It’s a numbers game

After all the excitement and intrigue of Thursday in Ipswich and the Conservative Group Leadership AGM vote, Friday morning I picked up the local papers before heading off to spend the day at Addenbrookes with my Mum and Dad.

Addenbrookes is a world class hospital, everyone you meet is kind, friendly and seems to have time to spend but the place is vast, so there are literally hordes of people everywhere and such a mash up of a set of buildings. So as Mum was sent for this and that test etc., I settled in for the long-haul of the day ahead, in the small corner of the oncology reception with my father and to pass the time started to work my way through the local papers reporting of the previous day along with the various emails, voicemails, tweets and text messages that sort of swamp you at such moments, muttering away to my Dad as I read through, stopping only when Mum reappeared before they whisked her off for some other test.

The main Suffolk paper is the EADT and its chief political reporter Paul Geater has many sources and so when he phoned me for my comments Thursday afternoon, he clearly knew how close the result has been in the election and whilst he asked me to comment, of course I declined, in a roundabout sort of way he printed it as 3 votes. On Saturday in his Saturday diary blog Ipswich Spy was a bit blunter and printed 21:18 along with a few other interesting comments So you can imagine my surprise to read Mark Bee’s comments given to the Bury Free Press about an “overwhelming majority”, not that I am obverse to a bit of political spin here and there, all political parties do it from time to time, but that comment was a surprise.

Before the conservative group AGM on the Thursday morning I went on Radio Suffolk, as did Mark Bee and was asked by Mark Matthews how many votes I had and said at that point it was 20, then having arrived at Endeavour House and with a couple of handshakes it rose to 22 and given that the winning post was 20 and err…. my supporters and I lost, clearly a few were more undecided than indicated, which of course is hardly a surprise such is politics, such is life!

Right at the start of my challenge I said “within the group is a vast range of life experience and we are at our strongest when we debate the issues before us”, and I hold this to be true. A lot of promises were made by Mark during the campaign about listening more to the concerns of Conservative Councillors. I, like the rest of the group wait to see if they are kept, is the cabinet going to reflect the wider group views or be a space where dissention is absolutely forbidden, is the Chairman of the Group, elected unopposed at the AGM, is to be allowed to attend all the informal cabinet meeting or will he be frozen out again. Will the new promised group meetings be talking shops or where real Conservative policy, taking account of what our residents are telling us, be formulated.

Immediately after the vote Mark emailed the group and called for unity and I issued a statement saying I agreed and would not challenge for the Leadership in this Council term citing in part the ill thought-out group procedure for a leadership challenge only at an AGM, always a few weeks before a Poll day somewhere, albeit I can see why a Leader might not bother to change it. I had promised a backbencher working party to look at the group rules and at the specific question of when the group elects a leader, a point that was picked up by a number of members as something they want to see discussed.

There are big issues the County Council face and if we are to implement the right policies for Suffolk, group unity is important but equally that unity is not unconditionally given simply because you narrowly win a Leadership Challenge, it is given by listening and taking real account of occasionally differing views within the Conservative Group as we are stronger for it.

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, Park Farm Cottage, Fordham St. Genevieve, BurySt. Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TS

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