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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Making an exhibition of ourselves

If you live adjacent to Exhibition Rd be warned-your life is about to change.

Thanks to the repaving with granite mined by Chinese political prisoners andd paid for by  residents;prisoners of Moylan's madcap schemes, adjacent streets are going to become rat runs as traffic that would normally use Exhbition Rd diverts to side streets to avoid the huge congestion that is going to hit this major arterial road.

As soon as Exhibition Rd opens all savvy Londoners will avoid it by short cutting.

And worse is to follow...Traffic Supremo Tot Brill has ordained that a whole series of late night/early morning street parties will take place. Yes, I know what you are thinking...it's ok for Tot 'cause she doesn't  live in
the Rotten Borough.

The Dame warned you first....

Palmer-Gate. Update 3

A sharp eyed officer has informed the Dame that Clouseau Palmer has dropped successfulpreganacy.com (yes, that's the one that used to be linked to Shagaholic and extramarital affairs.com) from his register of interests and at last come clean and registered his ownership of councilskills.com. However, this does not exonerate him in any way as his decision was forced upon him knowing that Downes had reported him.

There is also still the issue of using council facilities. Good try Palmer but you broke the rules and  trying to 'fix' it now is too late. And by the way is David Mitchell still a director? We should be told.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

New Poll

Do you agree the council should underwrite the cost of a CrossRail station in the borough, to the tune of £33 million?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Palmer-Gate - Update 2

The Dame promised to keep you up to speed on the very serious complaints made against Cllr Palmer.

The Initial Assessment Sub Committee is planning to meet on 13 April.

The Committee comprises:

Miss Sophia Lambert who did sterling job protecting the unlamented ex Cllr Phelps when Mr Donald Cameron made his complaint. So enthused was Cllr Phelps with Miss Lambert that all to see he gave a significant kiss on the cheek

The octogenarian and very daffy, Miss Jennifer Ware who, at the time of that Hearing concerning Phelps informed the Committee that she was a friend of  Mr Phelps but was told. 'That's OK: you don't need to absent yourself even though you are heavily conflicted'

So we have only Cllr Coleridge to rely upon to ensure the two ladies treat matters with the gravity deserved. Cllr Coleridge has good form: he was one of only two councillors who sided with residents against Danny Boy Moylan's hated plans for Sloane Square.

So Cllr Coleridge..... we look upon you for English Fair Play in dealing with this very serious complaint about lack of transparency and use of Council facilities for private business.

Poll Results

Should a councillor be allowed to use the Town Hall to promote a business they havent declared on their interests?


Oh dear Clouseau, looks like your onto a loser here.

Over to you Standards Committee........

Kensal CrossRail paid for by YOU

Your local councillors have just approved splashing out £33 million of your money towards building a CrossRail station at Kensal. The cabinet approved this amount to underwrite the construction works last week.

Now we shouldnt under estimate the benefits of having a station in the borough on this new line, but serious questions have to be answered as to why the tax payer of K&C is being made to pay for it.

This is a major transport infrastructure, so the bill should be picked up by TfL.

Hang on...

Cllr Moylan the Deputy Council Leader, Cheesecake Eater Extraordinaire, and all round angry person is also Deputy Chairman of TfL (hold up a second, Deputy this, Deputy that....  ...always the bridesmaid and never the bride 'eh Danny?).

Who is exactly the driving force behind this decision?

Has someone done a deal with TfL that this borough will cough up the readies to enable it? Why did our council leaders roll over so easily and let TfL off the hook?

Shouldn't they be standing up for us?

Did Cllr Moylan play any part in the council discussions on this matter? If so there is a serious conflict of interest? If he didn't, then what is the point of having him as a councillor if on one of the most important transport issues he has to leave the room?

Why do we have a councillor who is also entrenched in TfL? Surely, if you are a councillor for RBKC, Deputy Chairman for TfL, and you bugger off to Thailand regularly somethings got to give....    ....and Phuket! Its probably not the trips to Thailand that suffer....

But, Dear Reader, putting that all aside, what can we expect with yet another major capital project being kicked off with a dip into your pocket?

We don't need a crystal ball, we can look at the history books; Holland Park School has shot up to almost £100million, four times the original sum.

Once we get a station that is built by your money, who is going to pay to run it? Do we just hand it over to TfL or will they expect an annual sum to keep it open? What about the actual railway line, will Daniel Moylan admit defeat on his York Stone project if K&C pay to construct the line from Paddington.

So many questions...     ...so little answers.

This is going to be one very expensive train ticket Dear Reader....

VOTE FOR FAIRER VOTES ON 5th MAY - VOTE "YES" IN THE AV REFERENDUM

A vote for AV on 5 May is a vote for cleaner politics - an end to the cushy "jobs for life" culture that has debased Westminster and destroyed voters' confidence.

That's why we've just published a list of every last penny the Yes campaign has received to date.

We've given more details than required by law and we've given the details far earlier than required. This is a clean campaign for fairer votes - and we've got nothing to hide.

Now we're calling on the people behind the 'No' campaign to show the same commitment to honesty and transparency.
So who's funding the No campaign? Who's the big money behind the tacky ads, the cheap-shot publicity stunts, the shamefaced attempts to distract the nation from the debate in hand?

Eventually, we'll all find out who has donated to what - but we'll have to wait six months after polling day. We think you should know before you go to the vote, not after.

What has the No campaign got to hide? Add your name to the petition now - demand answers from No2AV today.

http://www.yestofairervotes.org/who-pulls-strings

I'm amazed at the incredible supporters who have stepped up to invest in a fairer future for everyone. This really is the people's campaign. Already thousands of individuals just like you have given what they can afford to make a difference to the future of politics in the UK.

