The Annual Council Meeting used to be the "Mayor Making" in the good old days when we had a real Mayor who wore red robes and a chain and went along to open things and be photographed by the Hartlepool Mail. Now of course we have an elected Mayor and a "Chair of Council" Neither of them wear robes but the "Chair" does wear the Mayor's Chain and the elected Mayor is very goof at being photographed by the Hartlepool Mail (especially in the run up to an election). Despite Labour not having a majority on the Council the Chair of Council for eight years in a row has been Labour Councillor Carl Richardson. Despite not having a majority on the Council the Chairs of all three Neighborhood Forums are held by Labour Councillors and every Councillor's Seat on the Hartlepool Partnership is also held by, yes you guessed it, Labour Councillors.
How can this be you might ask? The answer is simple. In Hartlepool if you vote Conservative you actually get Labour, if you Vote Liberal Democrat you actually get Labour and in some cases even voting Independent (such as allegedly our Mayor) and you get Labour.
Its the Tories on Hartlepol Council that really stick in my throat. The Lib-Dems toadying up to Labour doesn't surprise me in the least as that's what Lib-Dems do. Some of the Independents toadying to Labour also doesn't surprise me as some of them are just Labour supporters who think they might not get elected in their wards if they declared their real allegiance. But the Tories behavior astounds me.
At the Annual Council the Tories received their 12 pieces of silver in the form of the Vice Chair of the Council going to one of their Councillors. I return for this crumb from the Labour table the Tories supported every one of the Labour nominations for Committees and Chairmanships that keep Labour in power in Hartlepool even though they are not the majority group any more.
If the none Labour councillors stood together then Labour would be out of power in the Hartlepool Council Chamber as far as Committees and Chairmanship's were concerned, but NO, the Tories and Lib-Dems are more scared of the Independents (and UKIP!) getting any influence than they are of Labour remaining in charge.
I wonder if the West Park Tories realise they have elected three Quislings who might as well be Labour Councillors?