Five of the eight Cabinet Members were in attendance and it developed into an interesting affair.
It started off on the wrong foot in my view when Councillor Sir Albert Bore was challenged by protestors at the beginning by his response, that “this is my meeting”, I thought it was a public meeting with two way dialogue.
He focussed in his presentation on where the City was placing extra funds, and less on where the £88m were being made, maybe because we were given the paperwork upon entry.
I found it interesting about the emphasis placed upon volunteering in order to keep Community Services going despite there being a lot of people doing things in this City and not being paid. Indeed some weeks I do some 70 hours.
A lot was made of new swimming pools and leisure facilities, which are to be built and handed over to the private sector to rum at no cost to the City, with provision being made by Passport to Leisure holders, despite being challenged as to why the City could not run them I found the whole experience a white flag process and indeed a potential tick box exercise.
I notice after starting at 6pm by 7pm, with questions being taken in 3’s the second lot of three questions had been asked in a room of over 100 people.
When I pointed out that we need to move quicker in order for everyone to have an opportunity to ask their question Sir Albert told me to sit down, at which point I responded ‘How dare you’.
Who do our City Leader’s serve themselves or the People of this City that will be suffering even more.
My view which I made is simple, we expect strong leadership from the Leadership, my mother was a former Aston Branch Labour Party Chairperson and I think it’s a sorry state of affairs to see the lack of fight.
I stated ‘I expect this Council to stick two fingers up to Cameron and get the people of this City to get behind them and protest, however, we seem to be in a compliant white flag mode.’
Deputy Leader Ian ward made an assurance that this is not a tick box exercise and all changes will be published.
I did point out that the City needs to be seeking to raise funds such as with the new leisure facilities not only should they be run at no cost to the City, but, also on a profit sharing basis.
Sir Albert advised the meeting that this is in operation already, so why not mention it before?
My view May 2014 Local Elections will be here shortly and we need to work to increase turnout and voter registration in order to send a clear message that we need strong leaders that will fight for the people of this City.
I must point out that Councillor John Cotton did show some real fire when he spoke.
We the people deserve better, we face more suicides, mental health issues, an increase in poverty, health inequalities and reliance on food banks, more strain and the failing Children Services and greater education Issues linked to poverty, alongside Housing and Homelessness issues, just for starters.
Our Councillors are there to represent us and that include the Leader and cabinet Members, demand that they be transparent and accountable to us and importantly make sure your vote counts, because that the only language some Politicians understand.
Your future is in your hands; prepare to make your voice be heard.