The final full Council for a few months saw the usual grown up stuff. Conservatives so utterly against something they abstained, later voting against something because they supported it, Labour making passionate speeches discouraging others from supporting something they supported and even I voted for something I didn't like, but excuse myself on the basis I couldn't stop it!
It is that final one where we start.
Do we have an external Inquiry into Manydown fiasco? This came up in May's full Council and at the stage I was not sold on the idea of hiring consultants to look into the affair. I loathe the idea that ten's of thousands could be used in this way. It was not the only reason for rejecting the Labour proposal in May, (most of which had the language which sounded like an angry mob on a witch hunt) but something that still bothers me now. However since May it has become clear in conversations with local residents and groups that confidence, understandably, has been lost in the Council and the administration to such an extent that any findings of an internal investigation wouldn't be trusted.
Imagine the internal led inquiry found nothing - the doubters would shout 'cover up', 'whitewash', 'conspiracy' etc. The same calls for an external investigation would still be there in six months time preventing any chance of shifting the huge cloud of shame that is damaging the reputation of the Council.
Imagine the internal investigation found something*, then we'd have calls for a full external investigation to see what else is hiding from the reach of investigating councillors.
So my problem was, much as I was not convinced an external inquiry was desirable, it was going to happen at some point - that point may as well be now. So I supported the proposals in as much as I was opposed to the alternative - the same proposals in 6 months time!
*This was a further concern. The Council, in my view, has no proper scrutiny of the majority group. They have an inbuilt majority and chair every committee. If we had scrutiny, many of these decisions would have been looked at in more detail at the time they were made. Now we have a collection of decisions making it difficult for a panel of councillors to investigate without support from experienced officers. The decisions were made my the Council as landowner and as a planning authority, for reasons of transparency the Council separate the land owner and planning functions. If you were dealing with planning decisions, the land owner offices would be able to help and vice versa. If you need to look at the work of both, who can you turn to?