This referendum is a historic moment for the UK, and I think the UK deserves to know who is calling the shots in the No campaign.

Sign the petition now and demand an honest response from No2AV - who's funding their campaign?

http://www.yestofairervotes.org/who-pulls-strings

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Keep Mum Shes Not so Dumb!

Really now, councillors who travel on the tube are a rare sight especially in this rotten borough, and when they do they really do need to look around in case the Hornet is buzzing around by them.

Curiously enough they were chatting about May 5th, the date of the referendum for AV and the upcoming by elections. One in Norland and one in Brompton and it seems enough has been done to prevent the two incumbents from throwing in the towel so soon, and it looks likely the voters in these two wards will have to limp on with two councillors who dont really want to be there.

In case any of you are wondering about resignations and the like the rules are quite simple.

Once elected, there are only three ways of getting yourself "unelected"

1. If you resign voluntarily
2. You pass away
3. You become disqualified from office
     (by being sentenced to a custodial sentence, adjudged bankrupt, fail to attend a meeting in a six month  
      period or move out of the area)

Once any one of those conditions are met, thats it. Goodnight Vienna. You are history. Despite the pleadings of one of the independent candidates at the last Earls Court by-election, you cannot be "re-instated", the only way to get your seat back is to stand again at an election.

Now of course that deals with getting councillors out. Once they are out it doesnt necessarily follow that a by election happens immediately - and it certainly doesnt happen automatically!

This is a little secret all political parties keep to themselves from the general public, and they use it to their own advantage. The timing of by elections is something the parties prefer to be in control of.

Hornet is about to blow that one right out the water.

When a councillor resigns the council has a legal duty to publish the vacancy. The council then waits until two electors (from anywhere in RBKC not just the affected ward) write in to the Town Clerk demanding he arrange a by election.

Then and only then are arrangements made for the byelection, around six weeks after the letters have been received. The letters have to be signed by people who are on the voters list in RBKC to be valid.

If however, the date of the next regular council election is within six months of the date the vacancy is announced, then there doesnt need to be an election to fill it, as its considered too close to the next election.

So, Dear Reader. Next time the council publish there is a vacancy as a councillor has ceased to hold office you can really put a spanner in the works of the politicos in the Town Hall by simply writing a letter to the Town Clerk demanding he make arrangements to fill the casual vacancy immediately.

That will wipe the smirk of some of their faces!

RBKC Tax Payers 1 : Moylan 0

It seems Nasty Nick Paget Brown (NPB) had his weetabix the other Thursday before the cabinet meeting.

Danny Moylan, the Cheesecake legend exploded in fury at NPB demanding to know why the York stone paving programme had been removed from the budget.

Not to be budged, NPB found the gumption to stand up to this gargantuan bully even when he vented his spleen and spat out that he demanded a written explanation for this heinous crime. Our hero brushed the Brum Bully aside saying its all irrelevant as the decision has been made.

Realising he was on to a lost cause the Great Architect then resorted to what he does best at times like these, descended into a teenage sulk and spent the rest of the night crying silent tears. Not that anyone would have cared!

Hornet has suggestion for NPB and that is to provide a written explanation containing simply the picture on the left.

Hornet gives NPB a big kiss! Well done.

"The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away."

The Driveller tells us that he and colleagues are 'business leaders of many years experience'.

The Dame never allows a challenge to pass by so she took a look at the credentials of these 'business leaders'. She focused on some of our senior cllrs whom presumably he was referring to. Here goes...

First up is none other than Sir Cockle. Sir C's business experience is not worth a row of fags his two-man band company operated from deep below the Party offices in Manor Street. One would have thought that flogging fags to Africans was a no brainer. But you would be wrong-it was a failure and his site seems to have been hijacked by the Chinese.

Next up is the very charming and well dressed Baronessa Ritchie. Her Business Leader experience? Well all we could find out was that she once worked for Grand Met-in the typing pool.

So what about the Cheesecake Eater? Apart from his training company ran with Big Finance Chief Light Foot he is has a a couple of non exec directorships with some property investment trusts. Sadly their value declined by some 90% over the last couple of years...not so clever.

And what about Nick Paget-Brown? Nick is a nice guy but would be first to admit he is no business leader and has been full time on the council for years. Although he is editor of an environmental rag it seems.

Finally, what about wild haired Julie Mills? A definite no: her only experience is as a junior barrister.

Well what about that business giant Clouseau Palmer? Sad to say Sugar was hardly sweet on Palmer describing him in the most derogatory of terms and laying into his business model.

So there you go.

Pal-less in Reform Club

Dame Hornet likes to get to clubland from time to time.When she heard her local government hero, Sir Cockle, was due in Pall Mall to lecture Reform Club members on the future of local government her excitement knew no bounds.

She had been told that the Political Committee's soirees attracted standing room audiences of over 80. With that in mind she managed to smuggle her way in early to avoid the rush.In dribs and drabs, a lacklustre group of local government 'anorak' members started to shuffle in. But where was  the crush of eager members? Just eight had turned up-not the normal eighty/ninety.

Looking down into Pall Mall from her eyrie on the curtain rail the Dame saw the Leader's Bentley behemoth RBKC 1 rolling to a halt in front of  the portico'd club entrance.The ever faithful chauffeur Spalding, rushed to ease the Dear Leader out from the rear.

