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Friday, 29 October 2010

Moylan lunch bill comes onto the radar

Well, the competition launched by Hornet earlier this really has opened the flood gates, and to those who specifically requested not to have their comments published you can see Hornet is good to her word.

But thanks for the info anyway to everyone. Lets take a look at the lunch you, the taxpayer of K&C paid for Cllr Moylan to entertain a chap called Marc Vlessing. This info is publicly available on the council website.


Now Hornet doesnt purport to know Mr Vlessing, nor even to have heard of him, but clearly Cllr Moylan has, or at least did, as he submitted a bill of £60 for a lunch between these two chaps.

Dining in luxury at the Royal Garden Hotel chinese restaurant Min Jiang between them they ate Yam Croquette, Prawn Rolls, Duck Rolls, Siew Mai (pork dumplings Hornet thinks), a steamed bun (Xiao Long Bao), and some turnip dish.

The two "Snowy Flakes" are not the things that gave Anthea Turner a headache, its Tiramisu with Chocolate, two of them AND a slab of the old cheesecake as well, tut tut tut.

Polished off with a double espresso, each, and a £5.50 tip to bring the bill that you kindly paid for, to a round £60.

Nice work.

So, who, dear reader is Moylan entertaining at this chow-down that you have very kindly coughed up for? A chap according to the council called Marc Vlessing.

But who is Marc Vlessing?  Hornet has no idea and thanks to a little detective we shall call "UB40" (thats what he or she called him or herself) we have some information on a chap who shares this very name.


From the information supplied to Hornet, from publicly available sources (yes, Hornet has verified this) Mr Vlessing has in the past been a director at an international bank, and at a company that is owned by various financial firms sending messages to each other.

Now he is involved in an investment company, venture capitalists you know the kind of stuff they do, and a boutique company that specifically targets people who earn too much to qualify for social housing, but not enough to buy on the open market - a kind of estate agent.


A director at international bank in the city, other  financial firms and an estate agent...


Now that got Hornet kind of wondering......................

Hornet had another quick gander at the Declaration of Interests submitted by Daniel Michael Gerald Moylan, and can see he lists amongst his numerous business interests "Egan Associates" that "provides financial training and consultancy services to banks, securities companies and other financial institutions"

DMGM is also a director of "The British Real Estate Fund" incorporated in the tax haven of the Channel Islands and listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. He is also involved in "Glanmore Property Company" and "Glanmore Investments Limited"

.... a financial industry related firm and a property company.


So dear reader, Moylan is the Cabinet member for Planning. In order for him to submit receipts for external meetings, like this one, then it needs to be because the business conducted at the meeting is related to Moylans responsibilities as a member.

So what could the Planning supremo possibly be discussing, council related, with Mr Vlessing that would justify him submitting this receipt for you to pay?

There is absolutely nothing wrong in Cllr Moylan meeting Mr Vlessing in a personal capacity, and Mr Vlessing has done absolutely nothing wrong at all. But if it was a meeting discussing in whole or in the main personal business interests, Moylan has absolutely no right to make the council tax payers of RBKC pay for it.

The question is, were the matters under discussion more to do with Cllr Moylans private business interests rather than his responsibilities in council - as it would seem when you consider these circumstances - in which case, why did he submit the receipt and will he refund it?

If not, Moylan should 'fess up and tell us exactly what was going on?

If you are Marc Vlessing and would like to let Hornet know please click on the "comment" button below.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

"Mit solchen Freunden braucht man keine Feinde mehr" Anon.

Where are friends when you need them, with friends like these who needs enemies (Anon)? That could have been The Great Architect's cri de couer as he struggles to pacify residents furious with his rude and aggressive outbursts aimed at any resident impertinent enough to question his expenses; his conflicting roles at Tfl and RBK&C and his cosy breakfasts with French ad men.

Some councillors are astonished that the Leader has not seen fit to spring to the defence of his Deputy. However, the more seasoned say that far from sympathising with the plight of the Great Architect the Dear Leader is revelling in his extreme discomfort.

There are many reasons why this would be true. After all, just weeks ago the Great Architect was profiled in the Standard boasting about his untrammelled power in the Borough and beyond. No wonder it sparked the fury of Resident Associations horrified by the conflicts his dual roles caused. But don't forget how angry it made the Dear Leader; after all he had just seen his take from London taxpayers nearly halved whilst the Great Architect had managed to boost his by 40%. And then to have his nose disjointed by Boyo's claim that he was the eminence grise not the newly ennobled resident of Philbeach Gardens...well who wouldn't be mortified?

But back to the issue in hand. Perhaps also the Dear Leader might be relieved that his own very private tĂȘte a tĂȘtes with big time property tycoons would go unnoticed.  Sadly, the Hornet has to warn the Dear Leader should not be over sanguine on that front.

Soon she will be revealing the many occasions when he has been able to luxuriate in the generous hospitality of some of those who have made many millions operating in the RBKC (the Rotten Borough of Kensington and Chelsea).

