One of my earlier entries appears to have caused a bit of personal annoyance and, ever one to try and be helpful, I'd like to clear up any confusion. So, here goes ...
... it was the first meeting of the Health, Social Care and Housing Committee earlier today - agenda here. In the main, I thought it was a reasonably good Committee Meeting, with no political divisions whatsoever, and a good level of questioning towards the officers present.
But, at the end of one particular report being discussed - the one entitled "Improved Policing for the City Centre" - the Committee Convener threw a bit of a wobbler and had a real go at both Gordon Munro for his letter in yesterday's local paper (here), and yours truly for my earlier blog entry (here).
Now, regular readers of the blog will know that I rarely (if ever??) actually 'name' local political opponents. Sure, I'm happy enough to be critical of their policies (where I think it justified) but I NEVER denigrate people personally and always attempt in everything I do to keep the political and the personal completely separate. Close friends and colleagues will know that's an essential skill when you're in a high-profile public role - I do understand this from real experience :-(
So, I am a little flabbergasted when the new crowd in charge appear to be taking every single, political criticism as some sort of 'slight' on their 'personal' character. What can I say, political criticism goes with the territory and they'd better get used to it as they most likely have another three and a half years of it in front of them. And, if the first five months are anything to go by, then they can expect bucket-loads of it.
Anyhow, back to the Committee Meeting - said Convener ... who I actually like as an individual ... went a bit ballistic at Gordon's letter and my blog entry accusing the Liberals of taking credit for something they didn't actually do. In essence, taking the credit for the success of the extra Police Officers in the City Centre when the money for those officers was from a previous (Labour) budget which they did not support.
In his rant, said Convener seemed to be indicating that both Gordon and I should humbly apologise for besmirching the Liberals good name because they DID support the extra monies??
Well, if I'm wrong here (and I clearly don't think I am) I will be the first to publicly apologise, but I've now looked back at the last two (just to be safe) budgets and am not currently minded to retract a single word I've already said.
- the 2006/2007 budget (set on 9th February 2006) minute is here and if you read through it you'll see that Labour's motion put in an extra 300k/500K/500K over three years for extra police officers, with 18 specifically being mentioned for the City Centre. This is not the 'Quality of Life' monies which are totally separate. The Liberals amendment didn't put that specific money in and they voted against our motion.
- the 2007/2008 budget (set on 8th February 2007) minute is here and if you read through it you'll see that Labour's motion continued the extra police funding (again specifically mentioning the extra 18 officers) with 500K/500K/500K over three years. Again, not the 'Quality of Life' monies which are totally separate. This time the Liberals amendment actually 'tried' to CUT that extra money to 400K/408K/469K and they voted against our motion.
Come on Libs ... I will offer an apology if I'm wrong, but if not then have the good grace to STOP claiming credit for things you didn't do - it diminishes not just you, but the whole political trade.
... oh, and get used to political criticism - it doesn't mean that others think you're awful people, just that they disagree with your politics.