At Gateshead Council cabinet this morning, the budget report was considered. Labour are going for a 1.95% council tax increase, after four years of freezing it. Opposition Leader Frank Hindle, Cllr Ron Beadle and I were there on behalf of the Lib Dem group. As usual, some Labour members blamed us for every problem. For many in the Labour Party, history began in May 2010. All problems have arisen since then, not before then, they try to claim.
So after we were accused of causing increased suicides and mass unemployment of young people (which rather ignores the fact there are over 200,000 fewer young people out of work compared to when Labour left office) Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Martin Gannon pitched in with his comments. Martin has an amazing ability to force opposites together. Back in the 80s he was militantly socialist and then in the 90s became more New Labour than Blair himself. Somehow he survives as a rainbow "socialist" warrior taking up contradictory positions as each decade goes by.
"The cost of living crisis is a cliche," he announced. In the recent past he has normally attacked the Coalition for the "cost of living crisis". Today however he was voting to add to it. Perhaps he was just trying to admit, without saying it, that things are not any where near as bad as Labour makes out. My guess is that Martin's words may come back to haunt him.