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

WestEnders



 Episode V







"Nasty" Nick Paget-Brown has jumped to the command of La Baronessa and booked several suites at a prestigious country house hotel not far from Godalming. He and the Cabinet have had a quick run down from town with Spalding carefully avoiding speed traps.

The gleaming new supercharged Bentley limousine with its massive V20 engine pulled silently to a halt and nosed to it's place amongst the gleaming array of Bentleys, Rollers, Astons and Porsches. With their personalised number plates such as LUV1E, FOOTIE and RITC1E. RBKC 1 stood out for it's mayoral dignity. But where was the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea whose motor it was ?

With a click of his booted heels Spalding leapt to the crested door opening it with a flourish to decant the Dear Leader followed closely by the power elite of the Borough. He lived in hope that Dear Leader would soon get him on the Council.  With a practised hand Spalding reached in to push shut the discreetly lacquered cocktail cabinet and pick up the detritus now nestling in the depths of the fine grey Wilton carpet.

Sighing he thought of how he missed the 'gentry' he once so happily served. His reverie was rudely broken by the vulgar roar of RBKC 2. Slamming on the brakes the driver leapt from the Deputy Mayor's Jaguar and with a casual nod in the direction of Spalding threw him the keys. It was none other than Councillor 'Buffy' Buckmaster and his friend Cllr “Boyo” Moylan aka The Great Architect

What fun the friends had had on the journey down as they regaled each other with stories of their African adventures and their devoted employees who looked after them so well. You don't get chaps like that any more he mused. It was a pity the Mayor had emptied the cocktail cabinet before their journey; as he rather hankered after a stiff pink gin.

'Buffy' was dressed flamboyantly. His tightly waisted hounds tooth suit was set off by a well buffed pair of brogues, which like his shirt was hand made by Jermyn Street's finest. Wafting a cloud of cologne from Penhaligon he marched to the vast Gothic door of the exclusive Surrey Hills Country Club Hotel.  Entering the high vaulted reception 'lounge' Buffy moved towards the gaggle of his fellow councillors waiting expectantly for the arrival of La Baronessa. They had not long to wait.

A clatter of a Sikorsky helicopter landing on the helipad heralded the arrival of La Baronessa.

But who was that with her ? With a scream 'Boy' Marshall dropped his XBox and yelled, “it's her...it's her”. For in truth it was...La Baronessa had delivered... there stood the immaculate apparition of Madonna. Our councillors stood gazing spellbound. Could Madonna really 'save their bacon'?

The Dear Leader momentarily lost for words regained his composure and with a deep bow practically genuflected in front of this icon of our times. Just in time he was able to deliver a smack to “Boy” Marshall who was pushing past him autograph book in hand.


Excitedly, these most powerful of men were reduced to incoherency. Fame had at last touched them.
Would they now be able to move on and regain the patronage of Dave and Mr Pickles.

Suddenly, all their dreams appeared about to be shattered. From "The Squires Bar" they heard a booming voice addressing a group of Pringle sweatered golfers. It was none other that Ex-Councillor and former Royal Borough Mayor Mr Phelps holding a large goblet of Chateau Palmer.


"Hello Cockle”, he roared. Angrily The Dear Leader corrected him, " its Coc -kell, if you don't mind. "
“ I certainly do not”, he guffawed and pushed past the new Knight.

Just at that moment the terrible thing happened Madonna seeing the disturbance looked around the corner into Squires. With a cry she embraced the Bearded Barry. “Barry, how wonderful to see you”.

"My Dear Girl,the last time we met was at Arnie's Celebrity Reception in Santa Monica. What are you doing with this band of reprobates"?
 

With an aside to his rapt audience he told them how he had been advising the Governor on deficit reduction.

With sinking hearts the Dear Leader's inner circle realised that all was lost. Cllr “Buffy” Buckmaster attempted to distract the famous singer with a rather good impression of George Formby but by now she was utterly in the thrall of the disgraced councillor.


Next time...will the gang manage to get rid of Bearded Barry and how much will it cost

Cllr Moylan in the spotlight, again over £71 breakfast bill

Oh Dear. It never rains but it pours for Danny Moylan.

Not content with having council tax payers foot the £4000 bill to have DHL send stuff out to him while he is on holiday in Thailand (despite the best efforts of the RBKC website to put up a smoke screen otherwise), Hornet can reveal (thanks to an unknown source) the extent of Moylans expense claims on lunch, £385.53.

Four trips to the exotically entitled "Min Jiang" restaurant at the Royal Garden Hotel where one can enjoy Braised Whole Abalone with Shittake Mushrooms and Oyster Sauce (£65) or Pan Fried Shanghai Chicken with Prawn Dumplings. But it would seem the most consistent item on the invoices submitted by the former Birmingham boy is the cheesecake, tut tut tut.


Here is a copy of the receipt for the five star Milestone Hotel submitted by Moylan entertaining three guests at your expense. A rather expensive breakfast of Eggs Benedict with ham (a posh name for egg mayo) and two continental breakfasts. Probably comes with OJ, and unlimited tea and coffee.

