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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

That'll do Nicely... the answer

The moment you have all been waiting for....   the answer to the little teaser over the purchases on the councils credit card.

Hornet asked:


what do you think is the odd one out from this list, as in a red herring, something that wasn't charged....

   (A)  Return flights to Nepal
   (B)  Four Apple Mac Desktop Computers
   (C)  Orthodontic dental treatment
   (D)  Two Samsung Q1 Ultra-Thin Personal Computers







Four of you said (a)
One said (b)
Three said (c)
Nine said (d)

We have a winner! The correct answer is (b)
Four Apple Mac Computers were not charged to the council credit card. It was six!

So anon, post up your address to win a white t-shirt with the Hornet emblem, and on the back its enscribed "Buzz off! I'm with the Hornet". Dont worry, your address will not be published!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

PalmerGate Update 7

An interesting aspect that arose form the Initial Assessment Sub Committee's verdict on Cllr Palmer
was the fact that the Committee heard that Cllr Palmer and his director, David Mitchell were running Councilskills from his home.

Now we all know that if you are running a business from your home you are legally obliged to pay business rates. The question is has Cllr Palmer been paying business rates on the portion of his home used to run his business?

Perhaps Mr Holgate of Finance could advise us all of the legalities before everybody in the Rotten Borough follows Palmer's example. One rule for councillors - another for the rest of us? 

If a Councillor falls into Council Tax arrears they are prevented from voting on budget matters, by law. So what happens if a Councillor owes business rates?

The Dame also understands that Downes will be appealing the Initial Assessment Sub Committee decision and this time supported by incontrovertible evidence of the use of Town Halland RBKC resources.



Here we see the council agreeing that Cllr Palmer has broken the rules:

And here is the justification that even though he broke the rules, which is soon to be made a criminal offence (they also confirm that) as Palmer updated his interests once he was found out, they dont intend to apply any sanctions to punish the errant member

Its like someone pointing a gun loaded with live bullets, and pulling the trigger.
Then emptying it, refilling it with blanks, to be let off a murder charge as they have now replaced live bullets with blanks.

Its all very well Palmer has, finally updated his declaration of interests, but Hornet informed everyone back in August, September and October his was out of date. 

And he did nothing.

He didn't update it until after he was found out about councilskills, not before. It was Hornet that found out about his business interests, and it was the complaint made against him that only made the bumbling councillor to get out of his chair and do what he should have done months ago.

The appeal is going in and Hornet understands with additional information.

Maybe the so called opposition could start to ask questions and get to the bottom of this rather sad and sorry affair.

Told you. 
Only a matter of time.

Weekly Poll

The people have spoken and support the switch to AV


Do you support changing the voting method so that MP's have to work harder to get elected?


And the new poll is concerned with the Palmergate Scandal.
In a short period of time, the proposed "Localism Bill" will make it a criminal offence if a councillor fails to update their declaration of interests within 28 days of it falling out of date. Palmer, as we know was soliciting for business through David Mitchell, resident as Palmers home address for "council skills dot com" touting it as a business in October 2010. He updated his declaration in February 2011 - 4 months later.
The councils code of conduct requires members to update within 28 days.
So when a complaint is made over Palmer failing to declare councilskillsdotcom, which would under the new legislation be a criminal offence the RBKC Standards Committee dont think its necessary to take any action now. 
So here is this weeks question:

Should the Initial Assessment Sub Committee have taken more seriously what is soon to be a criminal offence and referred it to the Standards Committee-NOT brush it under the carpet?

Palmergate - Update 6

On Wednesday 13 April the 3 members of the Initial Assessment Sub Committee composed of three old friends and admirers of disgraced ex Cllr Phelps met. Cllr Tim Coleridge, Sophia Lambert and Jennifer Ware were meeting to decide whether to refer a very serious complaint against Cllr Matthew Palmer made by Justin Downes.

The substance of the complaint was that Cllr Palmer had not registered his interest in a company he owned councilskills.com and further he had used RBK&C resources and facilities to promote this business.

The Committee found him guilty of not registering an interest and stating they "view the matter most seriously". The Committee went on to say that Cllr Palmer's omission would shortly become a criminal offence.

So the Dame is mightily confused. Having said that they 'view the matter most seriously' and that "it would soon be a criminal offence" they do nothing about it: no penalty;no referral to his own website for training...zilch! A vast waste of senior officer's time as well as an embarrassment to a council already plagued by cover ups. What on earth do senior officers make of the irresponsibly and dishonesty of their political masters? They must be thoroughly embarrassed.

During the discussion Cllr Coleridge moved heaven and earth to persuade Ware and Lambert to be gentle with fellow OE Palmer. Not that much persuading was necessary.
Palmer, already a laughing stock with officers and colleagues, is shown to be stupid and/or dishonest for failure to observe a cardinal rule: something his own company should be teaching ....'Don't abuse taxpayers resources for your own private purposes'

Jennifer Ware? Well what can one say about this silly old thing that has not already been said. She again proved her lack of courage and independence.

So the Dame has decided to ask YOU, the very people whose trust was abused, to give your view.

Here is the question:

Should the Initial Assessment Sub Committee have taken more seriously what is soon to be a criminal offence and referred it to the Standards Committee-NOT brush it under the carpet?

WestEnders - New Series




Act I / Scene I

INT/DAY: The Leaders Office

Sir Merrick Cockle and Nasty Nick Paget Brown are in conference. They are upset at the recent press coverage that portrayed the borough as trying to tie up street parties in red tape and are brainstorming a way out of this problem

The desk is awash with papers.


Act II / Scene I
INT/NIGHT: The Leaders Office

Sir Merrick Cockle and Nasty Nick Paget Brown are still in conference. They are upset at the recent press coverage that portrayed the borough as trying to tie up street parties in red tape and are brainstorming a way out of this problem.

Some papers have moved but not much else.


Act III / Scene I
INT/DAY: The Leaders Offce

Sir Merrick Cockle and Nasty Nick Paget Brown are in conference. They are upset at the recent press coverage that portrayed the borough as trying to tie up street parties in red tape and are brainstorming a way out of this problem

Cllr Ahern comes in and leaves some breakfast, three shredded wheat for the Leader, and organic eggs on rye bread for the Eco-Warrior NPB. Cllr Ahern leaves as quickly as he arrived.

The Leader is slumped in his faux leather chair with ermine cushions, just in case, while Enviro-Warrior NPB is dolled up like Indiana Jones complete with feather capped hat and bull whip.

