A point that’s being made at present at the national level is that Government ministers, who were chosen for their ability to manage Brexit and its consequences, are having to handle the impact of ‘the virus’ instead. Some ministers are ill-suited for this very different role.
A rather similar situation arises in local government. Borough councillors are elected – in principle, at least – for their ability to represent the electorate. But they find themselves on committees, and sometimes leading committees, although they may not always have the necessary skills.
Anyway, that’s how the system works, so we have to live with it.
The council meeting tonight has only a few agenda items. One of these is to choose the next mayor – a decision almost certainly already made. But, less-settled, at least in public, is the exercise of deciding the chair, vice-chair and membership of: the Planning Applications Committee, the Licensing Committee, the External Partnerships Select Committee, the Performance & Finance Scrutiny Committee, the Audit & Standards Committee and the Employment Committee. These appointments will last for the next year.
A key question is whether the leadership of these bodies will be dominated by the Conservatives (still the largest party in the council) as the result of ‘political’ manoeuvring, or whether chairs will be chosen on the basis of suitable skills and experience. We hope that it will be the latter.
(Yes, our photo is an old one of a full council meeting. Council meetings are being held on-line at the moment, so it’s more than a bit difficult to photograph them!)