Sunday, May 06, 2007

It's time for a coalition in Bristol

Despite some rather optimistic press releases from the Bristol Lib Dems recently about our chances of taking control of the city, we lost two seats including the executive member for social services, and already the other Lib Dem councillors have forced out the council leader, Barbara Janke. Now we're down to 31 seats out of 70, so it's time for some self-reflection. Can we really hold on as a minority administration? I don't think so, and nor should we (I think Norfolk Blogger agrees). While Labour and the Tories on Bristol City Council could team up and defeat us before the elections, they can do so more effectively now. Should we allow them to scupper our flagship policies, watering down motions and then forcing us to take the hit from how unpopular those are? If we continue running minority administrations we will continue to lose council seats each year until we aren't in charge any more, and it will be a long time until the electorate trust us again - even though the failings of the council would be engineered by the opposition.

We're in an uncomfortable place. The Tories and Labour will obviously prefer the status quo of a weakened Lib Dem administration for them to criticise for another year. The Lib Dem group should not let that happen by refusing to run a minority administration, instead going into coalition with either the Tories or Labour or letting the Tories and Labour run a coalition of their own. This would be much better for all parties and especially the residents. The Lib Dems will be the largest party on the council with the most influence, and will not have their policies destroyed by the combined Tory/Labour group and look bad because of it. Whichever group goes into coalition will be able to demonstrate what they will do with power in Bristol, and the third group will form the opposition which would actually start constructive criticism rather than dodgy dealings with the other opposition party to make the Lib Dems look bad.

Constructive criticism rather than politicking, and a stable leadership will serve the interests of Bristol's citizens much better than a weak minority administration.

1 comment:

Norfolk Blogger said...

It ain't goona happen though is it ? Some people are too wedded to the idea of actually being in control even though we have no power to exert that control.

That said, I am pleased you agree with my line on minority administrations and being more politically savvy about things like this.