By Stella Hender: Update 11th of September: Tonight's full council meeting is the first one ever to be web cast (we will have a link asap) and guess what, some lazy bleeping councilors of tried to CANCEL the meeting! The Lib Dem whip Mark Baily tried to pressurise councilors and officers to abandon the meeting on the grounds that there was not enough business on the agenda after the Summer break.
For a change, Stephen McNamara the town clerk stepped in as a champion of local democracy and told them that it was a scheduled council meeting which the public were taking part in and he could not cancel it.
Back bench councilors now receive £11,000.00 per year of our tax payers money (each) and the 10 council meetings are the only ones that they are legally obliged to attend in order to receive that salary. That's £1,100.00 per meeting!!!
Trust the "'Liberal' 'Democrats'" to instigate this action. Earlier this year they already tried to reduce the number of council meetings from 10 to 6! That would be £1833.33 per meeting!
The full council meeting is the only opportunity that the public have (that's you and I folks) to see in action and make representations to, the full council.
Is it a coincidence that the very first meeting scheduled to be web cast is the one the Lib Dems wanted to cancel? They would not wish us to be able to so easily see that their behaviour in the chamber is at best that of naughty school children and at worst, animals in the zoo (though a lot less interesting).
At the first web cast meeting, the Liberal Democrat group on Bristol city council bizarrely, but quite deliberately, made themselves the enemies of Bristol's large student population, and in the process may have lost their MP Stephen Williams' chances of keeping his seat(Bristol West) at the next general election.
Despite having ten councillors in the "Clifton" wards which are the home of many hundreds of students of Bristol University, and 2 in Lockleaze, where students for UWE live, they put a motion to council to support an Early Day Motion in Parliament which specifically calls for the licencing of "student properties" to make them easier to control in the planning process, so that they will not all necessarily be concentrated in these wards.
Not surprisingly, this singling out of students and clearly naming them as being responsible for problems such as noise, anti social behaviour, rubbish, extra cars,etc, was not appreciated by the Student Union, who sent a delegation to the council to forcefully argue their case. They wanted cllrs to omit the part of the motion that mentioned the EDM about students,which was an amendment put forward by the Labour cllrs. (Even though the EDM was being placed before parliament by a Labour MP!)
The Conservative cllrs all voted with the Lib Dems.
The student leader said to "Eyes Right" outside, "If the words 'black' or 'Jewish' were used instead, they would not dare to support it." (the EDM.)
However, the most shocking scenes came when the amendment had been lost and the students left the public gallery. Without exception, the whole "Liberal" "Democrat" group began to gesture, heckle and jeer at them, with shouts of "oh, poor little loves, we'll put your fees up next year" and so on. Such scenes are a disgrace to local democracy and it remains to be seen whether this episode will be screened on the web cast. "Eyes Right" will make a protest if it is censored out!