£71.68 for breakfast for three is a little steep, but, of course dear reader, only what the tax payers of K&C should gratefully bestow upon Cllr Moylan.

However, there is a reason why Hornet has singled out this receipt. She could have shown you the one that wasn't lunch, breakfast, or just G&T's with I&L at the hotel bar, she chose this one...

Can you spot the reason why?  Look closely at the receipt....

Got it yet?

Let me give you a hint, Cllr Moylan is the Cabinet Member for Planning... there, a massive pointer for you....

Well, for those still floundering around, look at the handwritten note at the top of the invoice written either by the man himself or the council officers processing the expense claim. It says who was at the rather expensive breakfast, and one of them is JCDecaux...

This is not an emissary from the French Embassy (perish the thought that our lowly elected councillors would be entertaining foreign dignitaries.... more on that later), its a company, one of the worlds leading outside advertising companies. They own or rent, and operate thousands of bill boards, hoarding sites, electronic ad sites, and place ads on bus stops, park benches and anywhere really they find and think is profitable.

You see where Hornet is going with this?

For those still who cant smell the breakfast blend, JCDecaux will in many cases have to apply for planning permission from the planning authorities (ie Councils) to erect advertising hoardings or to place static or electronic ads on "street furniture" (council-speak for benches, lamp-posts, bus stops, litter bins, fag putter-outters, etc).

Thats it, Hornet has heard the penny drop....

The question that needs to be answered by Cllr Moylan is why the cabinet member for Planning was entertaining a major company that was, is, or will be a major planning applicant in the borough. He has submitted an expense for the meeting, so it was a "council related" meeting, where are the minutes? Who approved the meeting? Why wasnt a council officer present?

So the onus is on Moylan to explain the nature of this meeting, and all the others he has dutifully claimed for and published by the council. Who are the attendees, and what was the purpose of the meetings?

Perhaps he will revert to the "Cockell Conumdrum" response and it will be a case of "I cant remember", only time will tell.

It is important our elected representatives are trustworthy and above board, everything Hornet believes Cllr Moylan follows - but it is equally important they are seen to be beyond reproach nor placing themselves into positions that can be questioned. Behaviour of this nature clearly sends the wrong signals and alarm bells should be ringing.



In the meantime, Hornet has a little competition for you, write in with an explanation on who these people are and why you think Cllr Moylan was meeting them. The prize for the best answer will be a St Charles In-Touch; Marc Vlessing, Patricia Brown, Pierre-Jean Jean, Dame Sally Powell, Sir Simon Orr-Ewing, Colin Barrow (yes, she knows he is leader of Westminster, so you will need to come up with something better than that to win).

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

LDA meger with City Hall?

Following on from Bojo's "Stalingrad like defence" of the TfL budget, where Gorgeous George has axed over 20% of the funding over the four year period covered by this Parliament; at least he can crow about saving CrossRail and the tardy tube upgrades.

Now we see the Coalition axe falling on the London Development Agency, and its funding streams to boot!

No one is really surprised the LDA has been cauterised, it has had its neck in the noose for quite some time now, but it has been a given that once gone the Government would re-allocate its funding streams into City Hall or at least part of it as some kind of quango-cum-city-council merger.

Now it seems otherwise.

Few would argue about axeing the LDA international ventures, but the funding it provides environmental work and job creation will be a sad loss for London. Intentional or not, an LDA as part of City Hall, but without the funding is simply a non-starter, so it will be the death throes of a once proud Livingstone creation.

At least Bojo sounds sincere when he says he will "fight this all the way", how far of the "way" he will get though remains to be seen.

EX-FACTOR COUNCILLOR AWARDS Nominations now open

Hornet is pleased to announce nominations are now being accepted for the Ex-Factor Councillor Awards, the results show to be announced in December following the Annual WestEnders Christmas Panto.

Get your nominations in for special categories such as
  • Worst Attendance
  • Highest Expense Claims
  • Useless Events and Political Posturing
  • Special Award for Total Disregard of Public Funds

    and many more.   Over the next few weeks Hornet will be revealing some of the nominations in the various categories.

"It is the sign of a good councillor that I want to represent residents fairly" Cllr Daniel Moylan

Now Hornet isn't the type of girl to bash a guy when he is down, but some interesting correspondence has been delivered to the Hive relating to Cllr Moylan. You, dear reader, have seen elsewhere on FTHN Moylan putting up a rear guard over his outrageous use of public money having papers couriered to him while he is at his holiday home in Thailand. It was in Private Eye too (blush).

In a thinly veiled response to enquiries made by the Kensington Chronicle we have seen Moylan state ""It is the sign of a good councillor that I want to represent residents fairly" so it came as a bit of surprise to Hornet when she saw the response of Moylan to a concerned resident and how he deals with them "fairly" - fairly badly Hornet suggests...

 Now when dealing with members of the public can be a testing ordeal sometimes, but if you stand for public office, and are elected, it sort of comes with the territory. Far from being something that you consider an irritation or distraction, you have to accept that it comes with the trappings of high office.

