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Politics in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

  • About David Burbage

    David Burbage MBE was Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council from 2007-2016. This blog : Promoted by Geoff Hill on behalf of David Burbage and all other Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative candidates, all of 2 Castle End Farm, Ruscombe, Berkshire RG10 9XQ
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Archive for May, 2007

Required in court

Posted by davidburbage on May 25, 2007

At the end of last week an envelope arrived from HM Courts Service. Oooh-errr!

This is what I found inside :

Jury Summons

Jury Service ! I have always wanted to do this, but right now is pretty inconveniant as you might understand.

You can defer for a year, but you need to provide an excuse. I had fun writing my request for deferral on the grounds of “I have just become Leader of the Council at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead”. They probably get some weird excuses but I guess mine is fairly convincing.

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Mayor making

Posted by davidburbage on May 22, 2007

It’s all change tonight. The climax of the political campaign is at this evening’s Annual Council at the Town Hall; the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor take their positions, and at the end the political change of power occurs when I am proposed as the new Leader. We are adjourning until the following day to sort out a few items of business; the extension of the Overview and Scrutiny process, the beefing-up of the Sustainability Panel, and Performance Review & Audit panels are some of the initial changes we’ve drafted. There will be more to follow I am sure as we move forward. (I’m lapsing into officer-speak already, groan!)

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3 pieces of bad news

Posted by davidburbage on May 17, 2007

1. Gordon Brown will not be opposed. He will not be forced to defend his record or face the votes of his party. I guess this undermines his credibility as PM, which is a small political plus!

2. Paul Wolfowitz is being hounded out of office by anti-US forces. See  here for an explanation from the Wall Street Journal which you won’t hear about on our ever-balanced BBC.

3. 2500 Post Offices are to close. Don’t the ministers ever learn? This is about the worst thing to do to the country’s community building network of post offices. Running them at a small loss is a worthwhile price to pay for the indirect community service that they provide.

Posted in BBC, General | 1 Comment »

Writing on the wall

Posted by davidburbage on May 14, 2007

The steward at the Conservative Club told me this morning that they had had to remove graffiti from their building. Apparently someone had written “one muppet out, another muppet in” or words to that effect. I think they were referring to Tony and Gordon rather than me and Mary-Rose, though.

Looking back at the result I think the writing was on the wall for months. The national position gave us a great base to build our campaign, and the memory of a dozen Tories campaigning in Dawson Close in Windsor is one that will amuse me for years.

We were survey canvassing (talking to people about their opinions and local priorities) in Clewer East. This cul-de-sac off Hatch Lane has about a dozen small sheltered homes and with a dozen of us there was one Tory to each door.

Who should pull up but Mary-Rose and Lee Hibbard, coming to visit a constituent. My colleague John Story was talking to an old lady on the doorstep when she clearly indicated there was someone waiting behind him. He got rather a surprise to see the Leader of the Council and her ward colleague standing there! But the fact that there were lots of us concentrating efforts in the target ward was plain to see.

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Rubbish!

Posted by davidburbage on May 11, 2007

The press covered the election result in a fairly hyped way today.

Firstly, the rubbish issue. It is pretty feeble to complain that we didn’t phrase our literature according to Libdem preferences. If they had a message to give on the weekly rubbish collection then they were perfectly capable of doing so (or maybe they weren’t…) – I am reminded of Labour’s 1997 screaming headline  “24 Hours To Save The NHS” when neither the Tories nor the Libdems had plans to abolish it! It only goes to show that there isn’t much new in political campaigning.

The other issue is that we’re being kicked for not attending the hastily arranged Fire Authority meeting in Cookham. This is silly. As I said to the press, they already know the Council’s position on this – and asking Councillors to come along to tell them again, in person at a meeting which took no decisions, on the night when all political Groups have their long-arranged Annual Meetings was daft. Independent Groups may not have such meetings but I believe there were no Slough Labour Councillors or Maidenhead Libdems in attendance either whereas we did show our faces. 

I have this problem firmly in my sights. One thing that isn’t clear is who constitutes the Fire Authority because of the elections; holding another consultative meeting before the Authority members are appointed tends to void the whole thing in any case.

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Burdens of office

Posted by davidburbage on May 10, 2007

I always wondered why it took Tony Blair days and days to work out his ministerial team – surely he knows all his MPs names way in advance and can allocate jobs and tell them!

It’s not as simple as that as I have found out. A few of the Cabinet and panels are obvious choices, but many many more are not. Part of the problem getting our ducks in a row was the Mayoralty which we had thought Dorothy Kemp would take, but due to a health scare during the campaign and having a pacemaker fitted, she’s happy to take a Deputy role for the first year and see how she goes. The advantage of that is if she doesn’t like the job there is no obligation to go for Mayor in a subsequent year. Which left us with the role of Mayor to fill.

My ward colleague Leo Walters is our nomination, and he’s been dead keen on filling the role again since he was Mayor in 2002/3. As a long long standing councillor of more than 40 years I think he has easily earned the right to have another go in the position, and as he was able to take it on (the 800+ engagements a year can’t be done if you have even a part-time job) at short notice, it was a done deal. The Annual Council and Mayor-making are on 22nd May.

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Round-up

Posted by davidburbage on May 6, 2007

As I begin typing it’s 11.52pm. I’m only up because since election night not only has my body clock been broke but the brain cells have been buzzing with all the stuff that needs agreeing, organising and doing. I’ve spent longer on the phone these 3 days than I can remember and I still haven’t picked up my mobile voice mail (last count 18 messages waiting – apologies to anyone waiting for an answer.)

