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Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Tories and democracy

Next time you hear any Conservatives talk about clean air or road safety, please don't assume that they actually have any interest in those things - not if their latest behaviour at the London Assembly is anything to go by. As the Standard reports, the Assembly's Tory members yesterday walked out of a meeting before motions on these things could be debated, meaning that the meeting was inquorate, so no debate could take place. How is that democratic? I could understand if the Tories wanted to debate these matters, disagree with others, and then vote against the motions at the end, although I support the motions myself - that's democracy. But walking out, to prevent a debate taking place - that's just childish and deeply undemocratic. And as Caroline Pidgeon has written at Lib Dem Voice, the Tories sadly have a history of this behaviour at the London Assembly.

But then, we've seen similar shenanigans in my own London Borough of Barnet (where the Tories have sadly been elected to run the council) over the years. How often, over the years, have I seen the Tories start a Barnet council meeting by voting to alter the order in which items are listed on the pre-arranged agenda, so that opposition motions don't get debated after all? It stinks. People vote Tory on auto-pilot and then complain about how the council is run, without seeming to notice the connection: if you elect these Tories, then you get these Tories, and if you don't like what they are doing, then you should vote for somebody else.

UPDATE: My Lib Dem colleague Mark Pack has also written interestingly about this.

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