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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Gatecrasher at Mayoral Banquet

Ex Royal Borough Mayor Barry Phelps is causing great anxiety in the Hornton Street Mayoral Parlour- according to the Dame's secret sources. Mr Phelps's career in local government ended abruptly when he was asked by Chief Executive Derek Myers to resign over his weird use of the Council email system to disseminate pictures of attractive young boys in odd situations.
For some curious reason a story is circulating in the corridors of power that Mr Phelps wishes to be invited to Mayoral social functions.  The theory is that there exists a convention that ex Mayors are invited to RBKC events and Mr Phelps is determined to take advantage of the convention. True or not, the Dame cannot vouch, but it brings to mind Banquo and Banquets....

Left: Ex Mayor Phelps

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

North Ken will be their undoing

This borough is on paper one of the richest in the land. Not least because of the £170 million tucked away in bank accounts gathering dust, held in "reserve" although exactly what that reserve is is anyones guess. EPIC day centre closures for the elderly and a swathe of other community groups that have had funding cut  or removed are simply not important enough apparently.

But when you look under the bonnet of the borough, get into the plumbing so to speak, it is definitely a borough of two halves. The affluent south and the not so affluent north. What some part of the north may lack in cash, it certainly is rich in values and pride.

But the council shouldnt care about the size of disposable income, the value of the house, how many cars people have, when it comes to delivering services. The council has the same responsibility to deliver what people want and need, and to properly consult when projects intend to majorly disrupt peoples lives.

...so that brings us to the continuing saga of the imposition of the North Kensington Academy not a million miles away from Hornets hive.

Much has been said on these pages about the situation so far, and the council have had plenty of time to perform a volte-face and actually start to listen to the people that matter, but to date precious little has been forthcoming.

Firstly we have to look at the nature of the project.

There is a chronic lack of secondary places in the borough, so there is need for additional provision. Quite how it has come about in such an urgent matter doesnt suddenly happen overnight. Its down to shoddy management in the Town Hall who failed to notice, or failed to act in time.

That in itself doesnt permit the council to simply hoist a plan for  a new school in an area without fully considering everyones opinion.

What is equally as important about this project is the cost. The Chelsea Academy in the south cost about £40 million, the one planned for the north is less than half that, £17 million. So it would be fair to say the council are doing this one "on the cheap". Is that a good thing, given the current economic climate? Or is it simply a waste of money because in a few years time it will look run down and have to be refurbished disturbing a generations education?

And what of consultation?

The councils bed fellows Tribal have been engaged to hold public meetings to "consult" on the proposed site, which is slap bang in the middle of the Lancaster West Estate. The new buildings will occupy land currently an open space that is much loved and used by the community.

So who did they invite to the consultation?

Leaflets were delivered as far away as the borough of Westminster, almost in Bayswater but un-funnily enough not the entire Lancaster West Estate that are directly affected by it! The very people who will see their place of residence overlooked were overlooked by the consultation!

Earlier this month the council and their Tribal bedfellows promised to engage with local stakeholders, but not with the Estate Management Board, Lancaster West Residents Association, Grenfell Action Group or the Grenfell Tower Leasholders Group. These groups, who have fought all along for residents rights, are being completely marginalised and dis-empowered in the consultation process.

At a recent public meeting some frank exchanges made Cllr Coleridge agree to engage people in meaningful consultation and to treat everyone with the same respect with which they would wish to be treated. Exactly what that means is yet to be tested.

There is one simple way this impasse can be resolved, and that is for everyone affected by the councils proposals to be properly consulted and if proved adversely affected for the plans to be modified or even moved to a more suitable location.

The council leader, Sir M needs to take up the gauntlet instead of hiding behind his oak panelled door and get a grip. Meet with the local people and promise to consider their views.

Right now, it seems the people of North Kensington are faced with so called consultation that pays lip service to their concerns on a project that has already been decided.

Over 'ere me old china...

At about 4.30pm the other afternoon there was traffic chaos in Kensington High Street as a result of an accident on the West bound section of the Cromwell Road at the junction of North End Road.

The Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao and his cavalcade (perhaps on their way to Heathrow Airport?) were completely stuck at the junction of Ken High Street and Earls Court Road when a spontaneous street protest occurred right next to the Premiers car. 

A passing cyclist realised who the occupant of the car was and positioned himself within feet of the Premier's car and started a loud and energetic "Free Tibet" chant. This protest occurred for approx 3-4 minutes and, at times, other members of the public joined the main protestor and added their own "Free Tibet" chants. 

After a short period, a person who appeared to be a member of the British security services then came and stood between the protester and the Chinese Premier's car before the cavalcade were able to move off past the Kensington Odeon. The security services did not prevent the protestor from his actions.
No sign of the Chinese security personnel who accompanied the Olympic Torch. The whole incident must have been witnessed by around 200 hundred people. Looks like Democratic protest is still alive and well on the streets of Kensington (Shame the same cant be said for either China or Horton Street).

