Fringe Box



Letter: Time Will Tell If the Council Leader Can Survive

Published on: 12 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 13 Oct, 2023

Councillor Julia McShane (Lib Dem, Westborough) is the leader of Guildford Borough Council

From: David Bilbe

Conservative borough councillor for Normandy

In response to: Guildford Leader Survives No Confidence Vote, Labour Councillors Vote with Lib Dems

Regarding the position of the council leader, we will see what the next few months reveal in terms of financial outturn and other matters.

Leadership is not based on popularity, friendship and sycophancy – it is based on clear objectives, strong and determined decision-taking and excellent communication, even when the message is unpopular.

Interesting and not surprising that the Lib Dem majority gathered around their friend. It reminds me of the two lemmings talking as they tumbled over the cliff – one says “I thought you were in charge?” and the other replies “No, no I thought you were!”

Let us not forget that we are emerging from a period of four years of an alliance and shared leadership between R4GV and the Lib Dems. We are far from out of the woods as a borough and we should not forget that it is the people of Guildford who are important here – not a group of transient and elected councillors.

I felt that the comment made by Cllr Potter which said that the ballot box spoke in May and can speak again in 2027 showed a level of disengaged arrogance. We need strength determination and delivery now – not as a test of public sentiment in four years’ time.

Let’s see if we get that.

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Responses to Letter: Time Will Tell If the Council Leader Can Survive

  1. Mark Stamp Reply

    October 12, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    I’m glad that a Conservative agrees that if a leader is shown to be wanting and is changed then the electorate should get a say sooner.

    Was david Bilbe in favour of a general election at any point during the chaos that his party inflicted on the country over the last couple of years or is disengaged arrogance permitted at a national level?

  2. Harry Eve Reply

    October 19, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    “…we should not forget that it is the people of Guildford who are important here – not a group of transient and elected councillors.”

    This is a bit rich coming from the Conservatives who drove the unsound Local Plan that residents have to live with. It is also a bit rich from the Conservatives who took their leadership from the unelected M3LEP [Local Enterprise Partnership].

  3. David Bilbe Reply

    October 21, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    Mark Stamp seems to miss the point.

    The crisis is now. Money unaccounted for, S114 regulation threat, planning in the doldrums, three S151 officers, three CEOs (soon to be) and an expensive merger with Waverley.

    I have not been asked about my view is of a change of leadership at governmental level but it is really an interesting way for Mr Stamp to express his views by making the local issues seem wrapped up in a higher order of question.

    As it happens, I am in favour of change whenever current leaders make howling mistakes or clearly cannot deal with what is in front of them. I am not afraid personally of testing public sentiment at any time but that is not for me to decide.

    If Mr Stamp bothered to find out he would see that I was ousted from the Conservative party when I stood as an Independent in my village previously. The title Conservative does not stop a person from being decent and caring about doing a good job for the residents of Guildford.

    Let us see whether this leadership can bring about the change required to stabilise a very poor situation. We will be watching.

    David Bilbe is a Conservative borough councillor for Normandy & Pirbright.

    • Mark Stamp Reply

      October 23, 2023 at 2:46 am

      I agree with many of Cllr Bilbe’s original points and I have been critical of Cllr McShane for not answering these important questions posed in The Dragon.

      The problem is though, many issues at local government level are wrapped up with national politics. The funding issues in local government, of all political colours, have largely been caused by central government cuts and the encouragement to borrow for investment.

      Financial errors have been creeping into councils due to delays in auditing because of the scrapping of the audit commission. These cuts, amongst others, have led to many council officials to think that they can have less stress for more money working in the private sector and I assume that Cllr Bilbe helped campaign for the governments that introduced them.

      I do not doubt that Cllr Bilbe is trying to do a decent job holding the borough council leadership to account for the residents of Guildford but he should recognise that he is doing so from a diminished position by representing a party not only that is guilty in its national leadership everything he accuses the Liberal Democrats for doing locally but also still has questions to answer over its time in power at GBC and who wasted time and money delaying a by-election for Ash Parish Council.

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