From: Mike Johnston <Mike.Johnston@westberks.gov.uk>
To: Anthony Pick <Anthony.Pick@westberks.gov.uk>; Jason Braidwood
Sent: Thursday, 31 January 2019, 22:15:39 GMT
Subject: RE: LRIE
Antony has given you the facts of the case, but obviously the other angle is political and whether delaying the Overview and Scrutiny Commission meeting until after May was appropriate.
In my opinion, the political damage has been done through the judgement despite the fact that the damages awarded was only £1. Scrutiny and further analysis is unlikely to make much more negative impact politically. We are therefore not trying to hide from scrutiny before elections.
What we do hope is that lessons can be learnt from the scrutiny investigation, which is more likely to be achieved post-election, with less pressure on time and political desire to make points to attack or defend the reputation of the Conservative administration.
Regarding, this year’s elections. I won’t be standing as I moved into Vale of White Horse district just over a year ago as it worked better for my son’s school and commuting. I will however be standing for the Vale of White Horse and campaigning to retain a Conservative administration.
I totally appreciate that at this time, national politics are complex and it would seem our parliamentary colleagues are unable to agree the way forward on Brexit. Brexit is something that crosses party lines and I believe that most politicians are trying to do what they think is best for the country and in line with what the country voted for, although some I fear are doing everything they can to get a Communist installed in No 10, irrespective of what is best for the country. I hope that the EU can accept that the Withdrawal Agreement is not acceptable to our politicians and that they must give ground to get the best for both EU and British citizens. However, I fear that their current stance seems not to recognise the democratic expression of British people and parliament, which reinforces why many voted to leave. Regardless of the national politics and your views on Brexit, local Governance goes on delivering services for the community.
The Conservative administration has managed to maintain good quality services with an ever decreasing budget from central government, while keeping council tax low. We took the decision to reduce the number of Councillors from 52 to 43 to bring us into line with similar councils, this enabled us to cut costs and not services. The record shows that the conservative administration has been more efficient in managing services and finances than the previous Lib Dem administrations and I hope you will reflect on the balance of the issues in West Berkshire while making your decision this year.
I am confident that a Conservative Administration is best for West Berkshire (and Vale of White Horse) and I hope that you will support the Conservative Councillors in the new ward. Thank you for all of your help over my time as a St Johns Councillor.
Councillor, St John’s Ward
West Berkshire Council