But where were the press of eager members keen to hear about making money in local Government (don't you mean saving money in local government? Ed).  Tears welled up in Dear Leaders eyes: the triumphal moment he had been waiting for was just a damp squib. There was no sign  of his old friends Mr Pickles or Mr Shapps in the audience. None of the high and mighty of the Party he had worked so hard for had bothered to come along and listen to his witty and well crafted speech: a speech that he had spent days crafting and honing .

Was it all worthwhile he thought and then remembered the chunky £70k allowance,the fine hotels, first class travel and all the other trappings of power he so relished-that did make it all worthwhile. 

Palmer reported to Standards Board

The Dame is fortunate that Justin Downes agreed to keep readers posted abut the progress of his complaint to the Standards Committee. His complaint alleges Cllr Palmer

 - failed to register his ownership of CouncilSkills.com
 - used Council facilities for the purposes of his business

Currently the Standards Committee is the only process residents 'own' giving some degree of exposure to misbehaving councillors. Readers will recall that Downes's complaint about ex Mayor Phelps led to his resignation- but that was at the behest of the Town Clerk-not Sir Cockle. Sir Cockle would clearly have wished to pardon Phelps-they being very good friends and political allies.

Doubtless that extreme sanction will not be applied to Palmer, however it will interesting to see what
happens when the Initial Assessment Sub Committee considers the complaint in April.

Will they recommend monitoring his future behaviour or training? The Training option would be ironic; after all is that not what the good councillor claims to provide through his company, CouncilSkills.com

Our experience of the Standards Committee is that it is toothless and does the the bidding of Cockle and clique. In this case will they break ranks and deal with the matter as a serious breach of duty? As the Standards Committee is stuffed with Cockle mates the outcome is pretty certain.

However a word of warning....  a national newspaper has decided to follow the Rotten Borough's disciplinary process so attempts to circumvent Cockle's foolish and hollow claim that 'council business belongs in the open' will be seized upon by the mighty Third Estate. Committee members you have been warned...

Watch this space for more updates on progress.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

New Poll

Should a councillor be allowed to use the Town Hall to promote a business they havent declared on their interests?

Poll Results.

Do you think it is right a Councillor should earn money from a website that encourages casual sex, and extra marital affairs?


74% of respondents believe it is wrong for a Councillor to earn money from a website that encourages casual sex. 

Anyone know of one doing this?

Tickets to the deserving...

The Dame trusts the Royally Rotten Borough will not dip into the coffers and purchase Olympic Tickets for the benefit of Senior Officers and Councillors.

LOCOG, the organising committee have made available for purchase a swathe of tickets for local authorities ranging from £95 to over £1000 each, depending on the "level" of the event. The final of the mens 100 metres and opening ceremony will come in close to the higher end of that, whereas the minor heats of the table tennis will be somewhat cheaper.

There is absolutely no justification why the council should stump up so that Sir Cockle and co can glide over to Stratford in the Bentley, followed by Moylan in the Jag, enjoy the events and hospitality at the taxpayers expense.

We've done things like that often enough before.


That being said, the Olympics is a once in a lifetime event, and if the borough has the opportunity to purchase tickets guaranteeing attendance at events, then it should do so but give the tickets to those deserving.

There are a number of sports clubs in the borough, and these should be recognised and given the chance to send one or two of their members to an olympic event.

There are a number of outstanding sportsmen and women, both adults and in schools and these too should be in with a chance.

Finally, there is a whole hidden army of volunteers who look after those less well off, the vulnerable or the needy and these are worthy of consideration.

Lets hope the council do the right thing and put aside £10,000 to reward those who deserve recognition.

Ahem, Ahern deserves a nod...

Every year, under the lash of Moylan, officers have been forced to repave perfectly good pavements with luxury York Stone. The cost of this unnecessary exercise ran into millions of  pounds; like the use of granite imported from China-a vast cost in terms of environmental damage and the lives of the political prisoners who were forced to quarry the stuff.

But for Moylan, who bullies both colleagues and officers alike, these extravagances were all part of his 'folie de grandeur'. At last, officers have turned on him and refused to indulge his vulgar, personal whims. So we can now kiss goodbye to his Yorkist ambitions and say hello to huge savings: savings which can be redeployed sensibly in this cash strapped Rotten Borough.

The Dame now hears that not all councillors have remained quiescent about this waste of money. Rumour has it that Cllr Ahern has been discreetly lobbying: he deserves to be congratulated.

Labour and LibDems have so far been quiet about the abuse. But the Dame also hears that Cllr Dent Coad (a person with hard won architectural expertise: (what architect qualifications has the Great Architect himself?), tells everyone who will listen that Moylan's York Stone fixation is bonkers, and a waste of money.

And to those of you harboring the romantic view that this is a good British product-sorry it is not: it comes from Eastern Europe! An expert tells us that its fixation is impractical,it attracts dirt, is prone to sliminess and is expensive to clean. In all a a waste of money, and ugly. And there have been many injuries caused by slipping on its slimy surface

The irony of all this wastage is that Clouseau Palmer...you know the chappie who thinks he can make a personal bob or two with his undeclared interest in CouncilSkills.com and a few other unmentionables never had the gumption or guts to apply his procurement skills in containing the excesses of his vainglorious colleagues. 

Come on Healer; Heal Thyself - or  is it just too scary standing up to Moylan?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Vote YES to AV on 5th May


www.labouryes.org.uk


Why Ken Livingstone is voting YES to AV on 5th May...



Former Foreign Secretary and Labour Leadership Candidate, David Miliband tells Labour Yes why he is supporting a Yes vote in the Alternative Vote Referendum on May 5th, here


Residents First acts...