If someone writes to you expressing a view or opinion then as an elected member you are obliged to take said views and consider them, irrespective whether you think they are right, wrong or from the planet venus.

The sign of a good councillor is one who can take opposing views and then after careful consideration determine what is the best course of action in the interests of the borough and democracy, regardless of their own view and opinions or from whom the arguments arrive, and articulate them bringing people closer together, rather than driving them further apart.

This email demonstrates clearly Moylan at his best. A resident raises an issue but rather than Daniel explain why his course of action was taken (perish the thought!), or to offer opposing arguments and reason why he took the route he did, he just insults the sender. This is definitely not the sign of a good councillor.


Hornet can appreciate being a councillor means you receive unsolicited communications from a variety of sources on many occasions, but that is the beauty of democracy. Our elected representatives are there to serve us not the other way round, so they should deal with each responsibly and respectfully.

No one should be belittled, bullied or ridiculed by those in public office. No one.

Monday, 25 October 2010

"If anything, I should be praised for this." Cllr Moylan on his £4000 DHL Courier Bill

Hornet is proud to have been the source of the revealing facts that Cllr Moylan has cost the boroughs tax payers thousands of pounds having so-called urgent papers delivered to his holiday home in Thailand over twenty times.


Now we have the councillor actually having the audacity to defend his actions, claiming we should be thankful for it! What a cheek!

Moylan is living in cloud cuckoo land and is trying to defend the indefensible. At a time when the country and city are faced with savage budget cuts it is ludicrous to even consider spending thousands on one councillor in this fashion can be considered acceptable. Its not


Lets have a look at Moylans homilies and deal with them one by one....

"I have business interests, which mean that if I am to be a good councillor, I put some extra hours in"

NONSENSE! If he has business interests that keep him away from the Town Hall, resulting in him having to have papers couriered to him at his holiday home, more than twenty times paid for by the tax payer, then he isn't value for money. Just because he says he is putting in extra hours, how does the taxpayer verify these claims? If he is away "on business" he wont have time to consider council business or his own personal business will suffer so exactly when does he fit in the council work? If his business interests conflict to this extent with his duties as a councillor, then he clearly cannot do both effectively.


"I like to represent residents in my ward fairly and properly, so I get documents sent to me while I am on holiday. "

BALDERDASH! The papers were all sent to the same country, Thailand, so one minute he has "business interests" abroad and the next he is on holiday, this confusion just adds to the controversy. No one would mind a councillor having a break, its important to recharge batteries and return afresh. But Moylan took over 20 trips that we know about that had papers couriered to him, possibly more. The best way to represent your constituents is to act like them, take one holiday a year for a couple of weeks if you're lucky enough to be able to afford one, and deal with constituent issues when you are back in the borough. He is on holiday so he could be at his antique pine inlaid desk in his oak paneled study, or he could be flicking through the papers with a pina colada around the pool chatting to his friends for all we know.


"It is the sign of a good councillor that I want to represent residents fairly, even when I am on holiday, and shows that I am doing a good job."

BUNKEM! The sign of a good councillor is one who represents his/her constituents views at the Town Hall and is accessible to them when needed. A councillor who buggers off to Thailand at the drop of a hat dozens of times and then expects the voters to pick up the tab so he can complete "urgent" work while away is definitely NOT the sign of a good councillor. Quite the opposite in fact. The only good job in this situation, is him getting the council tax payers to cough up so he can swan off when he likes.


"I do not see that I have done anything wrong"

No surprise there then Danny boy!



Hornet has some tips for Daniel, as she knows he reads this blog..
  1. When you go on holiday, do exactly that. Its important you get some r&r..
  2. While you are away the other two councillors in your ward can handle your casework (if you have any) until you get back, your constituents wont begrudge you one holiday a year.
  3. If you do have the need to sign some "urgent papers" then really you shouldn't be going away at all at that time, you should be in the borough.
  4. If you dont want to follow tips 1-3, then you need to consider resigning your position
  5. Refund the money by donating a sum at least equal to the amount paid to DHL to the Mayors Charity, Help for Heroes.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Kensington Academy Double-Speak


This is a cutting from the most unread publication in the borough, the innovatively entitled Royal Borough free council rag that is shoved through letterboxes every two months or so.

This is the front page of August 2010 edition, heralding the arrival of the planned Academy school in North Kensington, built on the land currently occupied by the Kensington Leisure Centre.

If you believe this missive from the Ministry of Truth, the centre is "reaching an age where major investment will be needed to keep it operating".


Now that got Hornet kind of wondering.....

She normally has a good memory and Hornet managed to fish this out of the rabbits cage bedding area, and its from the same unread journal but from December 2007......

Yeah, back then the council were crowing how they spent £650,000 of our money on improvements at the centre.



So quite then how is it just over 2 1/2 years later the centre is suddenly no longer fit for purpose?

If its true, which Hornet doubts, then who the hell is responsible for flushing £650,000 of council tax payers money down the drain and who is going to be made accountable.

