Last night we debated and voted on the motion as considered in my previous posting. It began with some interesting points, but sadly degenerated into a clear example of why people are discouraged from standing for election or attending councilmeetings as members of the public.
Cllr Smith spoke first to put his case as to why the motion should succeed; Cllr Jamieson responded with his opinion as to why such changes would be detrimental and hence why he would be opposing the motion. Many other Councillors from both sides of the chamber then took their turn.
When we eventually reached the vote, the final insult was delivered with a call for a recorded vote. For those that don't know, many votes are cast by show of hands; it takes perhaps one minute to count for, against and abstentions with the majority figure deciding the outcome. A recorded vote involves every single Councillor being called to cast their vote individually and in turn, and those votes then being tallied up. It is likely to take five minutes rather than one but the point is that every single Councillor's vote gets recorded in the minutes rather than just the overall result. It can be an important part of the democratic process when deciding a vote on an especially contentious subject or one where the outcome is unpredictable and possibly settled by the slimmest of majorities. This vote was neither contentious nor tight (the motion was defeated 40 - 9) and the call for it to be recorded was, frankly, petulant.
A Councillor from Luton Borough Council suggested to me that perhaps making meetings more interesting is more likely to attract people than altering the timings. I quite agree.