Friday, May 13, 2011

Farewell as Chair of the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team

It has been covered in today’s Yorkshire Post that I have been removed from the Chairmanship of the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) by the Leader of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Having received calls and messages from many people last night and today - I feel very humbled by the support offered. Interestingly, I have not heard it from anyone that I have been removed for lack of effort, hard work or commitment – and I do not believe I have been removed for any of these reasons.

I am not alone in being removed from a position of responsibility within the Council; three of my close Councillor colleagues have suffered the same fate for what appears to be similar reasons.

Most know me as a very principled Councillor, and I believe it is for standing up for those principles, particularly around the issues of early retirement for senior officers, and supporting the Conservative Party and Howdenshire residents on a number of issues not in tune with the thinking of the Leader of the Council, that I have been removed from the post.

I’m feeling quite philosophical about all this; to lose the Goole and Howdenshire LAT Chairmanship is sad, and I’m sure has nothing to do with what I have achieved, but under the circumstances was to be expected, and predictable. I’m looking forward to spending more of my time working for the residents of Howdenshire whilst still continuing with my role on the Council’s Corporate Communities Scrutiny Committee and discovering the intricacies of the Licencing 2003 Committee – to which I have been appointed.

I will of course continue to work with the new Goole and Howdenshire LAT Chair, and have already pledged my full support and offered to help in any way I can.

At the end of the day it is the Leader of the Council that has the power to appoint Councillors to Cabinet posts, Committee places, and Chairmanships – he also has the power to remove them….

I would like to thank all the partners that make up of the Goole and Howdenshire LAT, all the ward Councillors, Parish and Town Councillors, Council Officers and members of the public with whom I've worked over the past 3 years - it's been fantastic!

As a footnote, Cllr Parnaby still enjoys my support as Leader of the Council.


Anonymous said...

This is the most diabolical decision I’ve come across in recent times – well done Paul for what you’ve achieved with the LAT. You’ll be back.

Anonymous said...

I am minded to make a formal complaint to the regional level of the party about this. It seems to me to be a petty and vindictive act which is to the detriment of ERYC and the local electorate.
You have made an invaluable contribution and to lose your input is simply criminal.

Jean from Goole said...

This is madness Paul

Anonymous said...

I read this with some sadness. Howdenshire needs people who will stand up, not for themselves, but for the areas as a whole. The best person for the job should always be appointed to these positions regardless of any political affiliation. The last thing we need is a puppet, appointed by a remote figure, who does as they are told.

Paul Robinson said...

Many thanks for all your comments - needless to say almost all I am unable to publish as they're having a go at the Leader of the Council, which I want to avoid - but they have brought a smile to my face. Paul

Anonymous said...

Let's see if this is approved?
You seem to want the best of both worlds; sign up to comply with the rules of the Conservative Party and enjoy the benefits of being a candiate of the leading local political party before being democratically elected, but then want to do your "own thing" and self promotingly ignore/challenge the democratic decisions of the group to the extent of causing problems for the majority of others who do not share your beliefs.
If you were of such principle you would not have enjoyed/abused the support of the party and should have stood as an independent. There is always the option of resigning from the party?

Paul Robinson said...

Hey no problem approving your comments - just a pity you didn't have the courage to put your name to them!

I have no problems with my Conservative principles - (please let me know which aren't in your opinion) - Perhaps this is in fact the issue - my Conservative principles and loyalty to the Party are very strong. Therefore there is absolutley no reason whatsoever for me to stand as anything but a Conservative.

Wolds voter said...

Anonymous needs to remember that councillors are elected by the voters to represent them, not simply follow the party line. Whenever something as wrong as the council paying voluntarily to top up a pension pot for a senior officer who had taken an increase to stay in post but then wanted to retire early. Its OUR money being thrown about but our opinions were over-ruled. Without the party some senior councillors would have been out on their ear!

Anonymous said...

Presumably the Conservative principle that you should always give large discretionary payments to the wife of the former chief executive of your council? ...even when Conservative Shadow Cabinet members are very publicly speaking out against such pension top ups and it is spelt out categorically in national policy documents that the Conservative position is to oppose such payments.

I am extremely familiar with the rules of the Conservative Party, and I happen to know that the standard rules for council groups include a provision to allow you to defy the whip on grounds of conscience or ward interest. Which so far as I know is all you have done.

So I find "Anonymous (3:32pm)"s insinuation that you are not a Conservative and have been breaking Party rules utterly absurd.

laplumedematante said...

Who is anonymous I wonder? From his comment, it would seem he is a councillor and moreover one with nothing better to do than trolling blogs! Very sad indeed, and by the way, since when has ‘self-promotingly’ been a word?! Anyway, perhaps he would like to explain how he is the supreme arbiter and standard-bearer of Conservative policy whilst Cllr Robinson is not? His comment is so ironic, since it seems that Cllr Robinson supports and stands up for Conservative policy and beliefs, whilst it is the majority of the others who ‘do their own thing.’ Since when has it been Conservative policy to waste taxpayers’ money on massive discretionary pension payouts to senior council officers, for example? Come on, mystery Councillor, pray enlighten us!!

Andrew Allison said...

Well, well, well. The anonymous commenter is obviously a senior councillor in the Conservative group. I have an idea who it is, as I'm sure you do. Not only have you been removed from your role in Goole and Howdenshire, there seems a mood to have you 'persuaded' out of the Conservative group.

It makes me very sad. Local democracy is about councillors representing their constituents' interests to the council; not the other way around; something which 'Anonymous' should remember.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with Mr Allison. It seems the "old guard" - or should they be called "the old blaggards" - are determined not to take any notice of their constituents and simply look after themselves and their chums.

Perhaps the Conservative party should have another internal selection round. Only one question needs to be asked; "Do you believe that looking after the interests of our constituants is our no 1 priority - Yes/No." Ha ha, as if...

In the meantime we've renamed ERYC as LILO - "Lets Ignore local Opinion"

Anonymous said...

Absolutely crazy, why are you going? I'm bloomin appalled.

Paul Robinson said...

Really sorry not to be able to publish all your many comments - but I have to be very careful what I allow concerning individuals. The advice I've been given is criticising the action or the idea is fine - but not the person.

Roy said...

Paul, it happens all the time that individuals in a party disagree with the line that the party takes. To suggest that anyone who votes against the whip or contrary to the leader should resign from the party is absurd. The best examples I can give of when this sort of behaviour went on was in Stalinist Russia or the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. But in these countries you didn't get demoted, you got a bullet.

I am concerned however that it is in general not a good idea to punish people because they differ from the leader or for that matter the party on one single issue.

There are plenty of people in the Conservative Party who are of the same view as yourself, but the leader is the leader of the Council, not the leader of the local party.

Perhaps part of the problem relates to the ham fisted way that the party deselected various members and then had to reselect them all. This just compounded the problem.