by Prue Bray on 23 March, 2018
Yesterday evening was the last full council meeting of Wokingham Borough Council before the local elections. I submitted a motion about Elms Field and the town centre regeneration, criticising the Conservatives for the destruction of so many trees, and asking for them to involve residents in discussions about how the regeneration should continue from now on.
So, you will be thinking, what happened when we discussed the motion?
We didn’t discuss it.
Instead we had to sit through a very long series of speeches by Conservatives on earlier items on the agenda. A very very long series of speeches.
I will check when the film of the meeting goes up, but I believe there were about 30 such speeches, with some of the Conservatives speaking more than once. All of them telling us how wonderful everything in the Borough was, thanks to the actions of the Conservatives. It was an orgy of self-congratulation. At one stage (when a Conservative councillor asked “how many new trees are being planted to ensure that our residents will continue to believe that Wokingham is the happiest place in this country and one of the best places to live”) I found that I had to get up and bang my head against the wall of the council chamber. Not in frustration but in despair at the blinkered pomposity of it all. Local government at its worst.
The net result – and their intention right from the start – was that we reached the 10.30 pm end of meeting deadline without getting anywhere near the Elms Field motion. The Conservatives did not want to have to defend themselves on Elms Field and so they simply made sure they didn’t have to. And no doubt thought themselves very clever for doing it.
The fact that they played these sort of games has confirmed for me – if I needed it confirming – that they really don’t care what anybody else thinks, and they believe they have the right to do whatever they like. They don’t want to listen to anyone who disagrees with them, even to the point of believing that disagreeing with them should not be allowed. One of them actually said in the meeting that they expected the Lib Dems to support what they were doing, not oppose. That’s a funny idea of democracy. We do support them when we agree with what they are doing. But NOT otherwise. Why would we?
So now onwards and upwards towards the local elections on 3rd May. Who knows, with a bit of luck and a following wind, by 4th May the Conservatives might not be quite so complacent.