Martin leads a splinter group of Resident councillors.1 He’s traditional RA, remorselessly focused on apparent trivialities. Pot holes, uneven pavements, overhanging bushes, inconsiderate parking and so on. Martin, unlike most councillors, isn’t a ‘world statesmen’, or, less lovably, on a ‘nice little earner’.
Martin’s Havering’s most diligent backbencher councillor. He doesn’t flick through his papers at meetings. He reads his documents, forming opinions and is unafraid to share them at committees. He’s a hard-core Conservative with a myopically narrow-minded approach to finance. He’s also hard-core RA. This means that where street cleaning is concerned he wants more expenditure.2 It’s difficult understanding his four years of support for the Conservatives, 2018-22, unless it was the allowances.
Uniquely, Martin attends cabinet meetings, even though he isn’t a member. In brief, he’s a one-man scrutiny committee. Given his diligence he’s treated with respect by the chair with whom he shares so much. They sing from the same hymn sheet on most things. More councillors should exercise their right of attendance, especially if they’re going to challenge pre-emptive mindsets. However, if they do, they should do their homework first.
Martin is a role model. He works hard in the Town Hall and, presumably, in his constituency.
1 East Havering Residents’ Group
2 Needless to relate he didn’t object to the subsidy to motorists with 30 minutes free parking in Hornchurch and Upminster.