Basher has been telling us that he wants there to be legal action, he does not say against whom, but we have to suppose against Wokingham council, on its school catchment areas review which is currently taking place. A joke, as the review is independent and not being conducted by Wokingham council at all. Basher has some kind of grudge against Fatboy Hartley (imagine those two in a catfight, doesn't bear thinking about) and is trying to wind up residents in Park ward, with some success, and then get Fatboy, as the only Labour councillor left in east Reading, to front up a protest and then get surcharged. It takes the Reading East MP's latest newsletter to point out to us as follows:
I was surprised to hear that Reading Borough Council has been (and I quote) “fully engaged in the work of the independently chaired review board to date, which has included developing the proposals currently under consideration.” I was informed that these meetings have been taking place since late 2008 early 2009 and that officers could have let the independent review board know that these proposals would be unacceptable, but they did not. Obviously this makes my job as the Member of Parliament and Wazir’s [Hussain, elected councillor, beaten up outside the mosque by Salter's hired thugs when he was a candidate] as the local Councillor more difficult as those in power at the time in Reading appear to have failed to object to these proposals. I hope they will explain why.
Pair that with this, from the motion to be presented to Reading Borough Council by Fatboy Hartley:
In the past, when Wokingham politicians have suggested that access to Maiden Erlegh should be
restricted to Wokingham based children; Reading Borough Council has made it clear that any such
proposals would be strongly opposed.
"Wokingham politicians" have never suggested precisely that. And the current review is not being conducted by "Wokingham politicians", who have not yet taken a view. But more importantly, in 2008-9, when the first discussions were held on this issue, Reading Borough Council was involved, was under Labour control, and Fatboy Hartley was the lead councillor for education. Nothing was said. No objections were raised. Nothing was done. Fatboy may well have had good reasons for choosing not to act. I can think of several. Or he may just have been too lazy to bother. Also likely. Perhaps he could inform us.
Basher does inform us, as follows:
I am going to present the petition to the Council and ask the Condems to support Park's residents. There will be a number of questions from residents about the issue and then Labour Park Councillor will bring a motion to the Council that will bind it to support the campaign with legal action.
This is a vital moment for the campaign. It appears that Cllr Mark Ralph is wobbling in his support and is not willing to spend the money to bring in the lawyers.
Notice that Basher does not name Fatboy Hartley. But Fatboy's name it will be on the motion that "binds the Council" to hire lawyers to, er, respond to a consultation commmissioned by Wokingham council. I imagine that motion will be trashed. Cllr Mark Ralph does not impress, from what I know of him, but the last thing he is doing on this issue is "wobbling".
All of this leaves aside the key issue - that ever since 1998, when Reading Borough Council became the education authority, under Labour control, with a Labour government and a Labour MP for Reading East, the Labour lead councillors have set their faces against any lobbying or campaigning for more school places in Reading, in fact in the case of Highdown actively lobbied against it, and have preferred to export their less affluent children to neighbouring boroughs.
I hope those who debate these matters at Tuesday's council meeting remember this. I know I do.