An interesting exchange took place at Gateshead Council's Cabinet yesterday. It happened during a discussion on rent rises for Gateshead's council housing. The rise is 8.5%. Labour Leader Mick Henry attacked the aim of the Coalition Government of achieving a convergence between council rents and those paid in the rest of the social rented sector. At this point, Lib Dem group leader Frank Hindle intervened to point out that the policy of convergence was actually introduced by the previous Labour Government, a point which Cllr Henry then admitted was true. It was, he argued however, still all our fault that rents have gone up because "two wrongs don't make a right."
If this challenging thought process wasn't enough, Labour Cllr Michael McNestry pitched in with his comments at this point. Michael is a pleasant enough and rather harmless guy. But he decided to attack the Lib Dems for not reversing the policy his own beloved Labour Government had introduced! "You've had two years to reverse the policy and that's easily long enough," he said. So there we have it, Cllr McNestry attacks us for not reversing Labour policy. The thing is Michael, if you are so opposed to this policy, you and your "socialist" chums had 13 years in power to stop these Labour policies from happening in the first place. It's all very well demanding that we Lib Dems reverse the policies of your Government of which you were a supporter, but where were you when people needed you to make a stand against Blair and Brown and their policies?