I AM surprised by Peter Kennedy’s suggestion that politicians should be put out to grass once they reach retirement age. On his reckoning Churchill would have been barred from leading the fight against Hitler and Nelson Mandela sent on gardening leave when released from Robin Island.
The serious point is of course that experience is just what is needed to meet the current challenges facing local authorities but one of the failings of the Cabinet system is that it downgraded the role of back bench councillors and limited the scope for ‘learning on the job’. Fortunately the Localism Bill promises to allow freedom for councils to choose how they operate and over the coming months we will be looking at options, with a view to agreeing a structure that restores the right of all councillors to be involved in decision making and policy development.
Perhaps if Peter looks more closely at the line-up he will see that since 2007 there have been several changes in Cabinet membership but also new faces have taken on responsibilities this year as Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Scrutiny Boards and other Committees.
Ken Meeson via email