Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Labour councillor attacks living-within-your-means

Labour councillors in Gateshead had been rather quiet on the issue of their new Leader. No outward expressions of joy at the onward march of the people's revolutionary collective, no socialist slurping of champagne at the arrival of Comrade Corbyn, no burblings from the brothers and sisters of socialism welcoming statements that everything they have fought for over the past 20 years was trash. Nothing. Just socialist silence. And then along came Cllr Catherine Donovan who decided to break Labour's holy vows of silence at the recent meeting of the Council's cabinet.

In appearance, Cllr Donovan is a socialist Margaret Thatcher with suits so severe and sharp you could slice bread with them! She zooms into the Civic Centre car park in her brand new Nissan Juke (or is that Joke?) and struts along the socialist catwalk as a rising star of Gateshead Labour party. My guess is that she has ambitions to rise further. Good luck to her.

Cllr Donovan was one of only a handful of Gateshead Labour councillors to come out in support of Corbyn during the leadership contest. So it was no surprise that she was the first Labour Councillor in Gateshead to welcome the Great Leader's election at a council meeting. The only surprise was how long it took any of them to make an announcement.

My views about living within your means are well known. It is a term I use regularly on this blog and in meetings. I aim to live my life within the means I have - I grow my own food, I reuse and recycle whatever I can, I've rejected the consumerist lifestyle, food waste is regarded as a hideous crime and I always aim to have a lower expenditure than income. At the last cabinet meeting, Cllr Donovan chose to look directly at me when she attacked the concept of living within your means. The words were said during the debate on the consultation on the council budget for next year. At last, she told us, with the election of Comrade Corbyn, she was in a party that now rejected austerity. There was no need for austerity as it is a "political choice" (presumably the flip side of her argument is that bankruptcy is the equal and opposite political choice). She ranted on about how the baby-eating evil forces of the Lib Dems and Conservatives had come together to destroy everything. Now, she was able to reject all of that in the Labour Party under the new Great Leader.

Given the views she had just presented, it is hard to square them with the previous lavish praise she had heaped on the Labour party over the past few years, at a time when they supported to varying degrees, some form of austerity. At no point however did Cllr Donovan say in the cabinet meeting how the money would be found for ending austerity. "Spend, spend, spend" may make Catherine feel good, but where does the money come from? Or do I heard the sound of printing presses cranking up?

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