Just back from an hour in Tehidy Woods, breathing in the smell of honeysuckle, fox and wet leaves – a very welcome antidote to Cornwall Council this morning and what one fellow councillor (Conservative) described as the bunker mentality of his leader, Alec Robertson.
It was the usual mix at the Cabinet. I was a bit unfair to Jim Currie, attributing ‘hot air’ to his report but somehow when he gets that gleam in his eye and starts the lecture on fiscal responsibility, it brings out the worst in me. The Cornwall Landscape report and the huge amount of work that has gone into it was rightly welcomed and even the obligatory half hour of self congratulation seemed almost bearable.
Then came the ‘pink time’, when the public and press are excluded in order to discuss confidential issues. Obviously, I can’t discuss what we were told (precious little, as it happens) but I will express my view that the behaviour of the Leader was rude and unnecessary. He refused to take questions, refused to explain anything, cut Cllr Doris Ansari off in mid sentence barking out that he wasn’t allowing her to ask a question and the meeting was closed. That was it.
It is an issue that has been discussed in other councils in public. A more intelligent and rational Conservative Councillor explained later the reasons for the lack of transparency at this time. Alec Robertson could have done the same and treated people with respect. He could have discussed it with other group leaders in advance, he could have done all kinds of things instead of creating another problem for himself.
It is a sign of weakness when people cannot cope with challenge or dissent. It is stupid and bad mannered to slap Councillors down for doing their job and questions continue to grow over how long this can continue. He is pulling his own group and the Tory/Independent alliance apart all by himself.