Where is the democracy in our local government? Asks the Liberal Democrats following the first meeting of the shadow executive for the new West Northamptonshire Shadow Council as the Tories act politically to promote cronyism over competence.
"The Leader and his Executive are unelected - like all of the Shadow Council - because of election delays. Some councillors have been in post for six years. The leader of the council is unelected as leader. He has been anointed by the Tory central government. Where is the democracy for local government?" asks Liberal Democrat Councillor David Tarbun.
"The leader has been trumpeting a 'fresh approach and a bright future. But here's the truth," comments Liberal Democrat Councillor Jonathan Harris. "It's far from a fresh and bright approach - it's the same regime. To make matters worse, the cost of this exercise is 55 million pounds to put things right because the Conservatives got them so wrong."
Liberal Democrats believe that the best way to involve all sections of the community would be to create an atmosphere and system that involves every political party equally. West Northamptonshire faces a unique choice in May 2021. The groundwork for the new council, its finances and its services are being laid now.
A number of Task and Finish groups designed to shape the future of your council have been based on the current makeup of the existing councils meaning that of 50 councillors involved in the groups only 20% will not be a member of the Conservative party. This is flawed as it is based on out of date election results harking back to 2015.
Liberal Democrats would involve equal numbers of councillors across all parties and invite community interest representatives. As it stands, the majority of people deciding the future of local government and its services will be from the same party that failed to run the County Council effectively, the Conservatives.
"The council leader will tell you that everyone is 'sitting on the same side of the table'. The reality? There isn't room. 8 out of 10 of those sitting at the table are Conservative," sums up Liberal Democrat Councillor Mark Allen. "We're in for Northampton County Council Mark 2 and we know how well Mark 1 turned out."
It appears that nothing has changed from the disastrous way Northamptonshire County Council has been run for decades.