I write in response to the piece in last Thursday’s edition of the West Sussex County Times concerning the decision by West Sussex County Council to scrap the role of the chief executive.
This decision seems, to me, to be an eminently sensible one for the people of West Sussex. Why would it be better to continue to pay an annual sum over and above what is necessary to achieve the requisite level of professional leadership for the council? Moreover, why would anybody in their right mind want such a state of affairs to exist?
I am therefore somewhat mystified by the rather fatuous responses of the leaders of UKIP, the LibDems and the Labour Party. I suppose I ought not to be mystified given the nature of those parties but nonetheless, even by their own rather silly standards, their comments are more than a little ridiculous.
The UKIP leader declares himself amazed that the UKIP group were not consulted and helpfully reminds us that UKIP polled 30 per cent of the vote across West Sussex in May 2013. Furthermore, he informs us that the Conservative leader, Louise Goldsmith, should consider her position because 62 per cent of the electorate did not support her party back in May. I’ll put aside the factual inaccuracy of his last comment.
Notwithstanding this, a reality check for the UKIP leader is needed, I think. To begin with, it is the number of seats held that underpins the strength or otherwise of a party’s majority and not the number of votes cast. It’s called ‘First Past The Post’ and it works rather well. The Conservatives hold around 65 per cent of the seats.
This is called a working majority.
What it means is that the Conservative group does not need the support, consent or consideration of UKIP to make decisions and implement policy. Sorry old son, but the ayes have it.
I would also remind him that he has only ten seats or 14 per cent of the total. The number of votes cast in 2013 showed that over 70 per cent had no interest in UKIP whatsoever. By his own reasoning, perhaps he should be considering his own position?
And if he feels that Louise Goldsmith’s leadership is alienating UKIP and other groups on the council then it just goes to show that she is doing plenty that is right.
As for the Lib Dems and Labour, they polled less than one in seven votes each and are an electoral irrelevance.
The people very sensibly put the Conservatives in charge and all this noise about ‘considering her position’ is just simply the sound of a lot of sour grapes.
If you want to be in charge boys put forward some policies that people will vote for, if you can. Until then stick to your opportunistic carping from the side lines and let the grown-ups get on with delivering real savings for the people of West Sussex.
ADRIAN M. LEE
River Walk, Horsham