New Leader – Let the Cat fight Begin
News came late last week that Cllr Neil Burden was standing down as the ‘Independent Group’ Leader. To be honest I was quite surprised that this happened now, after all, there have been calls for him to go before from within the Group. For me personally I have never thought that the Group Leader should also be part of the administration leadership, i.e. a Cabinet Member. I have always said this from the beginning when we all got first elected to Cornwall Council. The reason comes down to which loyalty comes first, either the group, or the Cabinet. I really don’t think you can serve both roles at the same time.
Now with Neil gone he can now concentrate on his large Portfolio, Children’s, Schools and Families. This Portfolio is in my opinion one of the hardest roles to do. It covers so much and if something goes wrong it normally results in headline news. The Children’s services side is still under Government ‘review’, but has made great moves forward under some clear direction.
In the New Year, the Indi Group will meet to decide who takes over the role of chief cat herder. My fellow Cornwall Councillor Blogger, Jeremy Rowe has posted a good article (HERE) that has some kind words about me. Even on Twitter other fellow Councillors said I should throw my hat into the ring, but I think there was more of a mischievous smile behind those comments than anything else. I can state here and now that I won’t be standing for a few reasons including my struggle with the term Independent Group.
So who out of the other 30 people within the Group is likely to stand? That is in itself a good question and with no firm and clear answers. John Wood is probably the front runner since the announcement. For me, he would make a good candidate. Mike Clayton is the current Deputy Leader, so he might make a claim to the role by being de-facto Deputy. There is also Pam Lyne, Bert Biscoe and Mike Varney who might think about it, but to be honest I think they all would lack the overall support to allow them to claim the title. Another good choice would be John Pollard, but I doubt he would be willing to take on this difficult role of chief cat-herder. Then again another one of the Portfolio Holders might stand, but for me they would not have my support for the reasons I have stated before.
Graham Smith of BBC fame has also blogged about this. You can read about it by clicking HERE, but I think his view on a split Indi Group is doubtful to happen. I do worry about outside interference and certain people wanting as Jeremy makes comment on his blog, a more ‘corporate’ Leader. If this were to happen, then many within the Group are not going to take this interference well.
I guess its going to be a wait and see exercise to discover who will canvas within the Group to seek support prior to making a decision to stand. I think this has the potentional to throw up a few surprises along the way.