The trouble with “regime change” is that it strips away organisational memory, and so entrenches the power of those that survive the cull. So it is with the Rotherham Labour Group.
There are no elections in Rotherham this year, but I’ll wager that the Labour Group will still hold the yearly pantomime they call their Annual General Meeting in the next few weeks, and that the inner circle will be busy garnering support for their stooges by whispering promises of greatness into the ears of the ambitious and naïve.
I’ve heard that the smart money is on Councillor Alan Buckley being elected Deputy Mayor, and if this is the case, he will in due course become Rotherham’s first citizen. Bland, inoffensive Buckley who sits quietly in the Chamber, blending into the background, waiting for time to pass. My guess is that most people won’t have even heard of him. Except perhaps for those who keep tabs on the Fire Authority shenanigans.
But rumours suggest that the passage of time is important for Buckley. Many things can be lost in its mists you see. Perhaps that’s why he decided to withdraw from the mayoral beauty pageant a couple of years ago? Maybe the time wasn’t quite right?
But despite the passage of time, some people do still remember that bland Buckley was the Labour Group’s Chief Whip during the final years of Roger Stone’s leadership. And that he was therefore responsible for enforcing Labour Group ‘discipline’ in those dark days. So it is in the public interest that those who will elect the new Deputy Mayor know precisely what kind of discipline was enforced, and for what reason.
Maybe Andrew Norfolk could enlighten them by reprising his piece in The Times (‘Councillor who stifled talks on child abuse faces inquiry’, February 6th2015), to include some detail about the part Chief Whip Buckley played in the matter?
Now, the Casey report saw all of those who pulled bland Buckley’s strings look, duck and vanish into thin air, and the passage of time saw off most of those who in one way or another aided and abetted him in his dirty work. Although Rose McNeeley is still there, still courting popularity by passing round the sack of sweeties in meetings. Though I’ve heard that Rose’s handlers encourage her to take up activities that fully reflect her competencies and expertise these days: Such as litter picking on Wellgate.
But the passage of time does not diminish the magnitude of past events, and should not be used by Buckley, or others for that matter, to keep their roles in attempting to silence debate about child abuse in Rotherham under cover. Perhaps bland Buckley should quietly apologise for presenting himself as a fit and proper person to be Rotherham’s first citizen, and put his name down for an allotment instead. Because the time is right. Isn’t it Alan?
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More of Andrew Norfolk’s excellent work today: