest assault on democracy

Manchester Labour Party has again attacked democracy.

The latest assault came at Full Council, as they hid behind an “independent” (1) panel that suggested it cut funding for the opposition members.

The reporting on this, by both Manchester Evening News and by Climate Emergency Manchester, was factually correct, but largely missed the bigger point

Manchester Labour do not want scrutiny. They will do everything they can – including reducing the cash their elected opponents get – to minimise the eyes and mouths raised against them.

If Manchester Labour were competent, this might not be the disaster it is. But the city is massively behind on its carbon emissions cuts, and the “leadership” of the council is either too idle or too stupid to do anything about that. Instead, just more blandishments, more patting selves on the back, more ritualised nothingness (it’s almost as if they are climate activists, eh?)

The reporting should have been titled “”Manchester Labour attacks democracy… again.”

Because that is what this is, regardless of what you think of John Leech and Alan Good (the Liberal Democrats) and the two achingly-silent Green councillors.

At the foot of this post is the FOIA I have submitted. But meanwhile, you’re probably thinking “what IS he going on about. Labour won the election, they can do what they like, right?”

What IS democracy?

You can look at this like Donald Trump – as a power grab where if you have the power, you twist and abuse norms to get what you want and to keep it. That is, essentially, how Manchester Labour have seen things, and seem set to continue to do.

Or you can look at democracy as more than just elections, and “formal” structures, and see it as ALSO a set of norms, customs, behaviours that allows dissident voices to be heard, so that better outcomes are reached.

This is what Manchester Labour does NOT do. See here-

That FOIA

Dear Sir/Madam,

re: so-called “Independent Remuneration Tribunal.

I am writing to request information about the recent entirely neutral and not-at-all petulant and nasty action by the Council.

Better be more specific, because that does not narrow it down.

I write concerning the  Review of Members’ Allowances presented to Full Council on 18 May 2022.  

1.3 “The members of the IRP were appointed, and requested to commence a review of MCC’s Members’ allowances scheme in September 2021. “

That is a bravura use of the passive voice – well done!

1  Who appointed the panel?  Named individual please.

2. How did he (or rather “she”) choose?  What efforts did she make to ensure that the panellists were in fact, not, ooh, party political hacks who tweeted about Stockport Labour party. For example?  Was there a long-list that was drawn up? If so, by who?  How were people – perhaps too independently-minded – winnowed out?

3. What were the terms of reference for the panel?  I am particularly interested in knowing if it was pointed out to them that Manchester is unusual among all local authorities in the UK as having – and having had had – a massive preponderance of one political party in charge.  Or if this lovely fact was ignored.

4. Did the Panellists speak to Councillor John Leech?

5. What NOTES did they make of their conversation. (please provide)

6. If they did NOT take minutes, why not?

7. Given the evidence that one of the panel members was tweeting support for Labour, will the City Solicitor be revisiting the panel’s findings? If not, why not?

8. What appeals process exists for members – or members of the public who are wearily sickened but unsurprised by this latest grotesque sham – to use?

Thanks so much in advance!!

Please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Dr Marc Hudson

What is to be done?

Oh, the usual. But not gonna happen, so no point enumerating it.

There will be more pointless meetings, and more craven fan-boi-ing of a party that has not been progressive for a very long time,, and more raging narcissists wanting eveyone to applaud them as they try to “change the system from within”. Carpe the diems. And FOIAs, obvs.

Footnotes

(1) This is one of their favourite words – allows them to wash their hands and say “we are only following suggestions.”

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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