But of course, dear reader, its more a case of journalistic licence, there is nothing wrong with the centre as it stands now. Its all to do with convenience to squeeze in additional places in North Kensington because of appalling planning of school place provision.

And that is the responsibility of the Dear Leader.

The CZ is dead... Long Live the CZ!

So now we know the much maligned western extension of the congestion charge, the last bastion of Livingstones London Legacy will be consigned to the dustbin of history on Christmas Eve 2010.

But, beware dear reader, Hornet has been buzzing around some people at conference, and has delicately topped up their glasses with the fizzy wine, which helped their mouths become a little loose...

Hornet understands that in some corners of the Nest (the Town Hall) there is a suggestion that a special "mini congestion zone" could be introduced by the council alone. Charging people to drive around certain parts of the borough deemed "inside the K&C Congestion Zone".

So while Boris and co at City Hall have finally delivered on their promise and ditched the zone in the borough, it may only be a brief respite before its introduced again this time by the people you voted in, and campaigned against it when Livingstone first mooted it!

You heard it here first!

Ministry of Truth

Hornet is pleased to bring you a new series, the Ministry of Truth Update, which brings you snippets and highlights from the most unread publication in the Royal Borough, the free council rag The Royal Borough (such an innovative title).

You may be interested to know, dear reader, this bluetop is produced six times a year, with 95,000 copies produced each month. It costs £48,392 to produce and £28,690 to deliver.

Funnily enough there are no statistics on readership! Wonder why...


The front page leader in Octobers edition opines on "Developing Great Schools" and features the temporary school at Holland Park and Chelsea Academy opening its doors. Much puffing about "the best facilities in the country". All of this out of tune with the Tory Government Michael Goves new policy of "free schools" that are decoupled from the dead hand of Town Halls. For some reason K&C is continuing a discredited and failed policy, with vigour, for reasons of personal importance and grandeur. Hornet thinks that Education is the councillors last train set to play with.

Also in the news is the new academy for North Kensington, where Cllr Campbell (the one who got on so well with her Redcliffe colleagues she switched to Royal Hospital) celebrates how happy she is with how "the plans for a new secondary school and leisure centre have received such unanimous support." Only she isnt really talking about the people who live next to the soon to be re-developed Ken Leisure Centre as they are most certainly dead against the plans! But then what has residents concerns got to do with anything in the RBKC anyway!

A depressing picture. A Conservative Council out of touch with its Government as well as its residents.

A little further into the rag, and we can see some missives over CrossRail. Something that is good for London but really expensive. The council announces that it has committed £55,000 of your money for a study to try and show evidence of need for a crossrail station in the North of the Borough. This is part of a slippery slope,  spending has started and it may well end up with council tax paying for a train station that should fall within the Transport for London budget.

But that got Hornet kind of wondering....

When not relaxing on a Bangkok sunlounger, Cllr Moylan is occasionally occupied as Deputy Leader of K&C and Deputy Chairman of Transport for London - the people who should be funding this exercise and if realised the station. Does that mean the decision to fund this study could have been influenced by the Great Architect Himself? The Dear Leader and his bloat of accolytes of course will not see it like this, they will see an inside man that he can influence to blow more K&C council tax reserves down the tracks! Oh how little do they know!


And in keeping with this series we shall leave the last word to the "Leaders Leader" and by that Hornet means the Dear Leader, of course (for it is he)...

Banging on about the Olympics, Hornet almost missed it but then she spotted it. The Dear Leader has a new photo, one that makes Him look almost human! Almost fanciable...........        Gok Wan eat your heart out....

Bums on Seats

Now being an elected Councillor in the Royal Borough is such a difficult job these days, what with all the cuts imposed by Dave Nicey-Nicey and Little Nick, Gorgeous George and My Cousin Vinnie. As if that wasnt enough to contend with, its a difficult question whether to wear the blue tie or the orange one, take the Jimmy Choos or the Massimo Dutti off the shoulder number...

What you, the dear reader, may not know is that immediately following a full council meeting in this borough our casework-ravaged members all enjoy some slap up posh nosh, courtesy of you, the taxpayer! How very generous you are!

We are not talking a case of getting the boy Marshall to nip round to the Sticky Bowl for a takeaway...   ...oh no, its proper sit down dining, three courses washed down with some fine wine, followed by coffee and the cheeseboard all served up on silver platters by the council's waiting staff.

Oh how very 1875 - Buffy Buckmaster must think its back to his Colonial days!

But wait...   ...all is not lost. The Powers That Be have decided this perk simply cannot continue, despite it being enjoyed for many years and they have made the commendable (but ridiculously late) decision to axe the tucker and give the catering staff at the Town Hall (the nest) those nights off.

But come on, this is the Hornets Nest, so you know there is going to be a sting in the tail dont you....    oh you are so right!

On the one hand its bye bye to the slap up grub, but councillors will instead receive a new £200 year allowance for attending full council meetings.

