Thursday, May 17, 2007
We feel that it's in the best interests of the local people who elected us that we take each issue that comes up on a case by case basis – that’s why we didn’t enter into any arrangement or coalition with either of the other parties.
We didn’t stand in the way of the largest party on the Council -as voted by the people of Bury - taking the lead on the Council this year. So the Conservative’s are now the ruling group in Bury, for the first time in 21 years. They are the largest party in Council, with 23 seats to Labour’s 20.
We aren’t in coalition with either of the other two parties, and with 8 Lib Dems now on the council, we'll be making the most of the increased influence of the Lib Dem Team to stand up for sensible policies on issues like the environment, crime and defending good local services.
Yesterday’s Annual Council meeting also saw the Liberal Democrats appointed to two positions on the influential Greater ManchesterPassenger Transport Authority. As Bury’s representatives on this body, we'll make sure the voice of Bury is heard loud and clear in demanding good public transport services like improved Metrolink and sensible local bus services. During the campaign, these issues were of great interest to lots of people, and as one of the two Lib Dems chosen to sit on the Authority I give my word that we’ll strive to improve transport provision across Greater Manchester for everyone.
Yesterday was of course my first Council meeting – my first exposure to the debates, and the cat-calls and petty insults that occasionally fly across the chamber. Hopefully we can concentrate more on the substance and less on the squabbling in the year to come. And in addition, I am investigating the possibility of changing my name – yesterday’s big vote on the council leadership proposals was a “named” vote, where all Councillors indicate their voting preference out loud when called by name, alphabetically. I am the first Lib Dem to be called on because I am a “B,” and thus had to be the first to abstain! All of which made an already nerve-wracking occasion even worse! So I may pop down to the registry office and insert a silent “X” in front of Baum for next time…
My thanks to the outgoing Mayor Cllr Jack Walton for advising new Councillors “especially those whose surnames begin with A or B” to consult their group whips before the vote! And also my congratulations and best wishes to the new Mayor, Cllr Farook Chaudry, who was elected yesterday and who will be the first citizen of the Borough of Bury for 2007-8. I wish him and his family a successful year.