Today's antics from Labour, led by Cllr Mick Henry, are good reasons alone why they should be dumped at the ballot box. If only more people from Gateshead could see council meetings. They would see how he "leads" his band of merry followers. I proposed a motion opposing the proposals of Network Rail to create a high speed rail network that bypasses the North East. I wrote the motion in the expectation of cross party support. It went on to call on the Transport Secretary to ensure the East Coast was included in any high speed network. There was no criticism of the government, nothing attacking Labour, it was purely a motion attacking Network Rail. As far as I could see, it was fully in line with with Lib Dem and Labour aspirations.
Except that Labour cannot vote for an unamended motion from the Lib Dems, especially one moved by me. So they did one of their wrecking amendments. Every reference to Network Rail was removed, a big chunk of the motion was taken out and then put back, word for word the same and the real teeth of the motion - calling on the Transport Secretary to back the inclusion of the East Coast Line - were axed.
But the really interesting point was that I could barely be heard because of repeated interruptions from Cllr Henry. He even interrupted me before I had said my first word. And every few seconds I was interrupted. The few people who were in the public gallery must have thought Labour were using a barrage of noise, shouting and bellowing to drown out what I had to say.
After the meeting was over, fellow Lib Dems congratulated me. Labour are getting rather nervous now that I'm back. Some members even described Labour as "scared". After all, if I wasn't a threat to them, they wouldn't waste time attacking me so vehemently.
So I am definitely looking forward to the next full council and another Mick Henry performance. I am also hoping far more members of the public attend and see for themselves just what Labour are like in Gateshead. Indeed, I can foresee an article in my next efocus encouraging people to come to the Civic Centre to see Cllr Henry and his band perform.
Meanwhile, I have had a message from a friend saying that I should wear Cllr Henry's attack on me as a badge of honour. I certainly will!
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