Friday, 10 May 2013

Tinkering at Rushmoor Borough Council

Following the County elections there is no political change at Rushmoor. However, the new municipal year has heralded a few minor changes. Starting with the most interesting and working down we have:

1. Steve Smith has resigned as UKIP Group Leader and member to become an Independent for his last year on Council. This represents a 33% cut in UKIP Councillors in Rushmoor, about the same percentage as Conservatives have cut national immigration. 

2. Keith Dibble the Labour Group leader steps down due to promotion at work. Well done Keith a man who clearly has his priorities right, even if his party hasn't. He has passed the poison chalice onto Cllr Alex Crawford, who I suspect will move the opposition further left than the more moderate Blairite Cllr Dibble. So locally as well as nationally Labour are moving to the left, which many of us are extremely happy with.

3. I must and perhaps should have noted earlier that my hard working Empress colleague Cllr Gareth Lyon (our youngest Councillor) is to be the new Planning Chairman. And I think he will be fantastic in that role, which was the same major role I took on as a new Councillor, many years ago. It should also be noted that new Councillor Bruce Thomas is his vice chairman - so well done Bruce, its good to see a new Aldershot Councillor getting some responsibility. 

4. Sue Carter another new Councillor has been promoted to the Cabinet and will replace Diane Bedford, thus keeping a female touch in the 2013/14 Cabinet. Her portfolio is youth and leisure  Well done Sue.

5. Diane Bedford moves to the Deputy Mayor slot. WARNING: Just because she is a woman does not make her Deputy Mayoress - so you have been warned. Diane will be our new Deputy Mayor.

6. Adam Jackman gets moved from Planning Chairman to take the slot left by new County Councillor Choudhary - Aldershot East (well done to both). Adam's promotion means Knellwood scores the hatrick for Councillors on the cabinet, with all three Knellword Councillors with senior cabinet posts. So well done Knellwood who clearly select only the very best Councillors to represent them.

7. Finally, our new Mayor will be returned Aldershot Labour Councillor Terry Bridgeman, who has been away from Rushmoor for a few years only to come back with enough years of service to take on the role of Deputy Mayor and this year Mayor of Rushmoor. I know Terry is a very enthusiastic and dedicated deputy, and am confident he will put as much and more into his new role as Mayor. The sad part is this keeps him out of debates, as he will be the Council chairman - he does have a bit of a rottweiler reputation in debates. It's always a pleasure to debate with him, sadly we will have to wait another year before his lead is removed.  

Sadly this also brings to an end the year Peter and Norma Crerar have served as Mayor and Mayoress of Rushmoor. They have done a wonderful job and despite robbing me of the title of youngest Rushmoor Mayor, it has been a pleasure supporting them this year, and seeing them just enjoy their special year of Borough service. So well done. 

However, it is a very dramatic end to being a Mayor and Mayoress. Going from being the first citizen of the Borough all year, everyone listening to your every word, you end up chauffeured to Mayor Making at the Town Hall. Here you are publicly stripped of your robes of office and sent home on the bus. All the attention and interest focused on the new mayoral couple.

Wonderful.... so welcome Peter from the top chair in Rushmoor back to the warm and friendly back benches, where you can reminisce and use that lovely expression of many of your predecessors .... "when I was Mayor..." as you clinch your "past" mayoral medal. 

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