It’s story time:
A land politically divided. Run by a controversial Conservative group. Where public services are visibly failing, and accusations of cronyism are growing.
No, not the UK. Welcome to the metaphor that is Bournemouth-Christchurch-Poole Council.
Let me begin…
Tonight sees a vote of no confidence (VONC) in BCP council leader Drew Mellor. It’s the first VONC since the last one, called 18 months ago by Drew Mellor.
There was another VONC five months before that, called by, um, Drew Mellor.
BCP Council was formed three years ago.
It’s been a ride.
How did we get here? Last month a council meeting was abandoned after the Tory administration (allegedly) pulled in two Covid-stricken councillors to help them defeat a vote on scrutiny. Oh, the irony.
As reported by @JasonDailyEcho @Bournemouthecho: https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/20096301.health-safety-fears-lead-bcp-council-meeting-adjourned/
Opposition party @CIndependents then called a VONC, supported by all the other non-Con parties. Yes, just as in the national picture, it’s Tories vs Everyone Else down here.
But just like the Commons, the Cons have a majority in council, & *should* defeat the motion.
Interesting times for council leaders Drew Mellor & Phil Broadhead. They love a good headline, and PB is known locally as Gameshow Phil (also Estate Agent Phil, and various other things I can’t repeat).
And recently they’ve had LOTS of media coverage.
But it’s all been bad.
Take this for example: a slot in @PrivateEyeNews‘s Rotten Boroughs, for their “flagship project” FuturePlaces.
Phil Broadhead claims the report is “completely wrong”, despite the fact that all the info has come from his own council. Politicians, tchah.
The meeting itself, and the rancorous fallout, has finally won Mellor & Broadhead national acclaim. Reports are to be found on BBC among others, and even this snippet in the London Metro.
This is the most famous that BCP Council has ever been. Well done everyone, great work.
Oh, there’s more. Has a split begun within the local Conservative group? Rumours abound that they might be moving to the next phase of in-fighting, just like the national government. And some long-term political figures seem to be getting quite a kicking…
Example: lifelong Tory Ann Stribley was suspended by Drew Mellor for proposing a motion in support of Ukraine.
But she’d responded to a call from Conservative Councillors Association to all Tory reps.
Hey, who’s chairman of the CCA? Um, Phil Broadhead.
In the meantime, BCP Conservatives have spent the last few months fighting a bitter war with… local residents. Yes, Twitter has become the battleground between voters with questions and the mighty BCP Engagement team: led by, um, Phil Broadhead.
So it’s not going well. The VONC will probably be defended, but the local Tory coalition may well falter before 2023. Could the final blow be FuturePlaces? Or the “Big Plan”? Or the scheme to remortgage the council’s stock of beach huts to shore up its debt? Time will tell.
In the meantime, there’s the third confidence vote in three years to look forward to: Tuesday 10 May, 18:30. Politics may be many things here, but dull it’s not….
Want to know what happened? Look out for an update!