COALITION MEETS FORMALLY AT LAST.

Taking as long as I had to find a solution to the disability access problem, the first INAUGURAL MEETING of the Official Coalition finally got under way in County Hall on 11th December. Cllr George Hardcastle as the Alliance leader took the chair whilst we resolved that Executive members were already too busy to chair this group and that whoever was nominated, the chairmanship would be rotated yearly. A paper ballot secured the role of chairman to Cllr Robin Guest and Veronica Gay was the vice chair. Out of the blue, Cllr Patrick Heesom asked if I would be the Coalition Secretary and although I muttered I never went hunting for work, the decision was forced by a show of hands. I was projected onto the top table armed with a pen and a few scrappy bits of paper on which to take the note. I wonder if my obsession for writing throughout meetings had been noted by Patrick. I confess that it was a skill I learnt years ago when judging if young officers had what it took to make them special and fast track officers. Of course, the trick is not just writing fast but to decipher what’s been written down after the event! Although the 50% attendance was welcomed, those present recognised our task was daunting. Three separate groups with somewhat different philosophies, huge problems inherited from the last Administration and a budget to set within a tight time and financial framework. We all recognised that Labour colleagues are well organised and determined to challenge every Executive decision possible. A third “Call In” that related to a schools matter has only been won by a vote a few days previously and it would have been galling if the proper decision of the Executive had been lost to a Labour whim. Even the quickest skim of the local papers will reveal there is an awful lot coming from Labour councillors. It seems that the rumour is true that the Opposition High Command has demanded front to back page coverage by all Labour colleagues. We are already taking bets on how many weeks on the trot, an Ex Flint councillor can get himself in the papers. If kissing babies does not work, his favourite wheeze is to imagine seeing flying saucers or other unidentified objects. Always get press coverage however silly it sounds! This man is definitely on a mission to be back at County Hall ASAP. Thank goodness the Coalition has some highly able and committed councillors which is just as well considering how the previous Labour really ducked all the serious issues and got so much wrong. The Coalition must work. Flintshire citizens deserve better than they have suffered over the last ten years under a Labour local government.

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