This is how the OFFICIAL minutes of the full Lambeth council meeting held on October 10th are reporting a supplementary question from Cllr Becca Thackray (Green) on the council’s Culture 2020 plans:
9. Cllr Becca Thackray to the Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, Cllr Sonia Winifred
It was requested that the Labour Group admit long-held plans to gut libraries.
Supplementary answer by Cllr Sonia Winifred
Labour were immensely proud to still have 10 libraries and 10 community ones in the future, which would help wellbeing and the culture programme. Library services had been changed so that they were operationally sustainable, whilst allowing savings and providing a service for 1.5m visitors.
THE ACTUAL SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION CLLR THACKRAY ASKED WAS THIS:
Thank you to the Cabinet member, Cllr Sonia Winifred. You said in your answer that a decision on libraries was down to cuts from central government. Will you admit that it was your long held plan to dismember the Carnegie and other library services and will you now seek the help of others who have the local knowledge, imagination and business that the Cabinet lacks?
CLLR WINIFRED’S REPLY – AS RECORDED BY NEWS FROM CRYSTAL PALACE – WAS AS FOLLOWS:
Sonia Winifred: “No. “I’m immensely proud we still have 10 libraries.
“There are no plans to withdraw the Culture 2020 programme. “We’ve changed the way we operate to make them more sustainable. “I don’t accept our library service is suffering. “Over 1.5 million people visit Lambeth’s libraries each year, 490,000 books loaned each year. “I’m proud the council has invested in the new library in West Norwood library.
“We do work with the community. “We continue to work with the community. “We run a library service with the support of the community.”
OPINION: COUNCIL OFFICERS EVERYWHERE SHOULD BE POLITICALLY IMPARTIAL – EVEN THE SPIN MERCHANTS
It will only be a matter of time before some Lambeth Labour activist latches on to these “official” minutes and puts a post on Lambeth Labour party Twitter accusing the Green party of whatever spin they choose to put on it (and ignoring the issues surrounding Carnegie and SOME other libraries in the process).
News From Crystal Palace takes the view that council officers – anywhere – should be politically impartial. If the manner in which these council minutes are being recorded was deliberate ANY council officer responsible for this dangerous nonsense should be suspended at once and face a formal disciplinary hearing. (If it was just shoddy work, they should be given a rollicking).
If they were acting under the instructions of a politician – or politicians – then any politician involved should be suspended by their local Labour ward party. Immediately.
At the full council meeting on July 18th Cllr Tim Briggs (Con) put forward an amendment to the minutes – an amendment to something he had said. As council minutes indicate:
Cllr Tim Briggs proposed the following amendments relating to Minute 9 (Constitution 2018-19):
‘Councillor Tim Briggs (Conservative) said the proposed change to the overview and scrutiny call-in mechanism, raising the threshold from one to five members, was misguided and unreasonable. With only six Opposition councillors in place, the new threshold would prevent residents from voicing their concerns, through opposition councillors, on policies that affected their lives. Failure to allow residents to voice their concerns over contentious issues could lead to discontent in the community. (Italics as recorded in minutes, News From Crystal Palace has put them into bold type – Ed.)
Councillor Briggs listed the issues that had been considered at previous call-in meetings which he said would not have happened if the proposed arrangements had been in place. The administration had a responsibility to allow thorough public scrutiny of their policies’.
As News From Crystal Palace has previously reported, at least one council report was ‘vetted’ prior to being issued.
That was back in March and involved an annual council report on procurement being “vetted” by Lambeth council’s so-called ‘communications’ team before it appeared on the official council website.
Cllr Tim Briggs asked why – and was told it was for “clarity and readability”. Cllr Briggs responded: “I wish the job of policy and communications was simply to clarify – but I’m sceptical on that.” (News From Crystal Palace March 22 2018)
Are council minutes now being ‘vetted’ as well?. It’s a question which needs to be asked in the Lambeth corridors of power.
If people reading this living in the boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lewisham and Southwark think that is over the top – it’s not.
Prior to the council’s elections in May this year there was a joint hustings meeting in Dulwich involving the Herne Hill ward of Lambeth and the Village ward of Southwark. News From Crystal Palace understands that people living on the Southwark side of Herne Hill Road – the dividing line between the two boroughs for that area – sat there open-mouthed at the meeting as they heard what has been going on in Lambeth.
News From Crystal Palace – along with other news website Brixton Buzz and SE1 News – has reported much of the Lambeth shenanigans over the past few years. Sadly, national newspapers and national broadcasters continue to ignore most of what is going on in the borough.