MC: Come on Brown we have to think of something
NPB: We have to come up with an idea that will enable us to get everyone in the Town Hall behind the idea of more street parties
MC: Yes, its a momentous occasion, one that doesnt come round so often
NPB: Exactly [he reaches for pen and notices a case of Krug champagne] Is that the stuff bought on the card?
MC: Quite possibly, I dont know, why would I know?

The next four hours are spent in silence, except for the odd slurp of coffee from the Nespresso machine nestled in the corner.The intercom suddenly blurts out a visitor and it makes everyone in the room jump.

INT: Excuse me Cllrs but Rock Fielding Mellon is here to see you

From outside we can hear RFM saying over and over again tell them I have the answer, tell them, tell them

INT: It does sound rather urgent [the voice says in a very cool and calm tone, unlike the person she is referring to]

MC: [Puts down a botte of Krug he had been studying] OK, show him in
NPB: We need him like we need a hole in the head
MC: What?
NPB: Oh its nothing

Cllr Rock Fielding Mellon then bursts into the room MacMillan Peace in Our Time style thrusting a sheet of paper to the two Cllrs who have spent the last 24 hours unsuccessfully trying to find a solution to the current crisis.

Sir M and NPB grab the paper and study it. They pause, look at each other and a wry smile comes across their faces.

ALL: Thats it, we've cracked it
MC: [buzzes the intercom] Krug Champagne all round please, and get me every department head
NPB: Why on earth didnt we think of this before
RFM: Er, you didn't. I did/
NPB: Collective responsibility my boy, you are part of the team. So its our idea.
RFM: Oh. Ok. A decision of all us.
NPB: [Pointing at himself and the leader only] A decision of "us"

Sir M then dictates a memo to go out to all department heads and they instantly remove all objections and redtape from all applications to street parties. Suddenly the RBKC is the easiest place in the UK to apply for a street party.

A similar order has been made for special commemorative flags and mugs to be commissioned enscribed with a face of the former Deputy Leader of RBKC Daniel Moylan and the inscription

"April 2011 - The day he resigned from Cabinet"

That'll do Nicely...

As the Dame previously reported, file containing purchases of over £500 charged to the RBKC Council Credit Card by employees considered of the grade to entitle them to have one, plus Councillors; has landed in her possession.

She already has disclosed to you the cost of "stationery" for the last three months charged to the card being over £12,000 (although none of you had it right....)

In a very short time you will get to see the full list, despite the objections from the Royally Rotten Borough to prevent publication of who actually spent what as they refused to indicate on the file a full list of names.

What possibly is there to hide?

In the meantime Dear Reader, what do you think is the odd one out from this list, as in a red herring, something that wasn't charged....

   (A)  Return flights to Nepal
   (B)  Four Apple Mac Desktop Computers
   (C)  Orthodontic dental treatment
   (D)  Two Samsung Q1 Ultra-Thin Personal Computers

Answers on a postcode (click "Post Comment" to enter).

It isn't a trick question, three of the above are definitely charged to the council credit card, one is most definitely incorrect, only which one?

There is a prize for the first correct answer, and unfortunately it isn't a RBKC Credit Card of your own!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Council MeetingWatch

Tucked up with the hoi polloi, Hornet ventured along to the Full Council Meeting tonight and well, lets just say it it was consistent with most others she has attended in the last year or so.

Apart from Sir M of course, who almost toppled over when leaning back in that chair. Obviously his centre of balance has shifted - must be a great weight off his mind from somewhere....      ....H wonders what that could possibly be......

Many Tories spent more than half the meeting Blackberrying, Moylan amongst them. A gloat were chatting to  fairly loudly so they could be heard above the monotonous drone of the others as they got up to speak one by one. Not that anyone else was listening or even trying to look as if they were paying attention let alone interested.

Laughably, these clowns are actually paid an allowance to attend the meeting. Some of them would be doing the borough a favour if they just didnt bother, rather than attend and contribute nothing.

The council meeting that they attend is supposed to deal with the all important issues; North Ken Academy, local economy, and environment - oh no. Reading the newspaper, sending emails and texts and in Palmers case firing up the old laptop checking stocks to see if he has made a profit - H wonders if councilskills has been floated? Probably sunk without trace as he hasnt been seen much "in his office" lately. Although he has had a face like the cat who has the cream recently, perhaps something to do with the findings of the standards committee in letting him off lightly for failing to update his interests and using council facilities inappropriately.

What did make the night, apart from Sir M almost ending up on his posterior, is how the councillors felt so threatened and under pressure that four security people were called to police the public gallery. Yes, it was full of people who wanted to see the proceedings regarding the North Ken Academy, but as far as Hornet could see none of them had knuckle dusters, coshes, or sawn off shotguns.

Healthy democracy is all about participation, and if the councillors can get away with siting in the chamber chatting, on their phones, laptops or reading newspapers, then why on earth aren't the police called to sort them out - rather than to an orderly collection of members of the public who are trying to save the place where they live - their homes.

You should hang your heads in shame.

RBKC Gain is TfL's loss

Hornet represents no party, but believes it is a measure of a local authority how it treats its opposition.
The Officers, the paid workers, by and large are respectful, polite and helpful to all. Its their job.

The politicians, thats a different story. Look at the tone of this email sent by Moylan to the Labour leader whinging over her motion in support of the local campaign against the proposed site of the North Ken Academy. Totally disregarding the actual crux of the matter, how real peoples lives are going to be really affected if this plan goes ahead as planned.

As if the Tories would have actually agreed with the motion in the first place, thats another matter, rather than try to strike it out from the agenda completely is somehow going to help anyone. It may raise a few laughs in the Tory Office, but that doesnt really sit kindly with the people who are going to have to endure this academy being dumped on their doorstep following a sham of a consultation and planning process.

Who the hell does he think he is? Telling the Labour leader what she should and shouldnt do. If Hornet received such an email from him, it would end up in very little pieces showered over his head.

Hornet was actually feeling a little sorry for Moylan, leaving the cabinet and no one having a whip round for him because they are all probably quite relieved he is going. No Krug and cheesecake. Not even a card, sent by DHL or Royal Mail.

Hornet was getting a little soft. Then this email turned up in her inbox, and the mood quickly changed.

Shame on you Moylan for sending such a disgraceful email. Cllr Blakeman and Labour are probably too polite to say it, so Hornet will say what they, and everyone else is probably thinking...

"Mind your own business and shove it."


Heaven help the people at TfL. 
Boris will be waking in the middle of the night shaking "Oh no! what have i done.....?"


The sooner he clears out his office and clears off the better it will be.




