Stuck in the past

While David Cameron was knocking Brown for six at PMQs, we in the London Assembly were debating the 2009/10 Mayoral budget.

I won’t go through all the details because my friend and colleague Roger Evans has done a better job than I would have and done it quicker. You can read his match report here.

A number of things struck me, firstly the failure of the Lib Dems or Labour to put forward an alternative budget. An alternative budget is the main tool used to hold the Mayor’s budget to account, showing the Mayor and others how you think things be done differently. It takes time and requires line by line scrutiny of the Mayor proposed budget, that’s the point.

The Greens did this and presented a budget which recommended an increase in the council tax precept, as Sir Humphrey would have said “very courageous”. Labour and the Lib Dems put forward a short list of uncosted add-ons to the Mayoral budget, 5 minutes work at the most.

Why is this important? Because scrutinising the Mayor’s budget is the single most important job that the Assembly does, if you are not willing to do that there is little point being there.

The second thing that I noticed was how deeply stuck in the past the, so called, progressive parties are. Their main criticism was that Boris wasn’t doing what Livingstone said he was going to do. Funny that.

To be honest, I was more than a little disappointed by the budget debate. Knowing that would lose the final budget vote on the 11th of Feb, most of the opposition parties just didn’t bother to put the work in. I’m sure they have got their sound bites and press releases ready but I thought politics was about more than just that.

20 responses to “Stuck in the past

  1. Dear James,Thank you for this report. Good on the Greens for taking their work seriously.Do you know if the budget figures are available in a spreadsheet, or some other computer-friendly manner? At the moment as far as I can tell, the budget is a large PDF file – which makes it rather difficult to analyze.All the best.

  2. Dear James,Thank you for this report. Good on the Greens for taking their work seriously.Do you know if the budget figures are available in a spreadsheet, or some other computer-friendly manner? At the moment as far as I can tell, the budget is a large PDF file – which makes it rather difficult to analyze.All the best.

  3. James,What did you make of Brian Colemans comments about the costs of Boris’s ambassadors? I see from the article in the guardian that you do this for free – well done – I also see that Coleman’s got himself another £7,500 odd for his role as chair of the fire authority.< HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/28/boris-london" REL="nofollow">http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/28/boris-london<>I’ve given my take on it in< HREF="http://barneteye.blogspot.com/" REL="nofollow">http://barneteye.blogspot.com<>

  4. James,What did you make of Brian Colemans comments about the costs of Boris’s ambassadors? I see from the article in the guardian that you do this for free – well done – I also see that Coleman’s got himself another £7,500 odd for his role as chair of the fire authority.< HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/28/boris-london" REL="nofollow">http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jan/28/boris-london<>I’ve given my take on it in< HREF="http://barneteye.blogspot.com/" REL="nofollow">http://barneteye.blogspot.com<>

  5. James,I was intrigued to read that a certain rather odious member of the GLA from a party I’d rather give no coverage to gave a “lengthy and aggressive rant”. Was it about the usual nonsense we’ve come to expect from said individual or do they have new subjects of Ire. Just interested to know the general direction of their current campaign as it helps me spot their planted comments on news websites (not that they are usually too hard to spot). Is said individual as useless as we all expected?

  6. James,I was intrigued to read that a certain rather odious member of the GLA from a party I’d rather give no coverage to gave a “lengthy and aggressive rant”. Was it about the usual nonsense we’ve come to expect from said individual or do they have new subjects of Ire. Just interested to know the general direction of their current campaign as it helps me spot their planted comments on news websites (not that they are usually too hard to spot). Is said individual as useless as we all expected?

  7. Ken didn’t win 😦 blub blub blub You’re all horrid Tories blub blub blub snivvel But we agree with your budget basically, whatever. We’ll win again because we once read Marx. We know the mind of the volk and stuff. So we don’t have to be a responsible opposition. This is just a brief interlude in the socialist revolution. You say we’re complacent! Well yeah you’re right. We’re totally self serving, blinkered and unconstructive.

  8. Ken didn’t win 😦 blub blub blub You’re all horrid Tories blub blub blub snivvel But we agree with your budget basically, whatever. We’ll win again because we once read Marx. We know the mind of the volk and stuff. So we don’t have to be a responsible opposition. This is just a brief interlude in the socialist revolution. You say we’re complacent! Well yeah you’re right. We’re totally self serving, blinkered and unconstructive.

  9. Mmmm, I think the Labour Party and the Labour-lite Party (Lib Dems or whatever they’re called these days) are resigned to the fact that their time is up and the blue revolution’s in full swing.Keep up the good work Boris – you too James.

  10. Mmmm, I think the Labour Party and the Labour-lite Party (Lib Dems or whatever they’re called these days) are resigned to the fact that their time is up and the blue revolution’s in full swing.Keep up the good work Boris – you too James.

  11. Excalibur,You may well think that. Some of us disagree.I’d suggest that if you really believe it, you put your feet up, relax and wait for the win.If however we still see a relentless barrage of comments continue, we’ll know that you were just trying it on !

  12. Excalibur,You may well think that. Some of us disagree.I’d suggest that if you really believe it, you put your feet up, relax and wait for the win.If however we still see a relentless barrage of comments continue, we’ll know that you were just trying it on !

  13. Can you quickly remind us when was the last time the Conservative Councillors on Lewisham Council proposed an amendment to the budget? Could it be sometime back in the 1980s? You say one thing at City Hall, but seem to have little understanding as to what happens in your own borough that you live in.

  14. Can you quickly remind us when was the last time the Conservative Councillors on Lewisham Council proposed an amendment to the budget? Could it be sometime back in the 1980s? You say one thing at City Hall, but seem to have little understanding as to what happens in your own borough that you live in.

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