Ah, Election Time in Wisbech.
That wonderful period where the Opposition call people lots of names and say mean things about them and then complain about name-calling and mean things being said, while the local newspaper editor laments at the “bile” he perceives and ignores the “bile” from his mates. Nothing changes.
I try to ignore the White Noise, primarily because I don’t much care what propaganda their cabal puts out to their thirty-five Twitter followers, or whatever. But every once in a while something interesting is said that makes my (virtual) ears prick up.
There’s this, for instance:
This is such a strange comment, since it appears to be suggesting that some or all Members of the Fenland District Council Overview & Scrutiny have “no expertise” to bring to that Committee.
Weird on several counts. But first you need to understand what an Overview & Scrutiny Committee does. The Committee’s job is to look at existing Policy to make sure it is working well, to suggest improvements and the like (the Scrutiny part.) Also to look at forthcoming Policy to suggest potential issues, problems and improvements (the Overview part.) At Fenland there is only one O&S Committee, which covers all the Council business. Therefore the Committee needs to have a good spread of different knowledge and experience in order to properly do it’s job. There is no requirement for “expertise” – this is provided by Officers. Expertise is useful in some instances, but the point of O&S is to get all different people to look at items in order to get a diverse set of viewpoints and opinions.
So which of the Members of Overview & Scrutiny is it that Virginia Bucknor is suggesting don’t have “expertise” to be on a Committee covering all the business the Council does? The only Member of the Committee whose background she is really qualified to speak on is her own – so is she saying she doesn’t have the expertise to be on it? If so, why not just resign from it? I think she’d be doing herself a disservice, since she surely has some useful experience to offer?
For my part, I have experience in all sorts of elements of what the Council does through my professional career in various areas. I’ve also Chaired O&S Committees at the highest level of local government on multiple occasions. But even if I had not – like every Councillor that is elected I’d still have something to add. That’s why Overview & Scrutiny has diverse Members on the Committee. To make sure that experience and knowledge from all walks of life are included, to make the most of wisdom and intelligence of all sorts of different people coming at issues from all sorts of different angles.
What this shows, in my view, is a standard technocratic approach. Some folks think that only their experience and input is of value and that anything anybody else says must fall before the power of their experience. Even if they are as immensely clever as they think they are, this still displays a profound arrogance. It is just as well that Overview & Scrutiny has a mix of people on its Committee because there are a mix of people in the world and a wide spread of opinions and viewpoints is worth more than a narrow band of so-called “expertise.”
I asked for the Chairman of FDC’s O&S Committee’s comments, after showing the tweet to her. This is what Cllr Jan French said:
This individual needs to remember that O/S this year carried out more reviews than any FDC committee ever. I also supported a call in for her. I also put extra Indies on the committee after she made the point that they “could not call anything in without Tory support.”
It appears from this comment that Virginia Bucknor, who is so keen to claim support for the democratic will of the people, has demanded a greater representation for her “Independent Group” than was merited by election results. Curious.