>

Message Received: Apr 20 2011, 10:36 AM
> From: "Daniel Moylan"
> To: "jm@jblakeman.fsnet.co.uk" , "derek.myers@rbkc.gov.uk"
> Cc: "leverne.parker@rbkc.gov.uk" , "jonathan.bore@rbkc.gov.uk" , "cllr.foreman@rbkc.gov.uk" , "leader@rbkc.gov.uk" , "cllr.paget-brown@rbkc.gov.uk"
> Subject: Re: Labour Party motion on Lancaster West
>


>


Dear Judith,
>
> That is a disgraceful e-mail. You, for all your experience, drafted a motion that invited the Council to take an illegal action and which was therefore necessarily out of order. That was sheer sloppiness on your part. You could have asked officers for drafting advice but presumably did not. When your error was politely pointed out, officers hastily gave you advice as to how a modest amendment would set matters right and allow the debate to proceed. I and my colleagues raised no objection. Instead of accepting the mistake, correcting it and moving on, you hit out below in all directions. If you had done your job properly in the first place, this would not have arisen. Shame on you.
>
> Daniel

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Moylan stands down... ....others step up

Purveyors of cheesecake need not fear, he is only standing down as Deputy Leader of the Council, and by all accounts from the cabinet too following the announcement on FTHN Cllr Moylan has had his role at TfL upped by Bojo.

Quite how that will square with the people of Queens Gate who will see even less of him now is another matter, and quite how he can justify receiving 100% of his RBKC allowances is yet another. The Hornet will be reviewing this arrangement carefully and reporting soon.

Of course now that Cockells rival and deadly foe has given up the ghost of stepping up to the Hornton Street plate, it gives Sir M the opportunity to shuffle the pack and it doesnt really have much in it by way of surprises.

Nasty Nick PB, the wanna-be environmental eco-warrier, has been elevated to Deputy Leader. Well, he always looks smart in those sharp suits.

Tim Ahern, the one with the perfect hair for radio, takes over planning policy; although Hornet still fails to understand why the planning role needs two people? Surely either Tim can do the whole job himself, or Julie Mills can. Why the tax payer needs to support two is anyones guess...

Finally, as predicted by the Dame sometime ago, new boy Rock Fielding-Mellon is thrust into the cabinet taking the Civic Society remit, that looks at localism, community safety and the voluntary sector amongst others.

Is this part of the roadmap for the Hollywood-like named RFM to take over from Sir M? He may have to wait a little longer as Dave "the rave" Cameron suggested this week the House of Lords is full, so Sir M wont be measuring up for ermine just yet...     ....unless its to reupholster the Bentley or the Jag, or the cushions in the Town Hall.

Oh well, at least thats three votes Sir M has secured at the Tory Group AGM next month.

Jokes Aside...

Pickles: "Councils are 'sitting on billions' as they axe crucial services"

The Dame has not a political bone in her body: she is on the side of the angels: blue, red or a coalescence of yellow and blue.

But she cannot abide political hypocrisy: especially when spouted by Messrs Pickles, Shapps and their runner, Bob Neill. So what have these 'worthies' done to upset the Dame? The Dame likes to snatch a few quiet moments with her online Daily Mail. This morning, as she was catching up on the latest celeb news, she spotted this 

So what's the problem? Surely young Shapps is right to wade into Labour councils whining about being forced to cut back essential services yet sitting on tens of millions of pounds stolen from council taxpayers through greedy over taxation. For sure as hell they did not create it by being smart about saving our money.

The usual excuse is that they need these reserves as buffers against rainy days. This is nonsense. Never have the days been stormier yet no council seems ever to think of dipping into reserves to save services. In fact, were it not for the courage of the Full of Life people their centre would have closed because the Rotten Borough was so keen NOT to use reserves to keep it going.

Which leads us neatly on to Mr Pickles and friends.

Mr Pickles has made no bones about his contempt for councils who ignore his strictures. So what is it he so objects to?

No 1. Overpaid Council Chiefs Well the Rotten Borough should have thoroughly pissed him off. Our own Delboy, Mr Myers is on just a shade over £240k or nearly £6,000 a week with all his bits and pieces. 

No 2. Overpaid Leaders Again the Rotten Borough leads the pack with Sir Cockle on £70,000-a drop from the £120,000 he grabbed last year.  Not to be outdone, his Deputy Cllr Moylan is now quietly accumulating around £130,000 a year from the London taxpayer. That should ensure that his Thai pleasure dome is well staffed with enthusiastic young servants.

IT does not end here: the roll call of friends of Cockle-loyal to his every whim-is long. By playing along with the Leader some are pulling in nearly £1000 a week: not bad for a part time job requiring no qualifications-apart from a degree in sycophancy.

No 3 Council Newspapers Huge Eric has constantly inveighed against the madness of Councils wasting our money on useless propaganda rags. Like the Royal Borer, no one bothers to read it and it's only point is to provide employment to the lazy and inefficient PR Department(cost: nearly £3 million a year) and feed the insatiable ego of our  Dear Leader

No 4  Council Reserves This is the greatest 'mystere de nos jours'. Through relentless year in/year out taxation the Rotten Borough has screwed £177 million from innocent taxpayers. And it does not include further millions nicked from the motorist. So what is the purpose of this vast pool of money? No one quite knows. Certainly not to protect vital services as Mr Pickles has so strenuously demanded.

If it were not so tragic it would be hilarious. But it is sad, and far from hilarious. RBKC is doing everything that Eric Pickles asks it not to do.Yet every week Dear Leader visits Mr Pickles advises him how to persuade councils to toe the line. 


In the topsy turvy world of politics nothing surprises us but surely we have plumbed the depths of lunacy when Pickles takes advice from the greedy poacher, Sir Cockle. 

Reader Writes....

Dear Dame Hornet

Last night was a momentous occasion and, without seeming histrionic, a major shift in the fortunes of our wonderful Portobello Market.

You have wisely written about the threat to this unique and world famous antiques arcade. By now you, and all the loyal Hornet readers, will know that last night the Planning Committee,despite arm twisting by officers (we wonder why....) rejected the recommendation to allow seven day trading in the basement of the building. So now weekend trading only will be allowed.

The Planning Committee have shot up in every body's estimation. They asserted their independence, common sense and appreciation of the Borough's much loved Portobello Market. Thank you Planning Committee.

And thanks also to Dame Hornet. Throughout the campaign you have given us moral and practical support. We know that your wise words are read Borough(and outside) wide and your influence grows daily. You are a great bulwark against anti democracy and we need you, and your voice of reason.

A very loyal fan of the Dame.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Coming soon....

....By popular demand...



It's coming back
to a computer screen near you...


....very very soon!

Palmergate.... Update #5 "Told you so"

When you are elected to council you have to declare any businesses interests on a form the council give you. The councillor signs the form and agrees to update it within 28 days of the information contained within it being out of date.