Justin Downes of Residents First tells the Dame that he has reported Clouseau Palmer to the Standards Committee for not declaring an interest in his little sideline CouncilSkills.com. 

Downes also tells the Dame that he has put in various FOI's to various councils checking to see if they have paid to use it's services (The Dame assumes he means CouncilSkills-not Shagoholic)!

Will keep you posted...

Readers Write....

The Dame is always hyper alert when she gets a copy email from Dr Gordon Taylor, the scourge of waste at RBK&C and the voice of reason and sanity.

In this letter Dr Taylor highlights the most extraordinary piece of unnecessary spending at a time of momentous cutbacks to front line council operations. If it were not so serious it would be risible.
Read the letter and see what we mean....

Dear Merrick,

As you will know the new lighting standards installed as part of the re-development of Kensington High St have a very unusual feature. This is a stainless steel shroud covering the bottom 2 metres or so of each standard. As far as one can gather this is unique. In reply to an FOI request this shroud is for decorative purposes. It also covers some fixing bolts and probably the access panel for the electrical supply. If this latter is the case the shroud would need to be removed to access the electrical supply. The FOI answer also says that the shroud requires less maintenance than the painted standard.

This totally unnecessary piece of decoration to each column has cost us taxpayers some £1,950 each. As there are some 96 lighting standards the total cost is £187,200.
No doubt as Design Champion Cllr Moylan approved this expenditure and is a prime example of the lack of rigour in getting value for taxpayers money.
The perfectly adequate black guardrailing at the east corner of the junction between Kensington Church St and Kensington High St was replaced by a shiny stainless steel railing at the exorbitant cost of £15000. Clearly cost appeared not to be an important factor in this redevelopment.
Yours sincerely
Gordon Taylor
Chairman West London Residents Association


The Dame says contact your councillor tell him/her what you think of this latest extravagance by the Cheesecake Eater. 

Skillful at avoiding the bill

Hornet has reported to you the various ways Clouseau Palmer increases his bank account, click throughs from successfulpregnancy.com, shagaholics, chinese dating, illicit encounters, and many more, some far too colourful to state.

Just remember, Dear Reader, if you get the whim to have sight of these dubious sites you run the risk of contributing to his income, so you may want to think again.

Councilskills.com is the latest one we've uncovered, we were led to to it, as you know, by tracking some of the pseudonyms posted on Hornet. Fear not, its only the ones we suspect of being Clouseau; and yes, we know the others...

Now councilskills.com is a business, it has a director, some chap called David Mitchell who proudly spouts off on conservativehome. The YouTube video is peddling some rather amateur attempt at pushing through some skill to cut costs. Provided of course you "ask your leader"

So whats the problem with that?

Absolutely nothing, a councillor like anyone else can have a business and make money from it. Sorry, satisfy its customers and by doing that make money. Thats right isnt it MP?

Provided of course the councillor states it clearly in his declaration of interests. Ooops, didn't do that did you Clouseau!

And of course secondly, Dear Reader, if you use the facilities in the Town Hall to promote your business, either directly with a fee paying customer; or to offer it free to users but in the process enable you to improve your business, you should pay the going rate for facilities.

Ooops.

Oh yes, Dear Reader, The Dame has received copies of emails sent by Clouseau Palmer to the councillors inviting them to attend his sessions in the Town Hall.


------------------------------------------------------------------ 


Dear Colleagues,

A number of you have said that you would have liked to have seen the presentation on Overpricing and ways to cut costs without impacting on services.
                                                                                           
Therefore two new dates have been selected that will not clash with any council meetings – They are 21stJuly and the 29th July 6.30 – 8.30pm The Town Hall.

Merrick has agreed for this presentation to be opened up to the Labour and Liberal Party as well. This session is recommended by Warwick Lightfoot, Tim Ahern and Christopher Buckmaster (so do not take my word for it).

Please could you check your diary and say which dates you can make.

Matthew
------------------------------------------------------------------ 
EMAIL 2
Subject: Please watch this video, from you tube

There is going to be an exclusive skills session announced in the near future. Only members of the Conservative Group will be attending.

The council is looking to make massive savings and it is hope you will be part of the solution.

Please have a look at this as a taster.


Matthew


PS if you want to vote for the business idea here is the link
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 




Now it could well be that Palmer did pay the going rate for the rooms at the Town Hall, it could well be the business he promotes paid for the facilities. But somehow Hornet doubts it, if a receipt dated a week or so either side of the date of these emails is provided, Hornet will gladly set the record straight.

However, if as Hornet suspects he used the facilities without paying, Hornet would like to think the Labour Party and LibDems (if they fancy coming out into the open, finally) will do something about it.

Will keep you posted...

V for Vendetta

Its alledged the Clouseau has bemoaned the Hornet has a vendetta against him.

Fear not Clouseau, you are really not that important, just clumsy enough to give the Dame enough to have a go at you.

Readers Write....

A reader has written to Dame Hornet- and you can too Dear Reader- pointing out a pat on the back is due to another councillor.

As ever the Dame is happy to oblige, so to our pantheon of local hero councillors,so far including Cllrs Lindsay, Husband and Campion.

Our gentle reader has seen a piece in the Standard about a fight to save that centre of excellence, the Child Heart Centre at the Royal Brompton Hospital, and she is right there with all the other sane people who seen the insanity of destroying this centre of miracles.

