John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
  No questions from Labour
I was quite surprised at how few questions there were from Labour at today's full Council Meeting. The questions did not fill the full hour allocated and they didn't ask me anything.

Clearly they have so little to say as they are so much in agreement with what the administration are doing that they could not find any questions to ask.

We did have an interesting discussion about MRSA. This discussion made it clear that many Labour Councillors don't know the difference between a virus and a bacterium. This is an important issue as people generally have the same misconception.

This, in part, is the reason why people often demand anti-biotics for viruses (4th decelension hence not viri). The overuse of anti-biotics is part of the cause of prevelance of MRSA. The most important issue is antisepsis and the requirement for cleanliness.

Much that a lot of money is being spent on the NHS there is not an acceptable outcome in terms of cleanliness. Part of this is driven by the centralised planning and targets so beloved of government. This prevents ward sisters from managing the cleanliness in wards in the same way that "Matron" used to be able to do it. Labour's management protocols undermine "Matron".

What I believe more work needs to be done on is finding out how many people actually die from MRSA. It is not a notifiable disease and we heard of two cases where people who died from MRSA had something else on their death certificate.

Labour did propose a rather meaningless and inaccurate motion about transport which did not mention bus lanes. They also agreed with us that having experimental multi-occupancy lanes would be a good idea. They are trying to face both ways on the A38 Tyburn Road about the bus lane.

We pointed out we had delivered for many modes of transport:

a) Pedestrians, by moving towards Pelican systems from Puffins
b) Cyclists, by protecting good cycle routes eg Brandon Passage
c) Bus users, action on bus safety, queue jumping and bus priorities
d) Trains, working on the Camp Hill Line
e) Cars, developing multioccupancy priority systems.

The point is that if we can get the number of cars down by about 15% then there will not be that much congestion in the city.

In recent years bus patronage has gone down gradually mainly as a result of concerns about safety. We cannot even give away bus passes for senior citizens to many people as there is about a 7% reduction in patronage each year.

Labour's spies complained about me sitting in my car reading a newspaper parked in a loading bay in Smallbrook Queensway whilst I was waiting to pick up a keyboard I bought on Saturday. Of such momentous issues is a City Council meeting made.

Another discussion was about the lack of forward planning for CCTV and the costs of our own approaches. This enabled me to point out that Labour's £169 per square metre (all in) carpet could have been done for £57.75 per square metre (all in) had they been any good at procurement when in administration.
 
Comments:
We've got the opposite problem with questions in Sandwell. the Liberal Democrats only ask one question usually, but take over a hour to ask it, so everyone has fallen asleep or lost interest by the time they get to the point. "This enabled me to point out that Labour's £169 per square metre (all in) carpet could have been done for £57.75 per square metre (all in) had they been any good at procurement when in administration." Of such momentous issues....
 
Indeed value for money is a momentous issue. We have a set amount of resources in terms of finance. The more we can do with this the better the result.
 
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