The Code of Conduct, that is required by law sets out what is expected of a councillor. They must be objective, respectful and of course state their interests, both financially and business interests.

Justin Downs of Residents First complained following Hornets revelation Palmer is running a business training staff and members of local authorities, but failed to declare it on his interests form, and how he used the facilities at the town hall to run this private business.


As is the usual procedure the complaint is considered by an interim committee to see if it is deemed serious enough to go to the full on Standards Committee, as Hornet reported in an earlier update.

Well, the Initial Assessment Sub-Committee have decided it doesn't, despite it being a breach of the councillor code and a failure to disclose as required by law.

Nothing surprises Hornet anymore.

As one councillor wrote to Hornet whom shall not be named, the committee is toothless and manned by old bats who simply do what is required to keep the powers that be happy.

No doubt if it was a member of the opposition in the dock the full weight of the Standards Board would be applied.

So Palmer will get let off with a smack on the wrist.

Next time Clouseau....   its just a matter of time.

Councillor Awards 2011

The Hornet Prize for Double Jobbing goes to Cheesecake Eater Extraordinaire Danny Moylan.

The news tonight is that Bojo in City Hall has bumped up his role at Transport for London (TfL) from two days a week to four.

Danny may well think he is wonderful, but not even he can be in two places at once. Unless of course he wishes to have his TfL papers DHL'd over to Kensington Court, but that would just be extravagant now wouldn't it?

That means of course the people who elected him down in Queens Gate already short changed by two days a week, now face an absent councillor for double that, four days!

Of course though that didnt bother the Deputy Leader of the Council, who somehow managed to juggle his role at TfL, with his role as a ward councillor, with his role as a cabinet member, and of course buggering off to Thailand at the drop of a hat too. 

No wonder he needed so much time off.

Working on the assumption two-fifths of Moylans time previously was swallowed up by his TfL role, did that mean he received a pro-rata allowance from either TfL (who were getting 2 days work) or from RBKC that was getting two days less?

Of course not.

Does that mean now he is going to spend more than half of  week working for TfL will he get a bigger slice of the TfL cake?  

Oh yes, of course it does.

So therefore as RBKC is going to see less of him, (which lets face it for many in Hornton Street would be pleased about), does that mean he will be paid a reduced allowance?

Come on now. It doesn't work like that now does it.

There is no pocket as deep as the taxpayer's and how sad the passing of those days when councillors undertook public service for a meagre allowance. Now it seems to be about for how much the taxpayer can be screwed. Few private companies would be so sloppy with shareholder's funds.

Next month is that annual charade when Conservative councillors decide on a new Leader, though why they bother defeats most of us. The 'fait accompli' is in place. No one will risk their (SRA) Special Responsibility Allowance by posing the idea that maybe the residents deserve a change.

The interesting bit will be 'Danny Boy' Moylan. Moylan already picks up around £54,000 per annum for his very part time role at Hornton Towers.With the £75,000 per annum from Boris he has hit the Local Government jackpot. And don't be misled by the implied altrusim that by giving up the Deputy Leadership he will be making a financial sacrifice. 

Perhaps Sir Cockle will throw him an SRA or two to ensure that his rival does not lose out. So the question for Dublin Danny is how much will we residents be paying you? Come on give us a clue?

Congratulations Daniel on your appointment, you really do deserve it.
Lets see if you give the people who elected you what they deserve.


Dont Forget....

Since records first began MP's have had it good.

Only recently have their largesse on expenses, something that has probably been suspected all along been confirmed, only the scale on which they gorged themselves had been grossly underestimated. Of course there have been those who erred on the side of caution, but far too many of them took advantage of the bottomless pit of taxpayer funded expense accounts and lived it up way and above what is reasonable.

Five of them so far have been brought before the courts, and four of them banged up for up to 18 months for fraud, embezzlement, false accounting and a host of other financial related charges.

MP's enjoy a working life that is far removed from the average joe, the likes of you now reading this. Yes, an MP has to be constantly smiling and polite to people, has to turn up to open fetes, award prizes, and also make an appearance at Parliament to vote and contribute to meetings. But that is the job.

Lets say you now, work in a shop or an office. If you turn up once every so often, whenever you feel like it. You sit in your office and read a newspaper, have a little kip for 10 minutes. Pop off to lunch for two hours, then sign a few letters on your return, before mumbling a few "here here" then slip off home.

Effectively that is what an MP does. Of course he or she does constituency work, responding to queries that may come in but they employ staff to filter it all and of course us taxpayers also pay for their second homes, travel expenses and the like.

Now of course an MP is going to say that is pretty unrealistic. They are very busy people dealing with Parliamentary things and constituents. Probably true. But what they dont want to mention is that most also have second, third, fourth or even more "jobs" as directors, executive directors, or non-executive directors of other firms, that all lean on an MP's time.

The main reason why many of them are so busy as they bleat on is because about half of the time they should be working as an MP is spent working for some other company, usually attending meetings or jetting off on a sales delegation or something in sunnier climes.

Make no mistake, if you now copied the way an MP worked in your current place of work you would get a third and final written warning at best, or immediately shown the door at worst.

But it isn't illegal for an MP to do this. Of course not.  They do it because they can. There is no one to tell them otherwise, except when the election comes round every four or five years. In the run up to it they do just enough to remind you what wonderful people they are and why they want your vote again.

MP's have had it far too good for far too long.

But there is something you can do, to make the working life of an MP just that little bit closer to the working life you, your family or your friends have to follow.

Its not going to suddenly turn an MP into a super human, they will still have the opportunity to make the most of their position, but it will mean they have to work just that little bit harder to get elected.

Anything to make an MP work harder for their votes has got to be a good thing.

So on May 5th, go down to your polling station where you usually vote and vote "YES" on changing the voting system to AV. Its a small step, but it will make the job of being an MP just that little bit less cosy.

If you are in any doubt as to whether to vote YES. Ask yourself one question...

Why do the main parties all oppose the switch to AV?

The answer is simple. Why upset the applecart and make life difficult for MPs to get re-elected.

You are the master and the MP is the servant.
May 5th make your voice heard and show them.

Vote YES.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Residents First 1 Harrods 0

Good news for residents who have to endure the nightmare that extends beyond the Harrods front door and creeps into the surrounding residential streets.

Greedy over commercialisation by Harrods has created a sort of Oxford Street clone, replete with drug dealers, Romanian gypsies, ladies of the day and night, buskers and young 'Gulfies' in supercars racing around the area.

