Ray Morgon (@ 7 minutes)1, as Leader, had to get it right and he did. The entire conduct of the meeting was in step with his quiet deferential, but not groveling, opening statement. He didn’t use his entire five minutes, saying what needed to be said with a suitable amount of brevity. It was unrushed and sincere.
Keith Darvill (10 mins) as a former MP had met the Queen and remarked on that occasion. He also commented on her charity and voluntary work and her position in the Commonwealth.
Martin Goode (15 mins) had an interesting comment about the way that Canadians honoured her as head of state. He also had an amusing anecdote of mistaking Princess Margaret for the Queen as a very young child in east London.
The Mayor (17 mins) read a eulogy from the Islamic Cultural Centre before remarking on his work as a fireman at Wimbledon with the Queen present.
Judith Holt (21 mins) made a moving and deeply personal series of anecdotes about the importance of the Queen to her own family. She queued for several hours last week for the laying in state.
Linda Hawthorn (32 ) told a lovely anecdote about the Queen’s visit to the Queen’s Theatre in 2003. She spoke briefly but obviously felt deeply.
Viddy Persaud (38) began by saying she was worried about repetition but then comforted herself by saying (rightly) that on this occasion repetition was appropriate. She was the last speaker.
There were 15 speakers in all and this is a summary of the meeting. I thought the meeting hit the right note throughout, as councillors rose to the occasion.
1 In brackets means the start time. The webcast is here Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com)
After 38 days of ‘wheeling and dealing,’ a cabinet is in place.1 It’s less diverse and older than Damian White’s outgoing Conservative cabinet. Ray has welded together the independent Residents’ Associations.2 He’s also brought Labour into a Working Agreement, making sense of consensus politics. Ray’s done interesting political juggling.
Ray and Keith Darvill have had 20 years in opposition. Ray has never succumbed to the Conservatives’ ‘pot-of-gold’ politics. His first act was to reduce Councillor Allowances, which suggests personal integrity. Keith has been a lonely figure following the implosion of Labour in 2002. They’ve both been principal members of Council for 20 years and stand head and shoulders above their colleagues.
Gillian and Oscar Ford are the most powerful husband and wife team since Labour’s Arthur and Margaret Lathom. Oscar (2022) is a complete unknown. He might find scrutiny bruising. For example, is his principal qualification for cabinet being Gillian’s husband? Gillian (2002) has flattered to deceive on many occasions. There always seems to be more unsaid than said. Has she got the inner steel to drive an agenda in a very difficult department?
Paul McGeary (2010), Paul Middleton (2018), Barry Mugglestone (2014) Chris Wilkins (2018) and Graham Williamson (2014) fill the remaining cabinet posts. They’re indifferent speakers but experience will rectify that. Their contributions in committee and council suggests they’re sound. McGeary’s professional profile means he’s amply qualified for his post. Wilkin’s qualification for the Finance post is that he’s a buy-to-let landlord. This is probably insufficient.4
1 14th June 2022
2 From now on Residents’ Associations will be only referred to by the umbrella title Havering Residents’ Association (HRA)
3 Cabinet structure (havering.gov.uk)
4 mgConvert2PDF.aspx (havering.gov.uk)