When a dog bites a man, it isn’t news. When a man bites a dog, it is.
Likewise, when a Tory Councillor criticises a Labour Council policy, that’s hardly news, but when a Labour MP does – it is.
So step forward Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Selly Oak, who this week has criticised Labour’ infamous garden tax policy, calling for it to be scrapped. I haven’t yet heard Edgbaston’s Labour MP joining him, but then she’s in a difficult position.
The Edgbaston Constituency Councillors and candidates are branded as Team Gisela. I’ve said on this blog before that this is all very well, but a team is only as strong as it’s weakest leak. The weakest link to my mind had to be Councillor James McKay who introduced the infamous garden tax, and resolutely stood by it when all around where criticising it and pointing out the obvious flaws in his policy. (Like the fact that what do you do if a third party dumps garden waste outside your house and the Council refuses to take it away – a problem Steve McCabe has apparently only just thought about, according to the Birmingham Mail story.)
The garden tax and Cllr McKay are inextricably linked. Which rather puts the garden tax at Team Gisela’s door too. So what does Edgbaston’s Labour MP do now her Labour colleague Steve McCabe has decided to speak out? Join him in calling for the garden tax to go? Or defend it to the death as it was introduced by one of her own Edgbaston & Team Gisela’s Labour Councillors? Rather a dilemma! Especially as the cost of re-introducing it is minimal given the scale of Birmingham City Council’s budget, and the ridiculous way it has been introduced – with crews still routinely failing to pick up the garden waste of those people who have paid for the service, and the carrying out of a city wide clean up just before Polling Day (how convenient!) – must be severely eating into any savings made anyway.
The policy is a disaster, Conservative Councillors have been saying so for months. And now a Labour MP has admitted it too.