The Stadium Decision a Few Days On
It has been a few days since the vote ‘to look into the possibility of some kind of funding’ was thrown-out out by Cornwall Council’s whole council meeting. As you would imagine the emotive subject of a stadium has intensified, with both sides of the argument defending their positions.
The decision has already attracted the attention of the Broadsheets, with all of it being (so far) negative. To date only one member of the public has come up to me to say the council made the right decision. Everyone else has said it was the wrong decision and what was the council thinking. This might not be 100 percent accurate, but it does give an indication on the feeling.
Many of the social media sites, including Facebook, twitter and other blogging sites have been expressing their feelings on this issue. Most that I have found have been very critical on the way the vote went. Emotions are high, and will more than likely stay that way until Cornwall Council’s Cabinet discuss, or give a clear indication to the next steps.
It is probably the first time since being involved in Local Government that Councillors have thrown something out, without asking for more basic information. Usually, Councillors will say ‘we need more information before we make our decision.’ However, this time it was just kicked-out. I find this most strange. Even many of the most ardent critics of public money being used voted in favour of the proposals because they felt only then they could make a decision with all the required information.
The ‘reply all’ emails have already started to bounce back among Councillors. Most of these are expressing the view of the council should have at least look into the funding, and not just boot it out. My gut instinct is the Cabinet is more than likely to press on with the proposal under their own powers. Those in the pro-camp would most definitely welcome this, but there is a note of caution.
This caution is even though many do not agree to the way the vote ended, it was a democratic vote. If Cabinet just goes ahead with the request and agree to help fund the project it is wrong because it would undermine democracy. It would be far more sensible to use the democratic process, and not just ignore a vote because you did not like it, or agree with it.
There are other more sensible ways of doing this. The Cabinet could agree to look into the various options of co-funding, being a partner, or owning the lot. This could then be brought back to the full council for a decision under the six month rule. This rule allows an already previously discussed item to be re-heard if at least 20 Councillors write a letter asking for this to come back. At least then, any decision would be made on fact and with due democratic process. Then the Cabinet could agree to the funding knowing it has the backing of the majority of the council. Of course it might not get that, but nevertheless must respect that decision.
The democratic system is there for a reason. It should never be circumvented just because a decision was made you might not like. If we do ignore the process, we undermine democracy. Then what are we left with?