Thursday, February 03, 2005

Coalition fails to deliver - again

I missed this one over Christmas.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto for Birmingham in June 2004 promised:

Open, accountable, decentralized governance - The City is obsessively secretive and concentrates on keeping information about problems out of the public domain rather than acting to solve problems. This must change. If you do not recognise where you are going wrong it is impossible to get it right. It is only right that this process occur in the main in the public domain.

Six months on and things have changed so much that a Liberal Democrat councillor told the Birmingham Post that:

'Backbench councillors on the whole feel disengaged and left out. Their skills aren't being utilised. People who read The Birmingham Post will be more engaged about matters than backbench councillors and that is not a good situation to be in.'

It seems that most councillors - including some Cabinet members - were unaware that plans were afoot to scrap the plan for a new city library in Eastside in favour of adapting Baskerville House.

The deputy leader of the Tory group, Len Gregory, commented that

'there were occasions when confidentiality had to be maintained and that meant not informing everyone about matters being considered by the Cabinet.'

Perhaps he should remind the deputy Council Leader, John Hemming, about that - after all, he was criticised by the Adjudication Panel for England over leaking confidential information about land prices to the press.

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