And here is Hornet thinking thats what they each receive £10,402 a year for (some considerably more!), and lets face it if you put yourself up for election and happen to win, attending a meeting kind of goes with the territory...   ....although to some dealing with constituents and attending meetings is considered an unwelcome irritation.

If falling attendance really is an issue, then Hornet agrees the best way is some sort of financial incentive, but how about deducting £200 from their generous annual allowances for each meeting they fail to attend?

Hornet is sure that approach will definitely address the bums on seats issue.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

“Council business belongs out in the open, where residents can keep a close eye.” Council Leader, Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell.

Not Hornets words, but those of the Dear Leader Himself, and all very honourable. It is important that where public money is spent, in a publicly funded organisation, serving the needs of the community, and it should be committed to fairness, openness and transparency in all activities.

And so the council bleats on that it does. All's good then.

But then that got Hornet kind of wondering...........

On the councils own "transparency" page there is a link showing the expense claims of the Dear Leader and the Great Architect, you can see for yourself here.

The Great Architect has been recently exposed in Private Eye (Hornet blushes) and the Kensington Chronicle (Hornet blushes again) as having so-called urgent papers being couriered to him while he is on holiday in Thailand. The council website says the cost of Moylans courier was £880 over a 12 month period.

A K&C resident informed Hornet (who doesnt mind being unmasked), David Padua, sent in the revelation that the council website is referring to just four courier drops, when there were in fact over 20. The cost also, isn't £880 in a year, it is over £1400, and the total cost over the last 3 years is closer to £4100.

So much for transparency in spending!

Mr Padua has also supplied to Hornet the excuse reasoning RBKC provided as to why the website says £880 when the invoices say over £1400 for the same period. The council says the website information "is accurate as it is as per the cash ledger used by the council to pay invoices. The date on the invoice or the date of the service may be different from the day the invoice was paid and entered into the ledger"

So thats alright then.

When the council say "These costs totalled £880.02 in the year October 2008-October 2009." what they actually mean is "these are the ones we paid during this time but may not actually reflect what Moylan has cost us"

Quite how that can be called transparency is anyones guess.

More coming soon on the external payments made by the council.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Westenders



Episode 3, Part 3

Fags to Ritchies








ACT3 SC3: Ext/Day Driving Back from Conference

There was bit of a tight squeeze in the Bentley as it tore down the MI heading homeward to Hornton Towers.Up front, next to Spalding the chauffeur sat Cllr 'Lofty" Palmer with Cllr "Boy" Marshall perched on his lap in a safety harness playing with his XBox and looking with pride at his Conference Programme signed by Dave.
The Conference had been exhausting but fears that Ex Mayor Phelps would appear- Banquo Ghost like- had not materialised.

Cllr Moylan flipped open the richly inlaid and laden cocktail cabinet and took out a bottle of Paddies 40 year old Special RBK&C Reserve Irish whiskey and poured a generous measure into the glistening Baccarat crystal tumbler. With an exotic swoop of his hand he flipped a Cockell's Special West African blend cigarette into mouth. Taking an extravagant puff he reclined into the sumptuous Connolly hide and turned his attention upon the half dozing figure of the Dear Leader tucked up under a sheer cashmere Bentley monogrammed rug



DM: Hmmmm smooth, but I am not sure its the best?
MC: [trying to impress] I know I prefer a pint of mineral water
DM: [distinctly unimpressed] Really. You know you can get good wine and spirits from Tesco. I have a cellar
MC: So do I! No wine in it though, an old bike, some smokeless fuel, and two packets of cement, gone hard.

Squashed next to the Dear Leader was La Baronessa “Sweetie” Ritchie busily calculating her new Lords allowances and those from the Council. She shielded her calculations from the Dear Leader still smarting from his exclusion from the Lords. Snapping shut her House of Lords monogrammed expense calculator she turned to the Great Architect with a glacial stare befitting her status as ex mum in law of Madonna

SR: Merrick, we cannot go on like this. Our Council is becoming a laughing stock. What with Daniel having his silk smalls sent out by DHL to Thailand and you spending all that money at the Four Seasons in New York people are beginning to think we are just High Society not Big Society people. We need an image makeover. David is very unhappy with us and so is that awfully vulgar plump man Pickles.
MC: [confused] who?
SR: I propose setting up a sub committee to see how we can promote a lean, mean and keen new image. I have invited Councillor Greenhalgh of Hammersmith and Fulham and Cllr Lister of Wandsworth to meet us for a discreet dinner to tell us how they get so much good press coverage. And Guy will bring along some of his show business friends to help our deliberations.
MC: Who?

The Great Architect splashed more of the RBK&C Reserve whiskey into his empty glass as Spalding allowed the monstrous V20 engine to lap up the miles at 4 to the gallon.

DM: [defensively] Well, buying this car was not my idea and I never get to use it since Merrick took it over it's not fair, he said we could all use it

A steely glance from La Baronessa reduced him to a sulky, impotent silence.

