This week I discovered that, should I make it on to Derby City Council, I will have to overcome my dislike of being filmed. Photography I can bare, being videoed not so much.
Derby City Council has its very own YouTube channel where, should you wish, you can watch the entire duration of full council meetings and some cabinet meetings. I thought I had better check what I was letting myself in for (Yes I watched a full 3 hours and 18 minutes). Here are my thoughts…
1. Meetings are chaired by the Mayor of Derby and therefore come with a certain amount of pomp and circumstance.
2. They are quite difficult to follow if you don’t have the relevant documents in front you.
3. Recorded votes require each Councillor to declare out loud whether they are for or against a motion… There was rather a lot of abstaining – which I assume is due to party politics (Do I assume there is a whip system in local government as well as parliament?).
4. Labour councillors like to blame the conservative government for budget cuts which have led to them having to cut services in the city; Conservative councillors like to blame the Labour cabinet members for cutting services and insist they could have kept the services running and made them better on the same budget. Sometimes this detracted from the point being made or put forward.
5. Councillors can come and go from the meeting as they please – there for some votes, not for others.
6. There’s a public gallery which you can go and watch from.
7. There’s a lot of terminology and a multitude of laws to abide by. The council staff do a great job at unpicking this.
Some parts of the meeting were quite interesting, other parts infuriating but certainly something I feel I could make a positive contribution to should I get elected.