To add insult to injury- after the Swiss Chalet on Hans Crescent, Harrods applied for a planning permission to develop yet another outdoor cafe, in addition to the existing one, La Duree. Ostensibly it was to celebrate the upcoming Royal Wedding:that despite the fact that the area surrounding Harrods is a Conservation Area, so loved by HRH The Prince of Wales.

The Harrods attitude towards residents, and seemingly supported by RBK&C, is that they were there first so bugger off, with complete disregard for its residential neighbours. As per usual residents, led by the Knightsbridge Association, bombarded the council with objection letters. Knowing that the Council took little note of residents, or to quote the invisible local Ward Councillor, 'we hear-but don't listen' Weale, Residents First took an innovative, proactive line. 

They wrote to Harrods telling the management that unless they started to listen to residents a petition would be presented to the Qatari ambassador for onwards transmission to the Al Thani family. It would seem that the prospect of the petition presentation, accompanied by Fleet Street's finest worked: the cafe planning application was withdrawn within the day. This shows how an innovative approach can work wonders.... 

Residents First, first for residents. Well done.

Boris moves on City Hall appointment

There is good and bad news today...the good news is that Boris has made a first class appointment in bringing in the leader of Wandsworth to his administration in City Hall. 

Eddie Lister, has done great things for Wandsworth, unlike some we could mention, for a pittance of an allowance.

The bad news is that by not appointing Sir Cockle we are stuck with this overpaid, under-effective leader in the Rotten Borough.

Dr Iain Hanham

As many readers will no doubt be aware, Cllr Dr Iain Hanham passed away last week. Cllr Hanham had been a member of the council since 2002 and represented Brompton Ward. He was also Deputy Mayor in 2004, and represented the authority on a number of external bodies.

We would like to offer deepest condolences to his family, and friends at this time, and to pay respect to the record of Cllr Hanham during his time on the council.

Uproar in Notting Hill - there is still time...

Notting Hill is in uproar because Tuesday the RBKC Planning Committee will consider removing a planning condition that protects the last remaining large antiques arcade in Portobello Road. 

Officers recommend lifting the condition that will allow seven day opening. Currently there is a restriction to just weekend trading, and independent traders fear that by increasing to all week will mean rents rocket to the point where they simply cannot afford it.

This will mean out will go the independent stall holders, and in will come more of the chain store multinationals that are already present on other high streets. The very spirit of Portobello, the world famous Portobello will be consigned to movie history.

There is a real risk another 200 antique dealers will be forced out joining the 300 already evicted to make way for several hundred old sewing machines in the huge & hugely unpopular All Saints 'clone' fashion store. 

You can help keep Portobello special. 

Send an email now to the Council and tell them you object to the proposals. Send it to the planning department, your local RBKC councillor, the council leader, or Malcolm Rifkind MP.

Hurry, before its too late, when its gone, its gone.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Palmergate... Update 4

On Wednesday 13th April the Initial Assessment Sub Committee comprising disgraced ex Mayor Phelps's old friends 80 year old Jennifer Ware and Sophia Lambert (Lambert worked in African Affairs with greedy Cheesecake Eater Moylan) met up to decide what to do about a complaint made by Justin Downes concerning Cllr Palmer's failure to register his interest in CouncilSkills.com. Also to consider was his abuse of council facilities to promote it. 

It should be a no brainer:he broke the rules and there are several emails to prove it. 

It will be hilarious if he is sent for training for this is what his little company claims to do! Let's hope that the Committee do the right thing and refer it to the Standards Committee.  It might be difficult as the three members are remarkably entangled with the leadership of RBKC so impartiality might be a real struggle...

At the time of the last Standards Committee complaint against the awful Phelps he showed his gratitude for her friendship by giving her a wild embrace. Yes, I know-not a pretty sight. Anyway we understand Simon Heffer is watching the outcome of this one with interest. He was unamused by Sir Cockle calling to whine to him during his weekend not so long ago...  

Full of Life gets reprieve...

Congratulations to Full of Life. The persistent lobbying of the Redmonds, parents and residents ashamed by the  mean mindedness of the council has won the day. 


But it should never have been allowed to come to this.


Full of Life is a real example of the Big Society. 


The Dame will be coming soon to visit.

Readers Write...

Open Letter to Conservative Councillors of Kensington and Chelsea

Conservative AGM on 16th May


Just before the AGM on 16th May, it is the custom to vote on the Leadership of the Conservative Group for the coming year. Cllr Cockell is now in his thirteenth year as Leader of Kensington and Chelsea. In America, the heart of modern democracy, the Presidency is time limited to eight years (two terms) with a national election after one term. The reason for this is clear: power has a tendency to corrupt.

Leadership typically passes through four stages:


Stage One

A Leader is elected by his or her peer group


Stage Two


The Leader consolidates his or her hold on power by developing a patronage system and appoints those who will do his will to positions that carry highly paid Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA's)


Stage Three


Hubris (self belief) takes over and the Leader becomes disconnected from his or her peer group and focuses on a personal agenda. A culture of fear and recrimination takes hold. (This is why the 1922 Committee plays such an important role in the Parliamentary Party-there is no such anchor at RBK&C)

Stage Four

The Leader's peer group become demoralised but the culture of fear and recrimination makes them afraid to initiate change. The system stagnates and the Leader operates a personal fiefdom



Good democratic systems ensure leadership change before Stage Three is reached. But in Kensington and Chelsea this has not been the case. Confidential discussions with a number of Conservative councillors suggest that Stage Four has been reached in Kensington Town Hall. It is time to change the Leader at the AGM on 16th May. A leadership span of fourteen years is unheard of in Kensington and Chelsea. Historical precendent has always been that change takes place at 10 years or less.


The irony of the Hornet website is that it has been put together by people who have grown tired of the democratic abuse in Hornton Street and who feel that the time for change is overdue. It should also be noted that the Hornet's penetration of the voter base rises by a 1000 viewings a week. Extrapolate this over the years to the next Council elections and the omens are not good.

Signed

Long Term Residents of the Borough.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

That'll do nicely.... #2

You may remember, Dear Reader, H posed a question in the previous piece on the corporate purchase card.

How much do you think has been spent on the RBKC credit card, on stationery for the first three months of 2011?

                                                                       (A) £2,000     (B) £4,000   (C) £6,000
 
Thank you to all those who entered the competition, we had 3 people suggesting (A), 9 saying (B) and 4 who thought it was (C).
 
Fortunately for Hornet, it was quite easy to select a winner, since no-one actually got it right.
 
Yes, it was a trick question, because the answer is actually all of them added together, £12,000. Thats right, in the first three months of 2011 (well, actually two months and about 2 weeks) the total amount charged to the council credit card and billed as "stationery" is £12,000. Quite a lot of envelopes.
 
