The other Cllr Johnson (Mrs) has just had to calm me down, from shouting at the TV.
I was shouting, because the Argentinians were at the UN posturing, accusing the British of militarising the South Atlantic.
Had the Argentine regime of the 80’s not illegally invaded these British Overseas Territories with such violence, then perhaps we would not have to forcibly protect the 3,000 people living there, some for many generations, with our armed forces.
Perhaps the Spanish people living now in Argentina should consider giving their land back to the Charrúa, Mapuche and the Guaraní amongst others, who they stole the country from……
In the meantime, the residents of the Falklands, many whose families have lived there since 1833, have determined themselves to be British.
God and the Queen protect and watch over them!
The new opposition Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, called an informal briefing for his new committee members and anyone interested, last night. He asked me as Leader of the Council to come along and give people my view of scrutiny and what I thought it should be doing as a committee.
Firstly I was glad it was an informal meeting, I brought Mrs Johnson (the other Cllr Johnson) and my four year old daughter with me. My daughter is very used to the idea of daddy going to meetings but rarely goes with me, so sitting in the corner of the room colouring in whilst daddy spoke to the committee was a bit of a treat for her, and it meant we were able to pop into the briefing whilst not totally disrupting a family night!
I spoke for about 10 minutes and outlined a number of things:
First I didn’t like the premise of the briefing “how to make scrutiny work” as I felt that implied that it had not worked previously, when I think there are a number of scrutiny reviews that were very successful in recent past – take the flooding review for one.
Second that it was not for me to tell scrutiny what to do, as it was more their job to challenge me and the work of the administration. We publish forward work plans for our committees and working groups showing the plans for the year and if scrutiny want to pre scrutinise some of these issues that is for them to choose.
Third we do not always have be adversarial. The scrutiny committee should act like a select committee in Parliament offering advice on upcoming bills etc and suggesting useful changes.
Fourth that the committee has powers to look at issues outside of the council, such as health and education of Harlow.
And finally that they should be realistic in their objectives – remembering that they are one committee in a small district council.
Scrutiny is an important part of local government and if run well by all parties involved can make a valuable contribution to the running of a town.
I left the briefing session with the thought that perhaps the rest of the evening should have a slightly different title to the one published, “How to make Scrutiny work better“
It was my wife, the other Cllr Johnson’s birthday today.
So of course I spent the day treating her to breakfast in bed and bowing to her every whim? Nope – haven’t you heard…. there is an election campaign on.
By 08:30 I was in the party office making sure that our delvivery and canvass teams had everthing that they needed for the day. Meeting with Russell the “agent” for the general election; I am agent for the local election and deputy chairman political of Harlow Conservatives so there is quite a bit of crossover in our roles so we keep in touch regualarly during election time to ensure everything runs smooth.
After that was finished we had a visit from my friend Peter, who helps me with anything stats and new media related. We had a very interesting discussion about how to use facebook to get our message to people, particularly those in the 18-24 year old age bracket.
Being very willing to pitch in, after our meeting Peter came out delvivering leaflets with me in and around Tye Green Village, one of the original villages that Harlow was built on top of and now is part of the Bush Fair ward that Dan Lucia is trying to win from the Lib Dems in the local elections. It was a warm morning and delivering with Peter, being able to chat as we went was nice.
The day was very successful in terms of outside help. Our MEP and good friend of Harlow Geoffrey Van Orden came to help campaign with Rob and James Cleverly the London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley came over to help too! Many thanks to Geoffrey and James!
I finally left the party office about an hour ago.
So the Conservative Party has had my day, but the evening belongs to my wife. Her friends are all almost here and we are off out for a surprise… I wont say here in case it ruins its for her.
A busy day at work, followed when I got home with an urgent call from a resident with an issue of someone blocking their driveway. We managed to find the owner of the car and get it moved but the resident was obviously not happy.
After that I spent some time writing the last of some leaflets that I had been working on for our local election candidates.
Since it is the other Cllr Johnson’s birthday tomorrow we have a house guest this weekend, and so with my wife and her best mate on the couch chatting and watching trashy TV I took the opportunity to head over to Robert’s house in New Hall (just round the corner really) and meet up with the core campaign team.
We like to get together during election time at times when it wont impact on canvassing or delivery time so Friday night is an oft favorite.
First order of business Crisps – special ones that had been sent to Rob.
I think the thing that most amazes me about Rob’s campaign team is that its so young! Four of the seven people in the room were under 33, which by most Conservative Associations is very good, but I suspect is reflective of our new town demographics.
The advantages of this are that nothing is done “just because its the way it has always been done” which makes the team innovative and dynamic.
The general election has finally been called.
In many ways this is no surprise. We all knew it was coming and most people had been saying that it would be May 6th for quite a while now. I know all of that but it does not stop the slight butterflies in my stomach as we launch our general election campaign.
In Harlow there will of course be two elections as 11 council seats are up for grabs too.
So we are now electioneering again, and I can look forward to some very busy days and some very late nights. I hope that my wife (the other Cllr Johnson) will continue to be as understanding as always!