So if you are a resident who has had treatment at the Brompton and want to help the campaign to save, it why not send your comment to the Hornet. We need some reader participation to help save this great institution

Sometimes the Dame wonders whether the world has gone mad. The Council allows Cheesecake Eater Moylan tens of millions of pounds to waste on the unnecessary and irrelevant paving of Exhibition Rd, or the white elephant of a new and unwanted school in Holland Park,(now costing over £100 million) yet this marvellously effective Child Heart Centre run by teams of committed nurses, doctors and specialists is faced with closure because 'the money is not there'. But that is a lie. The money is there: it is just being wasted on schemes of far less consequence than children's lives.

So Cllr Borwick gets a big Hornet hug for championing this great cause. Good luck Cllr Borwick and well done. This is what she had to say...
"This unit has saved the lives of so many. Closing it defies all logic."

Read all about this disgraceful move here and make sure you let the Dame have your comments.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Declaring skills is no brainer

Councillor 'Clouseau' Palmer-not content with being involved with some 'fruity' sites(yes, I know the link to Shagoholics has disappeared)is, as the Dame reported, involved in another intriguing little business trading under the name of CouncilSkills.com. It even boasts
a plaudit from Cllr 'Big Finance' Chief Light Foot.

This site is meant to be about training councillors into how to perform their duties. This in itself is a laudable objective....EXCEPT...one of the basics of local authority integrity is declaring all your business interests so one would assume that all councillors would know it applied to them.

Sad to report Cllr Palmer seems to feel it does not apply to him-hence his omission to declare ownership of Council Skills. The Dame has been informed that a complaint has now been made to the Standards Committee and a Freedom of Information request put in demanding just how much business RBK&C has put the way of Council Skills.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Vote YES in the AV referendum on 5th May

www.conservativeyes.org.uk


MYTH 1
AV results in Hung Parliaments
No it doesn’t.  That assumes they know how people will vote.  It also conveniently ignores that FPTP is more than capable of delivering hung parliaments.  In fact
  1. The last General Election resulted in a hung parliament under FPTP.
  2. There have been more hung parliaments under FPTP in the UK in the last 50 years than there have been in Australia where they use AV.
  3. India, Canada and the UK all use FPTP and all 3 have hung parliaments.
  4. More Countries have ditched FPTP than any other electoral system.

Myth 2
AV is hard to understand.
No it isn’t – it is as easy as 1,2,3.  And remember that people don’t have to give a second preference if they don’t want to. Give them the choice and let them decide!

Myth 3
AV is obscure
AV is used every day by doctors, teachers, trade unionists, journalists, nurses, students, lawyers and others in their internal elections, as well as by organisations such as the Royal British Legion, NHS Trusts, and commercial groups.  It is used to elect party leaders, general secretaries, governing board members and pension fund representatives.   Boris Johnson was elected as Conservative Candidate for Mayor by conservative members using AV.  

Myth 4
AV needs electronic counting machines and would be too costly
The Electoral Commission have confirmed there are no plans for electronic counting machines under an AV system.   Nor should we need them!  They have not ever used them in Australia where AV is also used. 

Conclusion
The fact is our existing system is no longer tried and trusted but tired and rusted.  It needs upgrading and bringing into the 21 Century.  Conservatives have never been afraid to reform longstanding institutions when they were clearly broken down.  We should not be afraid to do so again and vote Yes in May!

Skills for sale

Just a few days ago we had a 'Mr John Parkes' commenting on this blog, claiming to be a resident of Westminster.

The Dame noticed on Conservative Home a 'Mr John Parkes' extolling the virtues of a business entitled "Council Skills.com" on the denizen of Conservatism, Conservativehome.com, see it here

Being the inquisitive busy bee that she is, a quick flick through a few sites reveals the owner of said councilskills.com is none other than clouseau palmer! Is there no end to this mans talents?

If you are a lonely heart looking for love, married but fancy an illicit encounter, or a councillor who can do with some training, Palmer is your man.

Sugar must have been bonkers to let this one go.

What possible skills could he bring to the table of local governments, that wouldnt have them falling under it in fits of laughter?

The Dame wants to know how many councillors have taken up the course and how many taxpayer pounds have been spent by councils on sending councillors to this company. Our intelligence says not so many- fortunately that means not many have been exposed to some of Cllr Palmer's councillling skills. 

Thankfully.

Through his network within the Conservative Party he might still get business. Quite sweet really how he suggests in the video that you should always ask the Leader of your council whether you can go on his course. Funny thing is his website says its only for local government, but the video says it can work for national government too.

No mention in the article or comments of Palmer... Surely he wouldn't be using an alias? If he is, we need to be told. Come on Cllr Palmer/Parkes. Let's have some transparency around here...or what are you hiding?

Holding Back Reserves.... Hold on....

Over the last few weeks Hornet has brought you news on how the council intends to cut services, whether thats by reducing funding or removing it completely from a variety of community groups and service providers across the borough.

You already know there is over £170 million cash held in reserves by this council, and still it proceeds to cut funding to the community.

We are in difficult times economically.
No one has been unaffected by these conditions.
Thankfully this council is well placed to negotiate itself through difficult times.
We can do this because we have always used our money wisely.
And by doing so we have ensured we have enough in reserve for precisely this sort of eventuality.
I can remember recently answering criticisms about the level of our reserves.
But it is these reserves that will go someway to securing our services when many around us will be struggling.

Councillor Merrick Cockell August 2009


So in 2009, with a Labour government at the helm and faced with the economic conditions at the time not too dissimilar than now, it didnt matter because despite what that nasty Mr Brown and co could unleash on the borough, Sir Cockle and his friends had stashed away enough cash to be the knight in shining armour.

Fast forward to 2011, with over £170million still in the pot, instead of dipping into it to alleviate some of the funding shortages the budgets are being cut and part of your council tax is going to actually be paid into the reserves!

What a difference a change in government makes. 

