Last night the Liberal Democrats held their Annual General Meeting. Usually people might think meetings of this sort are dry and stuffy. Being set in a pub in South Ealing people had a good time discussing local and national political events as well as eating and having a drink.
As Liberal Democrat Leader in Ealing I spoke about what my team of councillors have been up to in the past 12 months. Of all three political parties we had the best attendance rate! Cllr Harvey Rose and Cllr Nigel Bakhai attended 100% of their meetings plus some extra ones that the Council don't count in their official figures. I thanked their hard work.
I mentioned that the Labour-run Ealing council have made a number of cuts which will affect vulnerable residents. Also I spoke about the crazy decision to spend £5.5 million on a car park that isn't needed. In the Liberal Democrat Council Tax budget amendment we would have stopped this waste of our money and redirected it on other areas such as saving some of our libraries, reversing the Park Ranger and Enviro-crime officer cuts, amongst other things.
Labour currently like blaming the government and not want to concentrate on the difficult job of reducing the budget as every Council is having to do.
I went on to say that the Conservative party in Ealing does not appear to offer any solutions to the problems that are being raised. If you are to reduce budgets you need to do so thinking of the long term by looking at every penny the council spends to see what areas are most in need of money.
After I had taken questions, a few about the new Garden Tax that Labour are introducing, Mike Cox spoke. Mike lives in Hillingdon and has lived in Ealing. He has been our GLA candidate for the area and spoke about the many positive policies that the coalition government has introduced in the past 18 months such as stopping Heathrow from being expanded (a long time Lib Dem policy). Note that the Conservatives only came around to this viewpoint a year or so before the general election!