Cllr Martin Rowley Makes His Maiden Council Speech

Last week, Martin Rowley, the new Conservative Councillor for Osbaldwick and Derwent, made his maiden speech at Full Council. 

Touching on his ambitions to make this council term one that delivers for the people of York and brings opposing parties together for the greater good, Cllr Rowley noted his regret that the Liberal Democrats had used their first Full Council as senior coalition partners to bring motions forward that do very little in practicality other than provide stories for their latest literature. 

His full speech was a follows:

"Thank you, Lord Mayor,

It is a huge honour and privilege to rise to make my first speech in Full Council. It’s all a learning experience, much of it good but some of it less so as I find my feet as a councillor. I will endeavour to serve my residents as best as I can, but I know that will cut little mustard with you Lord Mayor for whom I am informed Shakespeare is the true language in which you speak. Therefore, I set out a truer context of how my time as a councillor may go, hopefully it will be as Shakespeare said that ‘Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’. However, I am of course aware that his quote; ‘I would give all my fame for a spot of ale and safety’ may in my case be truer.

Turning to the motion.

I believe it is the view of every party that York’s health services and education need more funding. I know it is the view of myself and Cllr Doughty, it was the view of the Conservative Group last term and in terms before, as it is of York Outer MP Julian Sturdy. Of course, for much of the period referred to, the Lib Dems were in national power and taking decisions while doing nothing to address these funding issues. This motion damns the Conservative government whose cuts local Lib Dems always criticise, I do not understand and nor do residents why to York Lib Dems funding decisions by the Conservative / Lib Dem coalition were fine but an identical direction of travel without the Lib Dems in government is profoundly wrong. Unless of course it is political posturing Lord Mayor, surely not?

Lord Mayor, I want to be a councillor to improve people’s lives, and sadly this motion looks like pure political rhetoric and posturing rather than anything tangible. I was warned about the absurd waste of time that motions in the Council Chamber could be and sadly I see it with this one. Everything is about more money or greater priorities without any hint of whatever amount is needed and where it will come from. It is the same campaign we have seen from the Lib Dems in numerous areas including fire, ambulance, devolution, schools and the police; never any detail or substance just a supposedly concerned photo and press release.

We have just had a motion from Cllr Crawshaw which makes a sensible, tangible suggestion and one I was happy to support and later we will have one from Cllr Taylor about which I feel the same. However, that is not the case with this motion.

I will abstain on this motion, as we know this motion will achieve nothing except that a few more Lib Dem leaflets will go out saying what they called for. If we want to achieve things for York, we need to work together, not posture alone."