Secret Election Diary: Leddy skewers ‘that individual’ Ward in parking row
Oh dear. It’s all getting rather personal. As with all political elections, contenders start off promising to keep it clean, but can’t resist plummeting to the lowest common denominator when the going gets tough.
Mike ‘Food for Thought’ Leddy has been at it again. His eighth lengthy epistle to councillors, entitled ‘Labour group management’, contains an outspoken attack on deputy council leader Ian Ward, who at one stage is angrily referred to as “that individual” rather than by his name.
Ward, of course, is one of the five candidates along with Leddy standing for the council leadership.
The subject of Leddy’s ire? It’s that thorny issue of parking. Not parking for the likes of you and me, though, this is about FREE parking for city councillors.
According to Leddy, Cllr Ward “exemplified yet again his poor decision making” when he decided to provide designated parking spaces for a “select number of councillors” in the Council House courtyard.
I think we can assume that Cllr Leddy was not lucky enough to be allocated one of these spaces.
Worse was to follow. Councillors of the rank and stature of Leddy (a former Lord Mayor, don’t you know) were told by Ward they should park at the Brindley Drive car park when the council’s underground parking area closed to make way for the Paradise Circus redevelopment.
Brindley Drive is all of 1,000 metres away from the Council House and is, in Cllr Leddy’s view, “totally unsuitable”.
But Leddy, as might be supposed from a potential council leader blessed with plenty of strategic vision, has a plan:
“Outside the Treasury Door, in what was Edmund Street, there could be upwards of twenty chevron parking spaces for those of us that attend committee meeting etc. There can still be provision for those of us who wish to use Brindley Drive, using our windscreen pass, for free car parking, however with no reserved spaces, other than on Council Day.
“Doing this would release a large number of empty reserved bays for general car-parking, hence increasing overall car-parking income.”
Warming to his theme of “what has the deputy leader ever done for Birmingham”, Cllr Leddy says the council has to “stop shooting ourselves in the foot” with poor management of Labour group affairs.
The decision to ban leadership candidates from taking part in hustings is just another example of poor decision making, according to Leddy. And guess where that decision emanated from? From the group executive, that’s where. And who is on the executive? Ian Ward, that’s who.
“What has the Deputy Leader done to speak up and against proposals, very little if anything, that is not leadership? Leadership is about bringing ideas forward, changing people’s conceptions, changing people’s opinions, developing their character, above all showing direction, something completely lacking from this individual.
“There is a need from now until beyond the elections in 2018 that we don’t continue shooting ourselves in the foot, with poor management of group affairs, the group executive’s decision about no public hustings in the leadership election period being just one of them.
“Who is actually speaking up, speaking out at group executive meetings, who is questioning proposals? There have been far too many debacles in recent times and we can’t lay them all at the feet of Sir Albert.”
Finally, to underline his credentials, Leddy sets out how he would go about revitalising Labour in Birmingham:
“The role of leader is more than just being head of the cabinet, it is someone who leads the group, brings forward ideas, challenges members for their ideas and concerns, then along with the group Officers ensures they are put into written words.
“We need to recognise that communications with our electorate is vital, through the various methods of communication open to us, social media, house meetings, letters and leaflets, we should share best practice amongst each other. Each ward and community will do their communications differently; whichever ways they choose locally, we need strong assurance that what is being done is effective, by the numbers of response feedback received.
“The Labour Party should be about campaigning, campaigning on behalf of those who are unable to fight their corner. Over the coming months and years, we need to take the fight over lost services to the people of Birmingham, on the streets highlighting what is being lost and why.”
Meanwhile, the decision by Stockland Green councillor Penny Holbrook to enter the race means there are now five contenders for the city council leadership.
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