Only cave dwellers could have failed to notice the battles within the Tory Party in recent weeks, but talk is that an equally unedifying, if rather less meaningful squabble is taking place closer to home.
Rumour has it that discontent about the special privileges and protections allegedly afforded to Emma Hoddinott by partner Chris Read, alongside her long running, and, so it’s said, costly, review of waste services recently bubbled to the surface in the form of a debate within Labour Group about how the Leader selects Cabinet members. Just as well for Read that Cabinet members were seemingly able to vote, given the reportedly narrow margin in favour of the status quo. Because that means that Read will continue to have carte blanche to appoint whoever he chooses. Just like in the Stone Age. I’ve heard that Read and Hoddinott were out-grinning the Cheshire Cat in the days following the meeting, And well they might. For Hodds gets to keep her Special Responsibility Allowance of just shy of £13,000 for buggering about with the bins, and that bumps up the couple’s combined allowances to a rather splendid £61,448.
But Theresa May’s current predicament demonstrates the difficulty posed by restive back benchers, and Town Hall tittle tattle suggests Read might be contemplating throwing a bone to his, in the form of a Cabinet re-shuffle in the not too distant future. According to some sources, the odds are shortening on Taiba Yasseen being for the chop. Such a move would undoubtedly please those who absorbed the messages about where unchallenged political correctness can lead, but it would have the added advantage of quietly removing Hoddinott’s Cabinet rival in the unseemly tussle to be princess of community cohesion in central Rotherham.
The gossip certainly provides an interesting backdrop to the following motion from Yasseen’s Boston Castle ward to Rotherham CLP. Was this perhaps a crude attempt to undermine the Cabinet member with responsibility for community safety? Was Yasseen doing a Boris, so to speak?
The following motion has been submitted by Boston Castle Ward for consideration as an emergency motion at the CLP meeting on 12th October:
Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was agreed by Rotherham Council on 11th September 2017, which covers both the Rotherham Town Centre and Clifton Park. Specifically we are challenging the inclusion of Clifton Park as part of this Order without proper and inclusive consultation with the communities and groups that use the park.
In the implementation of the decision made by the Borough Council: it is clear that the real issues of concern is the harm that will be done by grouping responsible dog walkers at Clifton Park with those that are socially irresponsible (those who spit, urinate, misuse drugs, throw litter etc). Users, community and dog walkers of the Park are angry, disappointed and insulted by being included in this anti-social group.
Dog walkers in common with all responsible citizens of Rotherham are appalled by all anti-social behaviour in Rotherham. We want to support our Council in improving the lived social experience of all Rotherham citizens but strongly feel that including Clifton Park and specifically dog owners in this way would undermine PSPO.
One of the main concerns was the council’s use of the ‘legal minimum requirement for consultation’ (which took place in July/Aug the height of the holiday period – leaving dog walkers and users of the park totally unaware of the consultation). This under-hand action is something that will divide our communities and is what many of us would expect from the Tory Party – while expecting the Labour Party to take on board the sensibilities of the local communities and the LGA guidance about best practice when consulting during holiday periods.
Our branch feels that this Order will further jeopardise the goodwill of local people and will damage community cohesion in the town unnecessarily. This is because those with a real stake in the use of Clifton park were not adequately consulted.
We urge the CLP to support Boston Castle Labour Party branch in lobbying to ensure the following:
1. To stop the direct link between Town Centre anti-social behaviour issues; and those of Clifton Park.
2. To exclude Clifton Park from the order, for the reasons above.
If 1 and 2 cannot be supported then, we also seek:
3. After 6 months (in March ’18) seek real consultation with all stake holders of Clifton Park. One that will include all those who use Clifton Park – including dog owners.
4. To take cognisance of the outcomes of the 6 month review.
5.By-laws regarding inappropriate drinking and all anti-social behaviour would of course remain in force as there are already existing laws addressing these issues.
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