SR: Nick, I expect you to take charge of the campaign; losing Earls Court to that ghastly Wade woman was the final straw.We need a strategy and we need it now

Silently the glass driver's partition slid open and they see "Lofty" Palmer's head descend from the sun roof and through to the assembled company in the back.
MP: Hello Team, what about these ideas?

Knowing that Lofty had been on The Apprentice they wait with bated breath.

MP: How about Cllr Moylan appearing on 'Celebrity Come Dancing' paired with La Baronessa, and our Dear Leader on 'Would I lie to you' on ITV 1" ?. With all my telly contacts I could fix it.
MC: But what would Moylan do?
MP: Well, I hear the I'm a Celebrity are considering moving to Thailand to shoot the next series?
DM: [Alan Rickman style] Shoot who?

Suddenly Cllr Marshall lets out a shriek, he just completed the second level on Tomb Raider.

Everyone: [to Cllr Marshall] Stupid boy

A voice-over then starts, and everyone looks at each other and then looks above them trying without success to locate the source
VO: Can La Baronessa and 'Nasty' Nick Paget-Brown rescue the Leadership from it's crisis. Will Lofty's ideas work and can Philbeach Residents Association run by Spalding's friend, Mr Jenks form a Danny Moylan Fan Club. What sort of people is La Baronessa going to invite to dynamise the Great Leader ? Tune in next time and find out...

END CREDITS

WestEnders is filmed in front of an almost live audience, luckily none of them are voters in K&C.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Mill-E first impressions

So Mill-E has surprised almost everyone, including Alan Johnson in handing him the coveted keys to Number 11; despite it being the job Johnson coveted from early on in his ministerial career.

But what does it tell us about the New Leader of the New Generation of New-ish Labour?

Firstly, that Mili-E doesn’t trust Balls, because he knows that his thuggish determination would hijack the Shadow Cabinet and undermine his authority. Secondly, that by appointing Ballette to any economic brief, it would give the impression that there was a very powerful back seat driver guiding the controls.

For Miliband’s short political survival this was a shrewd move. For making a fist of defeating the Coalition it is insane. It also shows that Johnson is merely going to be an economic fig leaf, and the real Shadow Chancellor is going to be one Ed Miliband. In government, this was last attempted by Ted Heath, who totally controlled Tony Barber. He engineered a U turn which led to his party’s extinction at the polls and spawned Margaret Thatcher and all her works.

So what has Miliband achieved? The making of two powerful mortal enemies for a start. Two Balls are more useful than one. The Ballette is not to be underestimated. After all, she garnered the highest Shadow Cabinet vote. Putting Balls in a downgraded Shadow department leaving him just to attack May on such delights as ASBOS, and Dangerous Dogs, is both incomprehensible and a total waste of his considerable talents.

Giving the Foreign Office, a non job in Opposition, to Ballette is just a criminal waste. And imagine the secret discussions that are taking place with another Miliband casualty, former Chief Whip and Brown fixer extraordinaire, Nick Brown. The fightback has begun, but it will Balls’ not Ed’s.

But the abject stupidity and sheer political naivety of these appointments is how isolated Miliband has become. The majority of the PLP and grass roots didn’t vote for him the Blairites are bitter and briefing against him. Now, he has upset the left and the Unions because he is adopting the Darling approach of halving the deficit in four years, a sort of Osborne lite.

Game on!

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Alan Johnson Interview

Alan Johnson (for it is he) 2010: You don't need to be a professor of economics to be a Treasury minister.It is about getting up to speed very quickly and it is about listening to people.Particularly in this brief it is more about listening to people than reading up. I am not going to do an economics degree in the next few months

Alan Johnson (for it is also he) 2004: "I wasn't a Trot, I was more CPGB [Communist Party of Great Britain]. I did consider myself to be a Marxist - I read more chapters of Das Kapital than Harold Wilson.

Funny that Blair effect.

Er. Thats it.

Hic... its all gravy

Hornet guesses you've missed her, but been busy buzzing around touring the pubs, clubs and receptions of the conferences, in 'pool and 'brum. Hornet has also been making some enquiries along the way about how party anoraks feel about their cherished representatives in K&C - needless to say it was interesting!

So as she begins her massive detox, Hornet means to pick up where she left off. So we are back!

The final part of Westenders is coming soon, one not to be missed!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

For everything else, theres....

Poorly designed child benefit cuts which take away benefits for some families on £44,000 while giving them to other families on £86,000: £1 billion.

Giving party activists something to cheer by cutting benefits for homeless families in temporary accommodation: £150 million

Not having to explain where the other £13 billion in welfare cuts is going to fall: priceless.

There are some things money can't buy.

For everything else, there's the silly season at conference.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tesco does it bit for THT

Good to see the newly refurbished Tesco Metro in Ladbroke Grove re-opened, and even better to see the Store Manager Martyn Pett hand over a cheque for £1000 to the Terence Higgins Trust who officially opened the new look store.

Hornet believes THT are a vital organisation reliant on donations providing practical sexual health advice and support to those living or coping with, and affected by HIV.

Good job Tesco.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Pssssst! Have you heard.......?