That is of course Dear Reader only be purchases over £500, so could quite possibly be more. Significantly more. This is also purchases on the credit card and not "regular stationery orders" that are made and invoiced direct to the council accounts department. Its likely to be "ad-hoc" purchases.
 
Now, we all know the antics of salespersons on expenses, who pull into garages fill up with fuel then grab a bunch of flowers and some CD's and ask the cashier for a receipt for it all to be put down as petrol. Perk of the job some one would say, others say stealing.
 
It would be interesting to get hold of the actual stationery company receipts just to verify these "stationery" purchases are in fact legitimate orders for council duties and not purchases for personal use made on the council card to be paid back later when the bill comes in.
 
Lets see shall we...
 
Oh yes Dear Reader, one eagle eyed amongst you spotted H reference to a flight to Iran, and wrote a letter published in these pages. H is happy to report it was a flight paid for by the council to Iran as part of a Social Services issue so it is totally above aboard. H is also happy to state she never doubted it for one minute, and is waiting for the justification for the flights to Togo and Guyana
 
 

Tribal in frame for North Ken

Not long ago we reported that Tribal PLC had been beneficiaries, to the tune of £1million plus, of RBKC contracts.
We alluded to the fact that Tribal had been extraordinarily generous to British American Project-a weird organisation Dear Leader Cockle, Cheesecake Eater Moylan and Big Finance Chief Light Foot are proud 'fellows' of.

The last contract given to Tribal was signed off by Cockle. The Dame was furious that Dear Leader and friends had not declared an interest, through their triangulated relationship with BAP.

The DfE (Department of Education) has arranged for a project management company to help organise residents'/community forums around the Kensington Academy. A kind of body to bring together interested and affected locals, with the decision makers at the Town Hall as a sort of indepedent organiser.

Quite important that local views are noted, heard and considered, and perhaps equally as important they are done so by an independent arbiter who stands to gain nothing from a decision  made either way.

Oh dear. The little people of North Kensington may be a little upset to learn that the DfE Project Management Company with it's grandiose sounding name, redolent of some important central government department, is none other than our ubiquitous friends,Tribal PLC !!

Tribal, who have been engaged by RBKC previously, and have also been used by the Conservatives to root out candidates for the local elections.

Aside from the financial benefits, one can only wonder if the help given by Tribal is going to be truly independent.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Readers Write...

In 2007, a Mr Arif, a senior diplomat(polite way of describing him) representing that most vicious and medieval regime, Iran, decided to approach Cllr Moylan's pet committee, the Public Arts Advisory Scheme. Arif has continuously praised this Committee and the Council for being incredibly helpful to his vile regime.

Arif  had a brilliant idea. Why not curry favour with the egocentric Daniel Moylan by seeking his advice as to where to place their hideous pieces of modern art?  Also looming, the possibility that the 'experts' on Moylan's Stalinist-like sounding committee would be flattered by the approach. It might even ensure the Council looked kindly upon attempts to build their monstrous and ugly new embassy in our midst. Despite the best efforts of RBK&C to ease the application through, it was halted by Mira Bar Hillel and watchful residents.

A committee peopled by the likes of Cllrs Moylan, Holt and O'Neill should  have been revolted by the idea of  being greased up to by the dreadful Arif-a man whose duty it is to justify the strangling to death of gay people and the stoning of woman. And let's not even talk about shooting of students thirsting for freedom.

Instead they were all over Arif in the most sycophantic way.

Anyway how odd that Messrs Moylan and Holt would wish to have anything do with these people, whose nations declared intentions on neighbouring countries and human rights of their own populace let alone others are at best, barbaric and medieval.

But what I want an explanation on why £811 of borough money was used to pay for a flight to Tehran, in Iran? Why would you and I-taxpayers of this Borough- be expected to pick up the cost of an airfare to Iran? Who went on this trip..and why? 

JUSTIN DOWNES
RESIDENTS FIRST

Friday, 8 April 2011

Councillors still not listening in North Kensington...

The unpaid members of the great Cheesecake Consumer’s Architectural Advisory Panel are always the in line for lucrative Council commissions. Thus it was that John McAslan and Partners came to prepare the feasibility study of how to fit the Kensington Academy onto the unsuitable Lancaster West Estate.

They duly came up with a range of possibilities, somehow managing to promote the one option preferred by the Cheesecake Connoisseur that coincidentally is also the worst possible option for the residents of that benighted Estate. This option sites the Academy right next to a tower block, ensures that residents will get the full force of all the noise generated by school activities every single day of every single term and moves what will be left of an already meagre amount of green open space slap bang into permanent shade.

Consultation on the Supplementary Planning Document has closed – and the Council is now mulling over how best to tell all those who sent in over 400 thoughtful comments why it intends to ignore them all and develop the project exactly as Cllr. Moylan first thought of it.

Many respondents welcomed the Academy and others opposed it, but nobody – except Cllr. Moylan - wanted the traffic-laden new road that will cut the Estate in half and join up two erstwhile tranquil residential neighbourhoods. The Council will respond that this road will be “pedestrian dominated”. Well, only until drivers realise that it will make an excellent short cut between Ladbroke Grove and Royal Crescent and turn it into a very busy rat run. And don’t forget, under Council practice, at least three children will have to be killed or seriously injured before the Council’s original promise of a road only for pedestrians and cyclists will even be considered.

Still, the project got a big boost the other weekend when David Cameron himself said he “might” send his children to the new Academy. Now we all know this is not going to happen – but it gives Cllrs. Cockell and Moylan a great big PR boost to their pet project. There is a very faint possibility that Nancy could be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and sent for a while to the Chelsea Academy before joining brother Arthur at Eton when she reaches the Sixth Form. But there is no chance whatsoever of her going to the Kensington Academy. This would put her in the same school as those children whom her parents carefully avoided when they sent their offspring to join those of Michael Gove MP and Ed Vaizey MP at the highly selective “state” primary school, St. Mary Abbots – the very fashionable Church of England school where all pupils are hand-picked to ensure that the hoi polloi are excluded.

And just consider what little money is to be spent on the Kensington Academy – a mere £17.6 million from the government and a further £1 million from the Academy’s sponsor, Rod Aldridge. The Chelsea Academy cost over £43 million and the re-built Holland Park School is likely to come in at over £80 million. So yet again, North Kensington gets the dregs from the rich man’s table!

