The annual bun fight between Harlow’s Labour administration and the Conservative opposition was fought out at Harlow Council’s budget setting meeting last week. The introduction of Zoom to these meetings means that for many residents this is the first time they have had an opportunity to see just what goes on at this budget setting meeting.
If ever there was any doubt for the need of an independent party, one not bound by the politics of Westminster, then watching the recording of this meeting should dispel any such doubts.
This meeting could have been concluded within an hour, Labour produced a budget, the Conservatives an alternative, votes taken, meeting concluded. Instead of this our elected representatives had to “play to the camera” by laughing at comments made, hand clapping, taking a “we know best attitude” and lacking in any sense of respect for someone having a different view to theirs.
On the one hand, as Cllr Ingall said, the Conservative’s alternative budget mirrored Labour’s to the tune of 97%, on the other hand the Conservative proposals had been checked by council officers and found to be sound. The comments made about the Conservatives at County Hall increasing their share of the council tax by a bigger percentage than that proposed by Labour at Harlow Council might remind one of the old adage that “two wrongs do not make a right”.
Without the benefit of advice from officers at Harlow Council, it is difficult to say on which side The Harlow Alliance Party would have voted if we had councillors in the council chamber. At the very least we would have tried to bring both sides together before the meeting took place to put together a budget which all councillors could agree to sign up to so that residents could be spared from having to see our elected representatives shown in such bad light.