There was the unsolveable dilemma, before the election, about how much myself and colleagues gave to prepare ourselves because if we didn’t win then time spent preparing for something that didn’t happen would have been wasted (and might have better been spent trying to win!). You also don’t know how many – or which – or where – councillors will be elected.

One thing which bedevilled the last Tory administration was the Borough’s representative on the Thames Valley Police Authority. Although we held control of the Borough, we were forced to nominate a Libdem to the post. It is a very important, and remunerated, position (the only formal control the Council has over policing) and most authorities have their crime / community safety lead member as their rep – we had to send one of the Opposition!

Now I understand the success of the Tories in the Thames Valley means we should fill that extra committee seat – surely we can get it this time; & after all the former Borough (Libdem) incumbent lost his Council seat in Windsor’s Park ward.

As I was driving back from Ascot on Friday afternoon the phone rang from home to say that the BBC TV wanted to interview me in Windsor at 6.30pm. A swift change of plans and I was there just in time to do a 30 second slot which was too short to say anything meaningful but I paid tribute to all the hard work that has been done by our activists in Opposition. The results certainly speak for themselves. The thank-yous are going to be many, long and sincere; one to begin with here is to our brilliant, brilliant agent Peter Bellini. He handled the campaign extremely well and even on polling day was doing work across committee rooms all over the Borough ensuring we got our people elected. A cliché is “worked tirelessly” but in Peter’s case it was true; getting 3 or 4 hours sleep in the days leading up to the election making sure we had our plans laid effectively was just one example of his efforts. He even managed to ensure we comfortably beat the BNP in Clewer North (as he himself was a candidate in a seat we were not going to win outright, ensuring we came 2nd was very important!) – the Independents were never likely to lose their seats with only two BNP standing and us putting our bigger efforts in elsewhere.

Knowing so many of us that lost their seats in 2003, I could sympathise with the Libdems that lost. It’s tough, and much more so if you don’t expect it. But it’s very difficult to express that just after the results are declared without appearing to be rubbing it in. The great shake of democracy means that they lost some of their best along with some of the rest, and likewise with those that remain. We failed to get some great people in that worked so hard and would have made excellent community representatives whereas in our safer seats we are almost certain to retain them regardless of the personalities (adding quickly that we do have fantastic people in all our safer seats).

We are now determined to implement our manifesto – typing words into a document is easier than actually making the changes happen and work correctly. We got a flavour of that when we announced Windsor’s parking proposals. One Conservative supporter was strongly urging us to quickly revoke our proposal, prior to the election, to ditch the 10p onstreet charges because he was convinced it would lose us hundreds of votes in Windsor . . . well, we just about held our end up in Windsor!

Some ironies – we polled more votes than the Libdems in Riverside but they got 2 seats and us 1; the Independents in Riverside almost certainly cost us getting all 3 seats and meant that the established Libdems remained (who were their real foes); former Leader Jeremy Hyde stayed oh-so-late in the count to 4am to watch Hurley, his former seat, fall to our new successful trio; the current Libdem Leader chicken-ran for safety but we got that seat as well – we nearly beat Mary Rose in 2003 but we got her this time and she was in the Evening Standard, and on the BBC website with the shell shocked look.

No pictures to illustrate as I’ve been rather busy, I’m afraid! But I will be trying to continue this blog, maybe more irregularly, as the weeks and months go on. This is not valedictory.

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Milk

Posted by davidburbage on May 4, 2007

I got home so late (early) yesterday (today), the milk had already been delivered.

There will have to be a longer blog later, but fantastic results yesterday gave us control of the Council with 36 seats against 16 for the Libdems and 5 Independents.

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Tomorrow

Posted by davidburbage on May 2, 2007

tomorrow, you’re always a day away… is polling day.

Because the polls open at 7am and close at 10pm, it’s going to be a loooooong day for the 150 or so candidates in the Royal Borough – and across the country. After 10pm we have the culmination of the whole thing at the Magnet Leisure Centre count; a big gathering of political parties all in one place for a few win-or-lose hours. Fortunately my ward (Bray) is fairly safe and there has been little opposition effort or huge local issues, I’m not expecting any earthquakes but we won’t know for sure until the ballot boxes open!

There will undoubtedly be some surprises, there always is. I’m not going to make any predictions about surprises here, either. Let the voters decide.

The sun’ll come out
Tomorrow
So ya gotta hang on
‘Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
I love ya Tomorrow!
You’re always
A day
A way!

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A Personal Note from the yellow team

Posted by davidburbage on May 1, 2007

http://rorys.wordpress.com/2007/04/30/a-not-so-personal-last-minute-note-from-the-liberal-democrats/

I also have one of these – fluttering down the streets of Boyn Hill. I was also amused by this bit

“…we have enjoyed representing you over the last four years.”

 as well as their plans to manage the stock list at Sainsbury’s supermarket. Is there nothing they won’t meddle in?! Hint to Mike : how about letting the shop sell what the shop thinks is best…. or maybe you know best?

Mr Holness has another – self produced – bit of literature going out and in that he claims that someone in the Libdems has said that they will keep the weekly bin collection.

Why then is that pledge not in their manifesto? Can anyone find their manifesto? It does exist, I can assure you, and it appears a bit (a lot) of a rush job with no new ideas.

Two days to go – then Rory G need not endure any more Libdem literature.

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