Everyone seems to believe that a deal has already been done to form a coalition of the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Independent Groups to run Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Although Labour are thrilled to have increased their numbers on the council they actually gained more than they thought and it has given them a big headache.
The last thing in the world they want is to be in sole control of the council because they know that savage cuts are bound to be imposed. Firstly the council have to find many millions just to stay on course for the present budget because the easy options were made for this years budget. They know the real pain is to come next year and the year after. Secondly because of the disastrous financial position of the country any new government is bound to put the squeeze on local government and make even more savings inevitable.
For these reasons Labour need other parties involved in the running of the council so that it is not them alone who are blamed for the cuts. I therefore believe that offering a coalition is not an olive branch but an act of attempted self preservation because of the all out elections next year.
The real question is will it happen?
If Labour, because of their numbers, only offer a few members of cabinet to the others it will not be acceptable.
Will the Conservatives accept only 1 or 2 members having been in “Ëœcontrol’ for the last 12 months.
Will the Lib Dems still accept only 1 member and in charge of the finances when they will then be blamed for cuts to come.
Will the Independents be happy to accept less than their present 3 members (4 originally with Ian Mitchell).
Will Labour find places for Paul, Mark, Tom, Merv, Adrian, Debra, Joy, etc.
If one of the “Ëœpolitical’ groups decides not to take part in the coalition then will the others play ““ I don’t think so. I cannot see a Labour/Con or a Labour/Lib Dem or Labour/independent coalition without the others.
Will Labour locally offer enough places in cabinet to bring the 3 other groups on board ““ I think not.
In a game of cards you can only play the hand you’ve got.
I believe that the idea of a “Ëœrainbow coalition’ will not happen.
As I started ““ HAVE LABOUR GOT THE GUTS TO GO IT ALONE ?