Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Independent Battle Ward councillor Tony Jones has attempted to profit from the public outcry against official waste as he made an unashamedly populist call to cut the number of councillors on Reading Borough Council.

He says one-third of current representatives could be culled "without in any way harming the efficiency of the council or injuring the democratic processes," arguing that the system of local government which has been around for half his lifetime ought to be updated because communication technology has improved so much in that time that the less active councillors no longer give value for money and should be hurried off into retirement.

Cllr Jones also calls for the frequency of elections to be reduced and calculates this would produce a financial saving of as much as £150,000. Such a figure reflects approximately 0.1% of the total current annual council budget.

In her report Linda Fort makes an insightful final aside, raising the question of who the final beneficiaries of any such move would be and what ulterior motives might be masked.

It seems clear that the staunch trades unionist has no residual solidarity with his former Labour party colleagues, although it could equally be likely to discourage members of the public from voluntarily getting involved with the political process - something which opponents are trying to prevent.

In the meantime Reading's top bureaucrat, RBC Chief Executive Michael Coughlin has been out and about fulfilling ceremonial duties and promoting democratic initiatives, perhaps offering an insight into what Cllr Jones' vision involves.


Update: Cllr Ricky Duveen doesn't like the idea. He says "it is not a way to enhance democracy in Reading nor a way to increase participation."

Oranjepan asks:
which councillor(s) do you think should be got rid of?


Follow the link for full coverage of the expenses scandal and the political debate about democratic renewal.

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  1. Fatboy Hartley should be spitroasted

  2. Hi Anon,
    glad to see you back again.

    In what way do you think this should be done? It doesn't sound particularly pleasant to me!


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