You can listen to the drivel here

Monday, 14 March 2011

Two out of three aint bad...

Hornet learns that coinciding with the referendum on AV on 5th May will be a double by-election, one in Norland and one in Brompton; as she correctly predicted a few weeks back.

Hornet also heard the buzz one of the potential candidates, probably in Brompton may be one of the two councillors who live in Earls Court and resigned under a cloud last year.

Question is though, will failed candidate from Earls Court, Mr Spalding be given another shoe-in ahead of loyal party members in the other?

Two down, one to go.......

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Councillors and Sexy Websites

By now you all know what Lord Sugar said of Apprentice loser Palmer, who is also Lead Member for Community Safety.

By now you all know his declaration of interests states his ownership of www.successfulpregnancy.com, and this is confirmed by the public database of website ownership.

By now, you all know behind this website is a catalogue of dating sites, and meeting places for casual no strings encounters with like minded adults.

By now you all know that Palmer earns money as the site owner each time someone clicks through his website.

Hornet leaves the last word (for now) to the councils own website.

We are fortunate in the Royal Borough to have been able to attract many very capable people as Councillors. The quality of our Councillors is a major factor in the Council's continuing high performance and the Council is keen that it should continue to be able to attract good people. 

Enough said?

More plans for Portobello

Former RBKC Planning officer, Andrew Patterson, was responsible for the much hated redevelopment at 282 - 292 Westbourne Grove on the corner of Portobello Road. Without the management apparently noticing anything amiss, after 6 years of exertion, 300 antique dealers were evicted from the old Lipka's antiques arcade and replaced by spectacularly unsuccessful 10,000 sq ft clothing mega-store: All Saints.

Surmounting the edifice are 4 huge, apparently unsold apartments. The Council Officer then left the Council and has since been engaged by the architects of the same development: Michaelis Boyd. None of this mind Dear Reader is illegal, its perfectly allowable within the rules.

Acting now for the same architects & developers, Mr Patterson recently applied for planning permission to lift a condition on Portobello's remaining large antiques arcade: Admiral Vernon. 

In 1995 a forward-thinking RBKC permitted a basement to be dug - for an antiques market trading only on Fridays & Saturdays. RBKC thus protected dealers; Octavia Hill Housing Trust tenants above the arcade & residents of nearby Vernon's Yard. 

If now granted permission for 7 day trading; it will be compulsory for dealers - with massively higher rents. This will be unaffordable & impractical. Antique dealing requires searching for merchandise. Dealers will leave; creating an issue of critical mass. Portobello's century old Saturday focus will be gone. The developers will have a second huge, empty building awaiting another 'clone' mega-store - willing to pay eye-watering rent.

Those wishing to add their objection to such cultural vandalism, please contact the council plannkng department now,  quoting PP/11/00089.

Credit where its due

Nothing gives the Dame greater pleasure that administering a pat on the back to councillors who stand up and be counted or do good things.

Cllr Husband received an encomium (that's praise Clouseau Palmer in case you thought it was a service from your site) as he has done an exceptional job in raising huge sums of money for charity.

Cllr David Lindsay has received the Dame's Pat on the Back for courage in standing up and suggesting Myers take a 'haircut' causing Darhling Dalton to explode in anger.

Now, Cllr Campion gets a big kiss for standing up to huge property interests and doing what was right.

David Campion did what few other councillor dare do, he put an aggressive and unpleasant architect in his place for daring to scream at the planning committee questioning his ludicrious plan for one of London's most beautiful and unspoilt roads, Phillimore Gardens.

So what caused this 'hissy ' from the cake eater's architect friend, Mr X? The planning committee were looking forward to an uneventful evening with just three "recommended for approval" applications - but things were about to change

First off was an application by the Lord to put an additional 25% on a house in the Phillimore Estate and infill a historic gap between the neighbouring houses.

One resident spoke briefly against the application and asked the applicant to consider making minor revisions to the plan, supporting suggestions made by the Kensington Society.This polite intervention was the trigger for a violent tirade as Mr X then laid into the committee in a most aggressive manner- a sample....

“I am shaking with rage about any suggestions to modify our plans. We are proposing the removal of an excrescence of a roof.... changes to our plans would be an act of vandalism” and “this development is an act of philanthropy.” but when hard nosed architects talk of philanthropy it's time to count your spoons - it's generally about profit .

It was his final comment, “We are managing change and enhancing the conservation area – this is just modest work to reveal the asset.” that led the chairman Cllr David Cameron to mildly interject that it was for the committee to decide.

Campion presumably though his emollient approach might quiet the still livid architect, but far from it: everything was now a personal slight.

The good news for democracy and the over arching of influence of the friends of the Cheese Cake Eater is that having asked a number of reasonable questions the Committee decided to turn it down- a turn up at last for resident democracy and . Well done Cllr Campion and committee.


So come on cllrs you have nothing to lose but your chains by doing what is right - not what He wants you to do.  

From the horses mouth

BBC TV - Apprentice


Matthew Palmer, 39, has a BA in Business and Computing and a postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and is from London. His previous jobs include being a self-qualified stockbroker and a computer trainer. A Conservative Party parliamentary candidate in the 2001 general election, he claims "The objective of a business is not to make money. The object of a business is to satisfy customers. The result is to make money."[1] Palmer was fired in the fifth week for being an 'awkward character' and his 'need for confrontation'. Palmer is also known for being the first male candidate to ever be fired in the The Apprentice UK franchise. Since losing in The Apprentice, Palmer has set up a website for those suffering from fertility-related problems.[2]

Read it here
What it doesn't say, is that from first glance the only solution offered to those suffering from infertility problems is to go online and find someone else to have intercourse with, with or without your partners knowledge.

