8 Nov 2018

Last night's Council meeting

Participants at the People's Vote March For The Future
Last night‘s Council meeting agenda had a Notice of Motion to be moved by Councillor Rutter  (Liberal Democrats) regarding Brexit. Amongst other things it said this: “Council calls on the government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and to give the people of Winchester a vote on the final deal, along with the opportunity to vote on keeping the irreplaceable benefits Britons currently enjoy by staying in the European Union.”

People who were there reported that several Liberal Democrat speakers spoke in favour of the motion. The Conservative members didn't say anything. Eventually a Conservative Councillor (Vicky Weston) said a few words and moved a procedural motion to proceed to next business - which meant that the meeting moved onto the next item without a vote on the actual motion. Martin Tod (Liberal Democrats) called for a recorded vote (so that there would be a written record of how everyone voted). 23 Conservatives voted in favour of proceeding to next business, 22 Liberal Democrats against. So the debate was over without a vote on the motion, which in essence resulted in a blocked motion.

There is plenty that could be said here regarding the way this motion was handled by the Winchester Conservatives, but let's concentrate on just one item: we've heard that the Conservative councillor before her procedural motion mentioned that the council is being involved in "local matters", representing "local hard working people". This is a very shortsighted way to see their roles and actually damaging the debate as it divides the local electorate into people who are worth working for and those who are apparently not. For a start it is not clear what is meant by 'local' people (e.g. are you still 'local' without a British passport?) and secondly, are people who are for whatever reasons not 'hard working' not allowed to have representation?  And of course, do we really have to spell it out that these 'local hard working people' (in the widest sense) are the same people who are already affected negatively by what is currently going on? Also, and this shouldn't even have to be mentioned, people who are on the remain side are 'local hard working people' too, and their side of the argument should still be fairly heard and debated properly - especially as the nation is so divided!

It was actually mentioned in the motion debate that some Winchester district residents are planning on leaving the country (or have already left) because of problems with their status resulting out of the changes required by the UK leaving the European Union. These people are taking action as they are tired of being made into second class citizens by the Conservative government, losing democratic rights that they had, in the Brexit process. Apart from leaving gaps in the social fabric of Winchester, these people contributed with their taxes to the UK's exchequer (EU migrant workers contribute £2,300 more per year to UK than average British citizen, study reveals). Losing them is a very real effect on the UK and local people!

If you are not happy with the motion result, please keep writing to your local councillors and MP!

Sylke on behalf of Win-IN

(All copyrights of photos are with the people who took them!)