Back to work we go

So Christmas is over, the New Year has begun and for many today is the first day back at work, picking up on those things we parked as we rushed towards the festivities. Just before we finished at the County Council we were busy working on the budget plans, not so much about this coming year’s budget, but its place in the savings programme we have to make over the next 4 years, reflecting on the survey work and round of recent public meetings thinking about what People are telling Suffolk County Council in what is our biggest ever Budget conversation.

Then just as we drew to a close we had one of the more interesting Full Council meetings I can remember and as others have reported it had something of an end of term feel about it where beyond agreement on a couple of very sensible motions about our responsibility to our Armed Forces and eventual agreement over the need to press for a third crossing in Lowestoft. The pantomime for the day was provided by UKIP. Whatever else is happening in other Councils, at Suffolk County Council it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the speech by UKIP Councillor Julian Flood surprised just about everyone in the room.

The motion called on the council to support Ed Miliband’s energy price freeze, but the speech? Oh the speech!. Proposing the motion, Cllr Flood decided not to speak at all about the price freeze, instead launching a technical explanation on how the difference in altitude affects the temperature. Apparently Suffolk’s contribution to global warming is about 7.5 inches, or the height of a Chihuahua. Cllr Flood introduced us to Suffolkella and the Chihuahua of Doom, describing Suffolk’s ‘The Greenest County’ as a policy that, in his opinion is somewhat floored.

Now I am from time to time, not averse to a bit of pantomime in the Council Chamber and actually think it adds to the quality of debate, albeit I know not everyone agrees with this. But at the same time I do try to make sure that I understand a motion, comment or question and look for what is behind it rather than just it political football merit. Whilst I struggled with Cllr. Flood’s thrust I did take on board the comment of his seconder who got into the link between higher fuel bills, green taxes making them higher and a link to winter deaths. So when I spoke, I did so about the very real and serious issue facing some of Suffolk’s more vulnerable residents as they faced tough choices about food or fuel and that this is essentially extremely dangerous for older people, as hyperthermia creeps up on people who do not realise how dangerous it can be, so even in the mist of the bizarre debate we did discuss serious issues affecting our residents.

The motion was rightly lost both on Cllr. Flood’s speech’s direction of travel and on a more fundamental issue of Labour’s ill-conceived price freeze.

What followed was bound to be an anti-climax and as the day drew to a close we all wished each other a Merry Christmas and departed. The following day the Cabinet met with Suffolk MPs spending time talking and working with Suffolk’s MPs about our Budget Strategy and on what we are doing with the Raising the Bar programme to help Suffolk Schools make the improvement we all want to see in the education of the Children of the County.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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