Last night's budget setting meeting turned out to be a less charged event than last year. Cllr Ann John gave the best speech, and (I thought) Cllr Suresh Kansagra the worst. I was on the Planning Committe with Suresh for some time, but I am afraid he let his party down last night.
Cllr Paul Lorber attempted to make a number of specious amendments. Part of his argument depended on taking money from ward working, which we instead voted to increase as a budget. I suspect Cllr Lorber's long standing dislike of ward working is contrary to the position of many of his colleagues. Nonetheless, they voted for his proposals. He also made yet another proposal on libraries. Both these subjects probably deserve their own post.
I was struck at how demoralised both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats seemed to be. Cllr James Allie, the Liberal Democrat who chairs the Budget Scrutiny panel, chose not to attend and did not offer apologies. This despite him having a specific slot in the budget debate. One would have thought he might at least have arranged someone else to speak on his behalf. However, even some of the normally vocal Liberal Democrat councillors who did make it to the meeting chose not to speak. They seem really to have had the stuffing knocked out of them.