On Wednesday night was the full council meeting at the Corn Exchange and from the outset it promised to be a classic.
Councillor questions was good this month. The first question was asked by Conservative Party activist, James Harding. It was about the photography expedition created by somebody taking photo’s while going around Ipswich on buses. James asked about how much positive feed back the council had got from it.
Politburo holder for culture, Bryony Rudkin claimed that the feedback was good. Then Mr Harding asked if the seven grand would have been better spent taking photo’s of historic, buildings, churches, the mansion, the waterfront and the Buttermarket, rather than pictures of random houses, people counting change at bus stop’s and of a lady looking windswept. After this, the Treasure of Bridge praised the photographer, basically claiming that it was a good way to waste council tax payers money.
The next question was by Ipswich Labour’s Favourite Blogger to Politburo holder for transport, Phil Smart. it was,
“It is good that this council stepped in to keep the shuttle bus going but in light of the amount of people who use it, do you think that a Double Decker is really necessary?”
Councillor Smart then informed us that Ipswich Buses have the contract and that having a double decker is more cost effective for them. His answer also answered Ipswich Labour’s Favourite Blogger’s supplementary question so the author of East Anglia’s Premier Political Blog, acknowledged that his question had been answered.
Ipswich Labour’s Favourite Blogger also asked another question to councillor Smart. It was,
“As a way to improve the town centre would this administration do something about areas with a lack of street lighting like Tower Churchyard, Oak Lane, Smart Street and Shire Hall Yard?”
Councillor Smart then informed us about the fact that most lighting is the responsibility of the county council, but some is the responsibility of the borough council. He mentioned that there was no lighting in Shire hall Yard and said there was in Tower Churchyard and Oak Lane.
As his supplementary question, Ipswich labour’s Favourite Blogger said
Would this administration be willing to discuss this matter with relevant County Councillors after establishing the likely funding required?
Also in regard to lighting in Tower Church Yard and Oak Lane there is just one on the corner of Oak Lane and Tower Church Yard. Do you think that is sufficient? I don’t.
Councillor Smart then said that he would mention that a question has been asked when he next speaks to the portfolio holder.
The next question was also to Phil Smart and was asked by
Saint Margeret’s Ward Residents Association Lib Dem councillor, Inga Lockington about Jubilee Park. Councillor Smart gave a detailed answer that was to complicated to remember and at this point my pen had unfortunately ran out of ink. Saint Margeret’s Ward Residents Association Lib Dem councillor, Inga Lockington also asked a question about a beer tent being put up near a children’s play area. There was also a question by Saint Margeret’s Ward Residents Association Lib Dem councillor, Oliver Holmes about the car park and the Drum and Monkey to Politburo General Secretary, David Ellesmere. For some bizarre reason, Captian Mainwaring blamed the County Council.
After this, a very interesting question was asked by Conservative Councillor, Richard Pope to Councillor for Labour, Sophie Meudec. It was,
What is the definition of ‘protocol’?
Councillor Meudec said that it depends what you mean and gave the dictionary definition.
The official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.
As his supplementary question Councillor Pope asked,
“If that is the dictionary definition then how could you say that protocol for Area Committees doesn’t need to be followed because protocol is not rules but guidelines?
To which councillor Meudec responded,
Sorry I do not understand the question.
As I know that all councillors read this blog, though my French is appalling, for councillor Meudec’s benefit, it was,
“Si c’est la définition du dictionnaire alors comment pouvez-vous dire que le protocole pour les comités de zone n’a pas besoin d’être suivi parce que le protocole n’est pas des règles mais des lignes directrices?
Conservative Councillor for Saint Margeret’s, Lee Reynolds asked a question about it being better if Labour stopped the Punch so that it would not be responded by the Judy. which was answered by the Labour councillor he asked in a typical Punch and Judy fashion.
At this point I left to buy another pen and therefore missed a couple of agenda items that were probably boring anyway.
Item Nine was a motion put forward by Conservative Group Leader, Ian Fisher that,
This Council agrees that working together with other agencies and local authorities to find a solution to the gang-related problems, and the exploitation of vulnerable people, currently taking place on the streets of our Town will be a high priority for Ipswich Borough Council.
Councillor Fisher moved saying that young people’s lives are being ruined and that people are scared and it was about making Ipswich safe. Politburo General Secretary, David Ellesmere seconded the motion. After this
Saint Margeret’s Ward Residents Association Lib Dem councillor, Inga Lockington started waffling on in a boring manner. Then the politburo holder for public protection and author of the dRoss Blog rose a point of order saying that the council already is helping by putting up more CCTV. Conservative councillor for Holywells, George Dedman said that the community want to help and be involved.
The motion was passed unanimously.
After this, there was a motion Shelly Darwin. A number of councillors left the room due to themselves or their spouses being affected by the matter to be discussed. Some also left to go and watch the Pride of East Anglia. The motion was that,
This Council believes the Government should make fair transitional state pension arrangements for the more than four thousand Ipswich women born in the 1950s, who have unfairly borne the burden of the increase to the State Pension Age with lack of appropriate notification.
Council requests the Chief Executive write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions calling on the Government to reconsider transitional arrangements for women born in the 1950s affected by the changes to the State Pension Age.
As members of WASPI were present in the gallery, it was clear that this item was going to be interesting. WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) has been running since 2015 to try to win compensation for women born in the 1950s who lost the opportunity to get a full payment when the pension age was raised.
Shelly Darwin moved by attacking the Major Government and the Coalition government for raising the pension age for women in 1995 and 2011 and came out with lots of left wing squit. Councillor Colin Smart seconded the motion saying that the two youngest councillors were supporting WASPI out of solidarity. By this it was apparent that Ipswich Labour had planned to stitch up the Ipswich Tories through this beforehand.
Ipswich Labour’s plan to stitch up the Tories seemed to be going to plan when Conservative Councillors Fisher and Phillips spoke about the financial cost but Labour’s plan started to go pear shaped when Conservative Councillors Pope and Carnal said that they were supporting the motion in the interests of fairness and decency. Councillor Carnal supporting the motion rather than attacking Labour for wrecking our economy, clearly irritated many on the Labour benches. Then when all Conservative councillors apart from three who abstained voted for the motion, Labours plan for a stitch up was null and void.
The fact is, my generation could see our pension age go up to 80. But we are prepared for it. Ladies born in the 1950’s were not prepared for it in 1995 and 2011. Therefore though there is a question on how to fund any compensation, the situation needs to be heavily scrutinised at the least.