Perhaps the problem stems from the planning consultation meeting, where one Council official told a woman who said she was stressed about the project that she could commit suicide if she wanted to, threatened to punch another objector in the face and then stormed off into the night. But this unprofessional behaviour pales into insignificance compared to the cowardice of the councillors themselves – Moylan and Cockell – who refuse point blank to talk directly to the good folk of Lancaster West and explain why their Estate has been singled out for this development. Their latest excuse is that this is now a government project and it has nothing to do with them!

Yet again, Cheesecake-man will get his way and impose a cheap and shoddy school on the unsuspecting families of North Kensington. The quality of life of Lancaster West residents will worsen forever, the Leisure Centre the Council said was no longer fit for purpose won’t be rebuilt, the wonderful green oasis that is Lancaster Green will be wantonly destroyed and a new rat run will put innocent children’s lives at risk every day. 

The people of North Kensington deserve better than this.

The powers that be should hang their heads in shame.

That'll do Nicely...

Where u wanna go?
Tehran? Togo? Guyana?


There are some things money can't buy.
For everything else, there is the credit card provided by RBKC


The Dame has spent much of her career reining in the extravagances of those she manages so she knows a little of that vital management task of ensuring that her company gets best value.

When she heard that Mr Pickles had ordained that all councils should publish expenditure over £500 she clapped her hand with glee: at last a way for taxpayers to see who was blowing what and where. However nothing in the Rotten Borough is that simple.

Driving Lessons anyone?


She has just received a file showing purchases on the RBKC provided credit card,  and a few things struck her....

  • there is no proper explanation of the purpose of each of the more unusual expenditure items: the reader is thus left none the wiser
  • there seems to be no central buying, with all the associated cost saving advantages: it appears to be chaos with people going where they will. Anyone who has ever worked for a large organisation understands the need for central buying.


But looking at some of the charge items there are a huge number of surprises...

Just the one? Not on your nelly!

...and of course, Dear Reader you will read all about them over the coming weeks....

...right here on FTHN...


For now, how much do you think has been spent on the RBKC credit card, on stationery for the first three months of 2011?

                 (A) £2,000     (B) £4,000   (C) £6,000

Remember this is paid on the card, not centrally paid for on account by invoicing accounts payable.

Deputy Mayor going going gone!

Local Government, the mechanics of the thing in the committee rooms, and the once smoke filled members room (when its not being used as CouncilSkills office) runs on conventions. The sort of unwritten guide between political parties that allows the wheels to turn and gives certain avenues in particular cases for things to happen.  Hornet has alluded to this many times in the past.

One such convention, is that despite the overwhelming Tory majority every four years or so the ruling Conservatives let the main opposition propose the deputy mayor. This is a good gesture, the role of ceremonial Mayor is apolitical, and lets face it, if its a Tory or Labour it wouldnt affect the material balance of the council, or any decisions taken.

It just gives a little bit of credence to the office, and enables it to be truly apolitical. Indeed, the House of Commons alternates every now and again when vacancies occur or Parliament changes, so its hardly a new innovation. But a good one nonetheless.

Hornet learns that this year, being the year Labour could nominate a Deputy Mayor, their discreet inquiries into this has fallen on deaf ears.

Eventually the main opposition party were apparently told that in this day and age, in the face of all the cuts and that its probably best we dont do this...

...well someone perhaps should have mentioned that to Cllr Elizabeth Rutherford, elected for the first time last May for Courtfield Ward as it seems she is to take up the post.

Maybe the LibDems should sharpen their pencils, as they may not have realised theres money in taking up that post....

Thursday, 7 April 2011

50,000 strong

Thank you dear reader for helping H tip over the 50,000 visitor count!

Couldn't have done it without you.

Hornet is commissioning some handy memorabilia pens, key rings, coffee mugs and the like all emblazoned with "Buzz off! I'm with the Hornet" and will be posting up a link to the online shop soon. Delivery is free, unlike Daniel Moylans papers, but there is a modest charge for the items. Regular contributors (real named people) may well start to receive stuff as a gift!

Have fun, keep reading and tell your friends!

Vote "yes" on 5th May!

H
xxx

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Readers Write...

AN OPEN LETTER

Dear Dame Hornet

When I first start reading the Hornet at the end of last year there were 28,000 on the counter. As you are on the cusp of hitting 50,000 you must be feeling very proud. Congratulations on being there for us residents-of all political hues.

I am one of your most loyal readers and I thought I would drop you a line congratulating you on the extraordinary success of  the Hornet's Nest.

For years we residents had no way of expressing our dismay at the undemocratic ways of this Council.
'Consultation' involved biased and manipulated surveys amongst residents to ensure that the Council got the feedback that allowed them to make all sorts of spurious claims of resident support.

The local paper dare not criticise the Council for fear of losing advertising revenue, and being a Conservative borough, most of us felt disinclined to 'upset the applecart' even though we knew that Councillors Cockell and Moylan had usurped the power we had vested in them to suit their own personal agendas.

When I read Cllr Moylan's email to Justin Downes I found it incredible that a councillor can use his power to bully and threaten. I have heard about Residents First. I think many of us would support a resident focused alternative. 



There are some honourable exceptions but most of the councillors would be of more use on a sheep farm, for most do nothing but obediently follow the dictates of the duopoly that is Cllr Cockell and Moylan.

I am a Conservative but I have no problem voting for a Residents First candidate: it will give some political balance.


Best wishes
Long time  Resident

Poll Results - The People Have Spoken

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

Boris says 'Save the Royal Brompton's Childrens Unit' but how about you Cllr Weale?

The Dame has written before about the shameful attempt to close down the renowned children's heart surgery unit at the Royal Brompton. The term 'centre of excellence' is frequently is over used: in this case it is not. This is a unit known for the superiority of skills of the immensely dedicated teams of surgeons, doctors and nurses whose efforts, over the years, have saved the lives of so many children.
The Dame was browsing through the Guardian when she read that Cllr Victoria Borwick, a member of the London Assembly, had proposed a successful All Party motion calling for the lifting of the closure threat. Luckily she had the ample weight of Boris behind it. So far so good for it's rare to get this level of support.

So what is missing? Yes, you guessed it....the Omerta like silence from our Council. Why? Surely should we not be proud of possessing this fantastic gift to children in our Borough? If we are why are we not aggressively joining Boris and friends in fighting it's closure?

Cllr Mary Weale is Chair of the RBK&C Hospitals Committee;she is also a close buddy of Merrick Cockell. So we have to ask why she has done damn all to save the the Children's Cardiac Unit. And if you are reading this Clouseau Palmer are you not on the committee too?
If you are a resident in her ward you know she is virtually invisible: many would say indolent, but surely she can bestir herself and lend a bit of voice to support this vital cause.....