As for Lord Sugars comments on firing the St Charles chap, for being "an awkward character" and his "need for confrontation" this is all very strange? Are these really the characteristics of the Loveable Palmer we all know? 

Cutting down to size

Dr Gordon Taylor, chairman of the West London Residents Association whose membership runs into many thousands and whose lobbying was instrumental in persuading Boris Johnson to get rid of that pestilence-the Western Extension wrote a highly reasoned letter to Sir Cockle illuminating the benefits of reducing the number of Borough councillors as a cost and efficiency measure. Dr Taylor also reminded Sir Cockle that overpaying Town Clerks flew in the face of the Pickles's nostrums on greed and waste in local government.

The Dame has seen the letter and agrees with everything the Doc says. But then only a blinkered fool would not; after all not only was Taylor a highly experienced and successful businessman but consulted by many senior politicians keen to have his thoughts-not least the Mayor of London.
So what was the response to his letter? 

Well, Sir Cockle obviously decided to let dear old Barbadian born "Dotty" Weatherhead answer on his behalf (and we reproduce below.)" Dotty" as you may know is a councillor who has been a member for well over 70 years and had this to say about local residents

"They wander about with "e-things (sic) stuck in their ears listening to music which is still encroaching on other people or listening or gabbling into a stupid mobile phone...."

Still desperate to convince us that she was not quite on our planet she launched into cyclists (you know, the people Boris is so keen to encourage). ......"and these days with all the twits on bicycles...."

I think we can get the measure of this councillor, can we not? Her short, rude and thoroughly irrelevant response to a perfectly reasoned suggestion from one of the Royal Borough's most highly respected of Resident Association chairman, amply justifies his case for forcibly retiring elderly councillors, long past their sell by date.

We hear that when "Dotty" was asked if she ever held 'surgeries' she got terribly confused and responded, "No, but then why would I? I am not a doctor' !

Anyway here is Taylor's letter to Sir C with Very Dotty's response





Dear Merrick,

No doubt you will have followed with interest the intention of some councils to cut costs by reducing the number of councillors in their authority.

The Local Government News reports that Bucks County council has been given the go-ahead to reduce its councillors by over 10%. Telford and Wrekin Council is to consult residents on its plan to cut the number of its councillors by 25% to save money.

On behalf of our Association may I suggest that the Royal Borough follows this cost cutting route and consults with a view to reducing the number of councillors per ward from 3 to 2. This would reduce the number of councillors from the present 54 to 36. ie a 33.3% reduction.

The present number of 3 councillors per ward is probably related to the time when a third of the council was up for re-election each year. This no longer applies when the whole council is re-elected every 4 years.

The Cabinet system of governance which has replaced the previous Committee style arrangement also appears to require fewer councillors for its effective operation. With the cost of all the RBKC councillors compensation being estimated at £1.2M for the last municipal year ending in April 2010 there is clearly scope to make considerable financial savings by reducing councillor numbers.

You may also have noted that the Chief Executive of Cornwall Council has taken a voluntary pay cut of 5% from £200,000 to £190,000 pa as part of his Council's drive to cut costs. A better than this gesture from RBKC's Chief Executive would be appreciated by borough residents.

Yours sincerely
Dr Gordon Taylor
Chairman West London Residents Association


and here is the rather dotty response...

Dear Gordon

As usual, you never get everything right, but then your short service as an elected member was on that strange body which thank heavens Lady Thatcher abolished. I have only been around since 1962 (St. Charles Ward 6 of us beaten by about 1,400 votes). 

Elections then were every 3 years, the WHOLE Council apart from the 10 ALDERMEN & 60 Councillors. I have found no evidence of rolling elections in London. This changed in 1974 when all Wards in K & C went to 3 members. If Merrick took up your suggestion someone (who is retired with lots of spare time) would have to spend their whole time replying to you, with little spare time to do real Council work.

Doreen

New Poll

Do you think it is right a Councillor should earn money from a website that encourages casual sex, and extra marital affairs?

Poll results.

Well Driveller, and we think you are either that independent candidate or the councillor (yes, we know which one) you have a reprieve. Just don't let it go to your head...


The Driveller is back! A regular commenter to Hornets posts, usually just the one word "Drivel". Do you think Hornet should continue to publish this Councillors posts or not?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Addressing issue

Much has been said about the position someone had placed Hornet into, and the previous post by Hornet and the many comments, many of which have not been published, have supported her throughout.  Palmer's actions on who receives his broadcast email are curious, if not a little sinister.

The comment from an anonymous post asked the question why there were non-councillors included in his broadcast mail.

Now that got Hornet kind of wondering....

Why indeed?

What makes it curious is that one or two of them have in the past been on the receiving end of Hornets sting, and others, Hornet has absolutely no idea of who they are, nor why they were included in the cc of the email.

Perhaps, that shows the true motive of sending the email, and perhaps the sender would like to elaborate otherwise?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Inspector Clouseau

RBKC's very own Inspector Clouseau (with apologies to the late great Peter Sellars) would do better spending time trying to explain why www.successfulpregnancy.com as stated in his declaration of interests being attached to him gives advice of illicit marital affairs, chinese dating, and hairloss. The only thing that is missing is penile disfunction.

Either Clouseau's website interests has been hacked (perish the thought), he is aware of the dubious contents, or his declaration of interests is woefully out of date.

Which is it to be?

Buzzing Back....

Fear not Dear reader, the Hornet hasnt shut up hive and moved off. She has been diligently looking at the recent events and it is a sorry state of affairs.

