Cllr Stephen West has had enough of the Conservatives and gone off to UKIP.
It leaves the Conservatives with 30 of the 60 Councillors and dependent on the casting votes of the Mayor.
In the past you felt too much was whipped through by the majority and you sensed that no one took opposition comments seriously, though the constructive ones were often drowned out in a sea of rather pointless national policy remarks.
I am looking forward to better debate, more attempts to achieve consensus and better policies as an outcome (well, i'm hoping)
As for Cllr West, I don't know him that well, he seems to be one of those Councillors that pops up every 4 years roughly at the time his re-election is due, but as our wards are some distance apart that may be unfair.
He always struck me as a loyal Conservative and in the few times we have been in committee together has re-run the standard "Gordon Brown's fault" arguments whenever the Conservative controlled County Council decide to cut a service.
What is strange, in his press release he goes on about the Tories being in a mess locally and divided, well I'm certainly not going to waste any blogspace on arguing that! He then goes on to say
"Cameron ... .... is happy to cut the top rate of tax for the richest people in the country while the rest of us here in Tadley struggle to make ends meet."
Whilst this statement is not strictly true (the top rate of tax is higher than under Labour and the reduction, which I didn't agree with, has been replaced with more effective taxes), it is more importantly, the absolute opposite of UKIP policy of a flat rate tax .
Which would have the following effect.
I have included figures based on tax under the last Labour government, The Lib Dem policies adopted by the coalition and what you'd pay under UKIP
On the average wage of around £25,000, £3,600, £3,000, £3,000
so not much in it, Labour charged more tax, but whilst they could argue that they gave you some back in tax credits, those on low and middle incomes were worst off under Labour (bizarre)
On a not untypical salary of £50,000, £10000, £10,800, £10,500
Again, all fairly close.
Lets go to the higher salary of £100k, £30,000, £30,100, £25,500
And Ukip are giving a £10 a week tax break to high earners
And now the £300k a year earners £115k, £130k, £85k
Wow! a third off the tax bill of Britain's big earners under UKIP and the effect of Lib Dem policies start to show.
And just for the few the take home £1m £395k, £480K, £295k
So Stephen's new party policy to let those earning a million pound a year to pay less tax, slashing there bill by nearly £200k.