What a contrast in Councillor behaviour there was between the Council meetings of Croydon on Monday 2 and Wandsworth of Wednesday 4 December.
Croydon Councillors were unruly and noisy each side trying to drown out the other. The Mayor had difficulty keeping order. She also failed to be impartial. She allowed personal attacks on Labour Leader Tony Newman without giving him the right of reply even when that was demanded by someone in the public gallery.
While there was the usual party political point scoring the Wandsworth Councillors were well behaved and there were even some good quality speeches on both sides. The Mayor had an easy job.
The adrenalin level at Croydon’s meeting is no doubt fuelled by the fact that there is a lot at stake for both parties in the elections in May. In Wandsworth on the other hand the Tories have now been in control for over 35 years. There is no way Labour is going to win enough seats to gain control. There may be changes in seats in the Tooting area which explains why so much attention was paid to Tooting issues at the meeting.
While both sides in Croydon welcome the Westfield/Hammerson deal, they disagree over how to get maximum benefits for the residents of the Borough. There were three examples of bi-partisanship at Wandsworth. The first was on the need to review how the Council could act to give further protection from development threats to pubs valued in the community, the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of John Archer being Mayor of Battersea, and the investment in the York Gardens and Winstanley estates.
I attended the Croydon meeting in the hope of learning a little more about the sale items from the Riesco Collection. The answers to the questions submitted by members of the public and Councillors were informative on such matters as street litter (see my blog). I attended the Wandsworth meeting because of the John Archer commemoration.
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