So Dear Reader, if you are resident in the borough, or are connected to a service user, why not suggest to her that she follows Boris's lead and become a more voiciferous supporter of such a vital hospital service.

eMail here:  Cllr.Weale@rbkc.gov.uk

Or Write to her here:   39 Kelso Place, London W8 5QP
Or Give her a bell:       020 7937 0765

Monday, 4 April 2011

VOTE "YES" ON 5TH MAY


Vote YES on 5th May, to make your MP work harder for your vote.

You can rank the candidates in order of your preference, or if you want to vote for just one then you can do just that. The AV system is the same one used to elect the Mayor of London and it will mean your MP has to work harder to get your vote.

http://www.yestofairervotes.org/
  • Polling stations will be more or less the same ones you use for other elections
    but you can check here
  • You can vote in person at the polling station between 7am - 10pm; but make sure you are inside the polling station by 10pm or they will close the doors with you outside!
  • You can also vote by post or by proxy. If you have already signed up for this then you will get the necessary post/proxy forms sent to you. Otherwise, contact the council now to apply for an absent vote.
  • The council will send you a polling card to take with you to the polling station, but if you do not take it with you it will not prevent you from casting a vote.

The question you have to answer is

At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead?

and the answer you should say is "YES"!

Going BAPpy over Tribal....

Tribal plc is a major winner in obtaining contracts from the Rotten Borough. In the past 3 years or so it has managed to generate hefty revenues-in fact, nearly £1 million worth of fees !!

Interestingly Tribal Plc also gave a large donation to a mysterious organisation - the British American Project. What is so wrong with that you might ask? Well nothing one supposes.....unless, of course, there is a triangular link between Tribal, The British American Project and a Council client.

Councillor Merrick Cockell is a Fellow of the British American Project: he is also the Cabinet Member who signed off a £100,000 plus contract for the supply of a Central Pupil Database System provided by Tribal.

Now we assume that being an important fellow, as well as being a Fellow of the British American Project (BAP) he would have been aware of the largesse of Tribal in supporting BAP. He would also have been aware that his fellow Cabinet colleagues Cllr Moylan and Lightfoot were also Fellows of this secretive organisation.

Cockell endlessly bleats on about transparency but surely he must have known of the triangular relationship, and thus the need to be thoroughly open about his connection to BAP and hence Tribal. 

According to Town Hall sources....

"The only contract with Tribal requiring approval from a Cabinet Member was for the Central Pupil Database System which was signed off by the Leader of the Council"

Oh dear. 

Conflict of interests?  Failure to declare?

Over to you Mr Myers...

Full of Life faces funding cut-off

"Full of Life" is a self-help group managed by parents of children with disabilities in Kensington and Chelsea.We were founded in 1994 by parents who were dissatisfied with the lack of information and support available to help them bring up their children. In particular they wanted to establish a single organisation that could help with every aspect of their needs. Over the last 16 years we have worked hard to ensure the voices of disabled children and their families are heard."

It is essential work-not just because of the pleasure it gives the severely disabled or the relief it offers parents, but because economically it makes  huge sense in allowing these kids to remain at home and away from the vast expense of residential care.  So Full of Life ticks just about every box as an organisation that needs our support.

We all know parents of disabled children. We know the love they have for their offspring and the determination to provide as normal a life as possible.

Frank Redmond is the parent of a disabled child and an organiser of Full of Life. So when he heard that it's future was under threat he did what most of us would do: he tried to contact the two people in the Borough who he thought might listen.

The Town Clerk, Mr Myers was unavailable and when he finally got through to Sir Merrick Cockell's office he was told by one of the many assistants who surround this very important personage that," Sir Merrick does not 'do' meetings". Doubtless had it been Mr Pickles on the blower he would have had the Bentley out in a jiffy. Whoever gave Merrick Cockell's assistant permission to dismiss residents in this way needs to be taken to one side and have explained to them that they are servants of the people-it's not the other way around.


Cuts will always be painful but even more painful is the dismissive attitude of a man who sees nothing wrong with sanctioning £24 million on a useless piece of road or £800,000 a year on the cost of the Mayor or £1 million a year on sponsoring Holland Park Opera or $380 for his dinners a deux, but cannot be bothered to find the mere bagatelle that Full of Life costs.

Cockell did not even have the common courtesy to acknowledge this letter from a parent, Mrs Redmond. Maybe he was miffed she forget he is now Sir Cockle !


Dear Mr Cockell,

My name is Sue Redmond and I am Chair of Full of Life a parent managed charity supporting families who have a disabled child/adult living in Kensington and Chelsea, for further information about our service please see
www.fulloflifekc.com

Although we have been working hard in the Borough for 16 years we have never invited you to see the work we do and so I would like to invite you to visit our services for young people with complex needs. These operate on Saturdays and our next half term holiday service runs from Monday 11th of April through to Thursday 21st April. This invitation also includes attending a staff meeting which starts at 9am, the visit would give you an opportunity to see our services for young people with complex needs in operation! And to see what parents have created in partnership with the Borough. I completely appreciate that to say this is a busy time for you is an understatement! But we would really appreciate it if you could come along.

If you need to speak to me about this my mobile number is xxxxxx

Yours...




This is what Frank Richmond had to say...

"In Full of Life’s situation it is clear that this matter had been under discussion for many months, and yet no one considered involving Full of Life despite the impact on families and service users, so where is the transparency and partnership with local organisations so often talked about by Councillor Cockell, it would seem that with regard to transparency and partnership there is much rhetoric but very little action, and much of what is action amounts to top down control.

My daughter would be devastated if she lost her friends and the community she has been part of for the past 12 years. She like others in the attached image does not have the luxury of waking up each day and taking for granted life’s normal everyday happenings, she like her friends cannot decide to have her breakfast on a Saturday morning in one of the kerb side CafĂ©’s scattered around the Borough, go to the pub or cinema, travel on the underground or bus or go shopping. There is not much in this life that one can guarantee, but one thing that I can assure you of is that I will not stand by and let any part of my daughters happiness suffer as a consequence of an indifferent and bureaucratic process.

It concerns me that those who drive this Borough forward are doing so armed with a balance sheet and a desire to accommodate the tick box culture of central government. In a recent meeting between the voluntary sector and the leader of the council and council members, it was clear from the leaders reply to a question that the social return on investment was alien to him.

It seems that despite popular rhetoric this Borough is run by a few from behind closed doors."



Isn't it a shame that in this Borough the council can find over £1 million annually to fund their own allowances and expenses, run two flash cars, spent almost £1million on Holland Park Opera, and almost three quarters of a million on the Mayor and his entourage, when service users like the ones above have to go without.

Makes you think, doesnt it?