Monday, May 31, 2010

Diary of a new Councillor: the Council AGM

Newham Council AGM was held last Thursday evening in the main hall of the historic Old Stratford Town Hall. I hadn't realised beforehand it was such a formal ceremonial event. Classical music from the Newham Academy of Music greeted the arrival of the 60 Councillors and some 200 guests.

The meeting started with the Chair wishing Stephen Timms MP a full recovery following the recent incident. Then to mark the deaths of former Councillors Jack Hart and Alex Thompson, we held a minute’s silence. The formal results of the Council election were noted (61-nil). Apparently one of the mass of forms I have signed since the election was an “acceptance of office”.

Then there was the re-election of Chair Cllr Amarjit Singh (a former Treasurer of Tssa) and deputy Chair, Cllr Michael Nicholas (FBU NEC member). Previous Deputy Mayor, Christine Bowden, was given an award by the Mayor, Sir Robin Wales to mark her past service. Christine spoke about how difficult it had been when she first started in politics for women and how she was still a “fighter”. An award was also given by the Mayor to Joshua Adejokun who was Newham’s second “Young Mayor” in 2008/09. He gave a lively and enthusiastic “thank you" speech. Following declarations of interest and the acceptance of the minutes there was the usual Council business (adopting policies, accepting reports and amendments to constitution).

The Mayor gave his report on his work programme for 2010/2011. Robin noted that exactly 80 years ago in this very hall the first ever Labour Party Prime Minister and coalition leader, Ramsey McDonald, was made an honorary Freeman of West Ham. Robin warned of the problems ahead due to cuts by this current Tory/Liberal Coalition and reminded everyone that it was the excess of the City that had caused this recession. We then had more reports then closed the AGM down and then went immediately into another formal “Special Joint Meeting of Committees”. Following on there was a great short video about Newham and the Olympics.

The last item was “Freedom of the Borough” ceremony where 5 people “in recognition of their distinguished service to the borough of Newham” were awarded as Honorary Freemen and Women. First was Police Commander Nick Bracken OBE, then Frances Clarke (Newham Community Links); Marie Gabriel (Newham Primary Care Trust), Michael Grier (Tate & Lyle) and Jack Petchy OBE (former East Ham fruit and vegetables delivery boy turned multi-millionaire philanthropist). Frances Clarke hoped her award will inspire young women “to overcome the barriers and crush them”. There has only been 11 Honorary Freemen created in Newham since 1965.

Although there was the inevitable jokes about whether or not being made a Honorary Freeman (or women!) entitled you to drive your livestock along East Ham High Street without paying any tolls - I think that it is very "good thing" that the borough publicly recognises the contribution of those who have served the community.


Anonymous said...

Good to see leading lay members in London UNISON being elected councillors so any reports from Louise in B and D then?

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

Can you put me right on this? Went on to the David Prentis campaign site and top of his supporters is the secretary from Lambeth Unison? Is this right and is the most militant branch in the country supporting Prentis? The branch secretary there is so assume they are?


Anonymous said...

come on want to know more about cllr couling, do tell?

John Gray said...

Hi anon 21.44

Never a dull moment in B&D.

Hi anon 10.43

Many thanks for the hint - hope you have seen post:)

Hi Anon 22.03

stuff happens:)

Hi Anon 11.52 (deleted)

Come out of the sewer for a change and don't be a potty mouth all your life:)

Anonymous said...

As I said on the other post Prentis did not a get a single vote at the hustings for the Lambeth UNISON local government branch.

As for Nick Venedi, so is he retired already, didn't think he was 65 yet?

Anonymous said...

only 12 out 3000 people at that hustings including non members. Probably why no-one voted is as Nick Venedi put it

"I have said this before and will say it again they should be thrown out of any union they represent nothing other than a tiny number of opportunists. A lot of them are bullies and their method is simply based on intimitading ordinary members. I can tell you a few stories about that as I have seen them in action! I hope that when Dave wins again he will be more decisive in dealing with them at branch level".

Most real members will vote for Dave

Anonymous said...

My post did not appear and I am not sure if it the one date "Hi Anon 11.52 (deleted)"

It is interesting that I am critical of political policies yet your have made personal insults! Is it fair!?

John Gray said...

Hi Anon 11.52 (deleted)

"My post did not appear and I am not sure if it the one date "Hi Anon 11.52 (deleted)"

It is interesting that I am critical of political policies yet your have made personal insults! Is it fair!?"

Yes it is!

Come out of the sewer for a change and don't be a potty mouth all your life:)