The website that Cllr Palmer refers to in his recent email to most councillors, a handful of officers and a member of the public has according to him "co-incidently" been taken down, well, as Hornet will show you its more "convenient" after Cllr Palmer had been steered toward it.

Here is an extract of the email:


Dear Fellow Councillors,

Last Thursday night Hornets web site said that emails could be sent by sending emails to the following address. 
anon.email@ymail.com. It was brought to my attention that with the use of Google  the only other place you would find this address was on the web site..... 


The email he sent out claimed that Hornets email was connected to a website containing unsavoury pictures, Hornet had a look at the link included within his email and while there are definitely some peculiar offerings it is by and large a regular image hosting site, similar to Flickr, Picassa, Yahoo Pictures,  and a host of other commercial sites that enable anyone to upload their online albums. Indeed the site owners have clearly stated they will  act against anyone posting illegal material.

The interesting point here Dear Reader, is that the email address field to which Cllr Palmer allures is in fact free text - it doesnt require validation. That means anyone, even you now reading this, can create a profile and in the email field write the email address of anyone you like and it does not send out an email to validate the entry.

In a short period of time you can then Google the email address you entered and lo and behold be steered to that profile page displaying whatever pictures that have been uploaded. Of course Dear Reader, Hornet does NOT suggest anyone do this, nor has she done it herself. She wouldn't stoop so low.

As for hacking, it is true someone has managed to obtain access to the email account used by Hornet which is why it is taken down, and will be replaced shortly. It is probably the same person who, back in late 2010 managed to disrupt the blog page, but thankfully fell short of doing real damage, except posting many hundred gibberish comments. Hornet has been working with the appropriate authorities and bodies to attempt to uncover the perpertrator or perpertrators in this rather sad and sorry affair.

It is all an attempt by someone to silence Hornet or to discredit her to the extent her sources dry up.

Nice try. But the Dame is back.

With a vengeance.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

eMail Account

It would appear dear reader that Hornet has had her email hacked, and therefore no emails sent into the usual email address will be read. Hornet isnt sure of the source of this just yet, but is looking closely.

Until such time Hornet can be sure how this happened, please only comment via the posting on this site as no emails will be read.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Answers on a postcard....

Which very senior council director travels back and forward from Leeds on a daily First Class ticket paid for us by the residents ?

Anyone....?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Just a load of baubles...

Ceremony and tradition are important. Its what defines a nation, and heritage is very important. Its always good to keep the old ways alive, and that includes the position of a ceremonial mayor.

The robes, the ermine, the bling. All stuff even the Freemasons would love...

Its generally a good thing this politically impartial role has, not only in chairing meetings but also in opening school fetes or giving out prizes. Another important role for the Mayor is of course charity work, something Hornet holds dear - and she tips her hat to current incumbent Cllr James Husband for raising around £20,000 so far for Help for Heroes. A worthy cause.


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

She likes a bit of pomp and circumstance, and to see a little bit of history kept going in this day and age. The value of these things can never be quantified, but the cost of them can.

The budget for having a Mayor in K&C, when you add in salaries of paid staff and the trappings of office in this borough tops £800,000 each year. Now Hornet likes a bit of bling, but the robes and chain of office are all hand-me-downs, so what possibly could take up this mammoth budget for such a small department?

Salaries usually are the biggest cost in any organisation, so exactly who is on the payroll in the Mayors Office.

Well, first we have an Assistant to the Mayor, and a Secretary to the Mayor. Then we have a Mace Bearer, oh, and an Assistant to the Secretary to the Mayor. Dont forget the Assistant to the Mace Bearer, and an Assistant Mace Bearer, actually should be the same title, but it is two actual positions. Then of course we have the Chauffer (and its not the failed Tory Candidate from Earls Court, no).

Confused? Then let Hornet spell it out, rather simpler....
  1. A Civic Officer and secretary to the Mayor
  2. A Mace Bearer
  3. Assistant Secretary to the Mayor
  4. Personal Assistant to the Mayor
  5. A Mace Bearer
  6. Two Assistant Macebearers
  7. A Chauffeur
  8. The Mayor

Thats right Dear Leader, no fewer than seven staff plus the Mayor are all on the payroll (The Mayor obviously just gets a Special Responsibility Allowance and expenses, not a salary). On top of this, there is the cost of the Mayoral Transport, the Bentley, plus of course stocking up the drinks cabinet in the Mayors Parlour.

So thats were your £800 grand goes, every year.

Hornet has an idea. Instead of cutting grants so that the elderly have to be bussed across the borough and back again to get a hot meal, or kids are dumped out on the street because their after school club has been axed, why not reduce some of the Mayors staff.

Hornet doesnt want to see council employees made compulsory redundant, and hopes they could be re-deployed elsewhere. But do we really need to have seven people in this office?

No we don't. Its the simple answer.

There should be an Assistant to the Mayor, fine we can live with that.
But he or she doubles up as the Secretary, and the Assistant Secretary. Its 2011, and we've come along quite a way in the world of eOffice, so Hornet is sure one person could quite adequately manage the Mayors diary.

There is a need for a Chauffeur, the Bentley is debatable, but a driver yes.
But he or she can also double up as the Mace Bearer. Or why not let Sixth Formers take a turn in bringing in the Mace for free? Some politics students would love the idea of it....

There you go Lightfoot. Two simple answers to an even easier question, How to save money. It will cut the costs to the Mayors office by over £550,000 a year but critically will not affect the service level one little bit.

Still, theres nothing like a tax payers funded organisation is there.