Sunday – Remembrance Day
Glorious sunshine at Stretford Cenotaph. Moving Ceremony – a few problems with the sound system but that apart, Stretford did itself proud and paid its humble and sombre respect with dignity.
It was a time of unity and respect. As well as those who lost their lives in conflict, the sermon reminded us of the ongoing tragedy in the Philippines. My thoughts also tuned to my political adversary – Cllr Ken Weston who had sadly died in the week preceding week. Whilst he didn’t represent a Stretford ward, he was no stranger to Gorse Hill. I remember he exasperated the mayoral staff who accompanied him to the Gorse Hill funday by staying much longer than scheduled as Trafford’s First Citizen because he was enjoying the day.
Lostock Tenants meeting. Discussed anti social behaviour and Trafford general a+e downgrading.
Meeting of Shadow team re manifesto planning. More important this year. We’re in a position where any loss of Conservative seats could see loss of power for them. That said, Lib Dems are acting as though they’re inclined to prop the Tories up. Think the voters of Timperley and Village ; the two wards where the Lib Dems have any strength will feel betrayed if they do stick with the Tories. But Lib Dems in parliament voting for bedroom tax and Lib Dems locally voting primarily with Tories – getting to the point where their identity as a separate party is becoming an act of self denial.
At Manchester Town Hall for forum of Labour Councillors across the North West sharing best practice.
Scrutiny session in Salford for Councillors across the northwest. Presentation to deliver about Trafford’s approach to scrutiny. We’ve opted for a lightweight agile model of scrutiny, with the aim of only working in those areas where we can make a useful difference. We’re not audit and we’re not the learning resource room.
I believe the model we’ve chosen in Trafford offers the best opportunity to make a difference to delivery of services, but it’s hard work.
Late afternoon meeting of Stretford area Councillors with the Chief Executive and other senior officers over the masterplan consultation. Still a long way to go before we see any fruit. There’s still too many supposedly commercial stakeholders who will not engage in a meaningful way. I’m not sure whether the term ‘predatory capitalist’ applies to these people; it seems that the behaviour is more analogous to a form that thrives on decay.
Evening – Full Council – I moved Labour’s motion on the Robin Hood Tax. It was the greatest motion, we tweaked the version doing the rounds. Manchester passed a similar motion. I’m very much in favour of the Robin Hood Tax – it taxes financial ‘transactions’ at a notional rate. I worry slightly that it’s seen by some nationally as new painless money. Its virtue is that targets speculative actions where money flies about the world many times in the blink of an eye. But it still is taking money out of the economy – up to £100bn on some estimates.
I would really like to see that £100bn being used to reduce/extinguish National Insurance which raises a similar amount. The reason is simple – national insurance is a tax on employed productive work and it is a tax on jobs. I can make a far stronger case for taxing the speculators than I can for taxing work. In a swoop it would give millions to the NHS as the nation’s largest employer, it would save a substantial amount off Trafford Council’s costs, but more importantly it would put money into the hands of workers and make it more attractive to take on more staff.
The actual tax take would remain similar but with a beneficial effect on the productive end of the economy which we still vitally need.
Any way – the Tory Party is so wedded to the financiers and hedgefund bosses that the motion was never going to pass.
Meeting of Old Trafford Masterplan project committee with regard to the Shrewsbury Street site.
Transport for Greater Manchester Committee.
Evening: Lostock Community showcase – brilliant