Here is the webcast of yesterday's Council meeting.
I'm at 1.02 and 2.48
Here are the texts for both my speeches.
Corporate Plan 2011
The corporate plan is the vision of this Council, a framework for five years. I believe it should not be too specific but flexible. It is a work in progress.
I’d like to think at the bigger picture for a moment.
One of the reasons why I find difficult to speak in this chamber is that I’m not very party political.
I have loyalty, but more like that of a daughter, always ready to criticise her parents, and less willing to accept criticism from other places. Because, after all, I know them better.
I also feel that the best work is the work that comes out of scrutiny, the work that is the result of partnerships, with public, private and third sector, and the work done by citizens with their representatives.
There will always be specific interests and different ways of seeing the world.
But when people come together, they need to find something in common, a common ground to pursue the common good.
When I stand here, I have the strange sensation of being surrounded by political parties.
We become political animals, all divided up in our cages, so that we can align our views with that of our leaders and stop thinking for ourselves.
I’m not disputing the rules of representative democracy, yet.
But I’d like to appeal to the original ‘political animal’, the zoon politikon of Aristotle.
That animal is a human being that seeks relationships, that finds meaning in them.
So I want to ask every one of you, in the days and months to come, to forget the party line, and above all the assumptions political parties make about public services.
I don’t want my party to assume what I value most or what my constituents value most. I want an honest discussion in re-thinking the job of this council and our job.
I’m looking forward to the ‘What matters’ strategy and I hope that there will be ways for councillors to discuss what really matters outside this chamber and find common ground and pursue the common good.
This budget shows that the transformation strategy is bearing its fruit.
I believe it was good not to do things in haste, but to do it properly.
I believe it was also good to set the wheels in motion early, in time for the challenges we are facing today.
It is however a difficult budget, and it’s not going to get any easier.
We should be under no illusion that the clock might turn back.
The welfare state, as it once was, is no longer.
It is changing fast and the role of the council has to change to reflect a changed reality.
I believe we have a duty to go beyond what we’ve always done.
We have a duty to form a partnership with our citizens.
This is the most important partnership of all.
It is not about finding efficiencies or delivering value for money.
It is about enabling people to do what they want to do, not about delivering the same services in the same way because we’ve always done it that way.
At this moment in time, this Council has a duty to show leadership.
Leadership is not about telling people what to do, but about telling them what they can do.
Local democracy is about instilling a sense of responsibility in people. This is our city, our environment and we have a responsibility for it.
The great society, as JFK called it, is nothing to do with what is being talked about in Whitehall. It is not privatisation or the nanny state. That vision of society is not about passing the ball to somebody else.
It is for every single one of us: councillor, resident, organisation, business.
It is a society built by citizens, for citizens.