I nearly didn't go to the protest on February 1st at the CCC. By the time protest-day was drawing near, Mr M had sort-of handed back his payrise and the government had announced a glorified babysitter would be sitting at the council table in an effort to make everyone get along. Whether this appointment has any legal standing or not is debatable, but then again, what point is there in quibbling over details when it could probably be quickly & easily written into the CERA legislation somewhere. Who knows what's already covered in there... some of the councillors don't seem to have a clue.
Their attempts to coerce the government into dictating the terms of engagement about rates rises and asset sales prompted the Generously-Proportioned Controller from Grand Central Station to call Smiley Bob a 'clown'. To be honest, GPC's not saying something that many of us haven't already thought or said ourselves, although we're not likely to call Bob up later and apologise for doing so.
I bet the only thing Gerry was truly sorry for was doing said name-calling in public, and having it gleefully and instantly reported and repeated. These public outbursts hint at what a circus this whole recovery & rebuild risks becoming.
We need a team of councillors who can work together, and stop acting like children in a sandpit that doesn't have enough toys for everyone. Seriously people, if you wanna play with diggers & dozers, we have enough life-size ones to go around, and enough supersize sandpits (aka demolition sites) to cater for every possible toddler-like turf war.
This bickering and posturing is not what we need. Nor do we need mid-term elections. Whatever precious little momentum we have going at the moment would surely suffer if we stopped everything to hold fresh elections. Nor should we look to Grand Central Station to appoint some kind of Grand High Poobah Commissioner to erase our remaining elected council - we've already lost one of those, let's not go there again.
On February 1st, a couple of colleagues from uni offered me a ride so I ended up attending the protest. Not to shout or jeer or vent my anger at the guys on top of the bonfire, but to watch the crowd, sense the mood, check out the event and its organisers. As I watched the urgent arm flapping on stage and heard the crowd amp up its boos & jeers in response, I did wonder whether the puppeteers were inside or outside the council building... probably both.
Puppet or not, I was there. I was angry enough to turn up and to be counted among the 'Lynch mob', but not angry enough to raise my voice in support of the calls from the stage. Mainly because I didn't agree with the demands being made. When I arrived at the protest site, I saw a man wearing a t-shirt that said 'Official Imposter'. I felt a bit like that.
I didn't make a sign... if I had, it probably would've
For better or worse, this is my city, my hometown. This is where my life is - work, study, & family commitments - it's where my home was, and will be once more after we've rebuilt. I don't want to see the lifeblood of this city drain away along with the thousands of people who have already left or will do so in the near future. There's already enough for us to endure around here, without watching those who should be leading us out of the shit spending all their time throwing it at each other.