The Labour Party on Tyneside has, for decades, had a one-party state mentality. Recently, the four constituent authorities that make up Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, all Labour run, decided to scrap the joint committee, made up of three councillors from each council, and replace it with a "strategic board". This will consist of one member from each authority, along with a small number of "independent" members and an "independent" chairman. At one fell swoop, the change abolished opposition representation.
Now, the announcement has been made that the new "independent" chairman has been appointed. She is Joyce Quin, former Labour MEP for Tyne and Wear and MP for Gateshead East and now a member of the House of Lords, sitting on the Labour benches.
I don't doubt Joyce will do a good job. She is one of those Labour politicians from the North East who can actually be counted as among the ranks of the capable. But as far as an exercise in democracy is concerned, it is not!