SCARCELY three weeks elapsed before the newlyelected Labour administration in Southampton found itself paralysed by infighting and incompetence. Three-quarters of local government finance comes from the general taxpayer, so everyone has an interest in how the city is run, whether they live within its boundaries or not.

How the two-thirds of residents who did not turn out on polling day, thus letting in Labour and the unions by default, must now be regretting their apathy.

These rookie councillors promised the earth before the election and now find themselves completely out of their depth.

In short, they are not fit to tie the shoelaces of Royston Smith, the former city council leader, who must be looking on in absolute astonishment at what is happening.