Rumour has it that the Dear Leader attended a training session entitled "Coaching Sessions".

Now that got Hornet kind of wondering, as he usually goes about in the Bentley.

Standing tall with respect

Far be it for Hornet to suggest some of the members in the town hall are incapable of tying their own shoe laces, they now need to be told, in no uncertain terms, to treat the electorate with respect.

At the last council meeting a quiet change to councils standing orders slipped in a few extra words to the rules governing debate. The rules as they stand currently prohibit members from waffling on about nothing, or to engage in tedious repetition or to use unbecoming language when spouting off to other councillors in meetings. There is, or at least was, nothing in "the rules" to stop them from branding a hapless voter a "*****king s**t" or " a complete ****" however.

So to avoid any doubt, the thoughtful bods at the Town Hall who clearly have enough time to kill have come up with the little phrase "...and to treat others with respect" to slot into the rule.

Thats good to know that the people running this borough have to have it in the rules to treat the people who elect them with respect. S*d them all, thats what Hornet says!

NuGeneration NuLabour

Funny isnt how the "new generation" in charge of Labour is made up, largely of most of the old duffers in charge when the proverbial hit the fan in the last Labour government!

But while the world can relax from having to endure those two brothers constantly taking up the air time, eyes can move over to the coalition, which seems to be creaking. Not so much the comments of Dr Fox, of course as defence secretary he is going to be playing the sympathy card, as all spending ministers do in the run up to the spending review. Dr Fox knows he is in an ideal position to play up to the sentiments of the public with our boys and girls in the field needing the extra millions to pay for kit and the like. Its all smoke and mirrors and will come right in the end.

But there is a ticking time bomb in Baroness Warsi the Tory Chairman who is wheeled out every now and again to comment on this that and the other. Not only did she suggest that the reason the Tories failed to land a Commons majority was because of electoral fraud - but not actually saying what, when, why, where, or how - during her 2005 election campaign she put out some rather unpleasant literature.

She attacked Labour for lowering the age of consent, “allowing school children to be propositioned for homosexual relationships”. On the repeal of clause 28 she claimed that homosexuality was being, “peddled on children as young as seven in schools”, and when it was pointed out to her she bleated on about "why did I phrase it like that?". The answer is simple, to pander to the Muslim vote in her constituency.

She is a strong candidate for a sideways move, hopefully into obscurity.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

WestEnders


Episode 3

"Off to Brum"

A 3 part Special.






ACT 1 SCENE 1: Int/Day - Town Hall Members Room.
There is a huge melee of councillors all scrabbling around huddled together trying to get to the front to examine a sheet of paper pinned to the wall. There is much pushing and shoving. Cllr Carouana is sat in a chair knitting, and outside the window looking in is a rather forlorn Malcolm Spalding. 



ACT1 SCENE 2 Int/Day - Civic Reception. 
Reception staff are dealing with a person who has come in claiming to be a member but has no pass. The person is Cllr Moylan


RECSTAFF: I dont care who you say you are, without a pass you cant come in
DM: [nonplussed - speaks very quietly and slowly Alan Rickman style] I dont have it with me [takes an exceptionally slow drawal from his Cuban Diplomat cigar]
RS: Well, you cant come in, and its no smoking in here Sir
DM: [mimicking Alec Guiness' Obi-Wan mind wave] There is nothing of interest here [it doesnt work]
RS: Is there anyone who can verify your identity?

Cllr Buckmaster strolls through reception and Cllr Moylan calls him over. 


DM: Tell this fellow who I am
RS: Do you know this person Cllr Buckmaster?
CB: [in "Jim" from Vicar of Dibley style] No, No No, No No, No No, No No, No. Yes.
RS: Who is it then please?
CB: No, No No, No No, No No, No, its Cllr Moylan
RS: [to DM] Ahhhhhh so it is you, sorry we dont get to see you so often in the flesh [everybody shudders]

Without a further word, DM turns and glides off upstairs, he seems to be walking on a cushion of air, puffing elegantly on his cuban cigar as he goes. CB and the reception staff look on.


ACT1 SCENE 3: Int/Day - Members Room


The melee of councillors has become larger. Cllr Carouana is still knitting, and outside we can see Spalding walking away, every ten paces he turns and looks back for a few seconds before continuing. One by one the councillors realise that the lights in the corridor are going off section by section, they turn to look at the door just as DM comes in.


The paper everyone was trying to see is the transport and bunk arrangements for Party Conference. 


DM: [in Alan Rickman style] So, its here then [he glides over to the melee who part for him, and he looks at the paper pinned to the wall]. Hmmm I see. [He scans it carefully]. So Cockell is going first class, the rest of you...   ...hmmm and I am going up alone? [He looks around for confirmation no one answers] What about my luggage?

Someone in the crowd says sheepishly: We thought you'd want it couriered

DM: So no one wants to travel up with me, is that right? [Silence] I said is that right

Cllr Buckmaster enters the room

CB:  No, no, no no, no no, no no, no. Yes.

END OF PART ONE