NEVER A TRUER WORD SPOKEN....

The Dame brings you these words of wisdom from Pooter in his  role as chairman of the totally useless LGA QUANGO
Hilariously, Pooter talks about the erosion of 'our public reputation' and the 'corrosive impact that can have upon the trust that people place in us as councillors and councils'
Can this mean that Pooter is at last accepting that it is not such a smart idea to go out and buy £100,000 plus Bentleys for his use: First Class hotels;Virgin Upper Class flights and $380 dinners for two and £130,000 a year allowances(his).

He talks about 'the damaging times he has endured'....he should try to get a proper job in industry, but of course no one would pay him the 'wedge' he is grabbing now!

'He will also say he wants to broaden the range of people who stand to become councillors, in order to strengthen local democracy.'
Last time he did that he only just avoided recruiting an ex porn star as Conservative candidate for Brompton!

'Lose faith'
Meanwhile, speaking at the conference in Birmingham later, new LGA leader Sir Merrick Cockell will call for an end to battles between councils and ministers over spending cuts and say both sides must not "casually allow each other's reputation to be trashed".

In response to that, many councils have unveiled plans to reduce services in order to save money - in some cases drawing considerable protests from local people.
But ministers have insisted that much of the money can be saved by slashing waste and senior staff salaries.
Sir Merrick, who is replacing Margaret Eaton as chairman of the LGA, will say that the last 12 months have been "very difficult and, at times, very damaging" for council leaders, with their working lives dominated by tough decisions about spending restraint.
"Like me, you will have seen an erosion of our public reputation and the corrosive impact that can have upon the trust that people place in us as councillors and councils," he will say.
"We have to remind some ministers that if we casually allow each other's reputation to be trashed, then the public will not just lose faith in local government any more than it loses faith in central government - it will lose faith in all of us."

Monday, 27 June 2011

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GRAB IT

One problem of being the Dame is that you become the focal point for the jealous and mean minded in our little community.
One such embittered, envious and twisted individual has just sent this into the Dame. Frankly, the Dame-as a Conservative- can only applaud Sir Cockle for his financial perspicacity: it is exactly that ruthless, 'winner takes all' mindset we need to help GB PLC stride the world again, striking fear into the hearts of those pathetic councillors unwilling to properly 'utilise' system.

  
Dear Dame

I have accessed the Local Government Association website relating to the duties of the Chairman.
I see that the Chairman, now Sir Merrick Cockell, is expected to spend 3 days a week on his duties as chairman and will receive £53,000 a year for his 3 day week. 
Obviously that is a matter for the LGA. However, I have calculated that this means that Sir Merrick will only have 2 days a week left to act as Leader of our Borough. On that basis it means that we taxpayers will end up paying him the equivalent of nearly £700 a day for his two day week. I don't suppose he will be working more than 6 hours a day so that means we are paying him £116 per hour!
I don't know how qualified the Leader is for on the RBKC website he seems unwilling to disclose his educational or professional achievements.
You could say I am mildly envious but I am surprised you have not drawn reader's attention to Sir Merrick's good fortune
.


Yours faithfully


xxxxx

I find it sad that instead of congratulating Sir M on a FIRST for our Borough you allow your envy to shine through in this mean minded/spirited way.... Let's applaud his financial acumen.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

SAYING WHAT YOU THINK-LEADER CHANGE

The Dame is an assiduous fighter for a return to democracy and proper consultation in our Rotten Borough. Questions like should Pooter be allowed to take his 'friends' out for vastly expensive $380 dinners for two; stay in chic and expensive US hotels; indulge himself in limousine hire and take a £130,000 per annum allowance all exercise hard pressed residents. There are great examples of selflessness amongst Conservative councillors and the Dame will make Tim Ahern flush with embarrassment by citing him yet again.
Rich though Tim may be, using £40,000 of his own money to pay for the Mayoralty is an example of giving back and Cockell should learn by that example. Anyway the Dame was interested in these comments by the reader below. She has heard that Mr Le Brocquy is well known in his field so his experiment could have national ramifications.This is what his website tells the Dame...
David Le Brocquy is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where he had a keen interest in Politics.  He has worked for over 20 years as a management consultant, and recently became interested in the potential political power of the world-wide web.  He subscribes strongly to Dreyfus' critique of the internet as being weakened by " no consequences" anonymity, and is striving to create an environment where people demand their democratic rights,  but are willing, in exchange,  to stand up for, and deliver, their demographic obligations.
So why not go to his site?www.noconfidence.org, You have nothing to lose and it will send a message to people like Tim Ahern that we want change, and we want it now. Ahern would be a cracking good leader.

David Le Brocquy said...
What if we ran a "No Confidence campaign to clear away the deadwood? It would be a serious move towards wresting back power to you, the taxpayer. If you're interested, visit www.noconfidence.org, and say so. He also encourages us to check out www.consultthepeople.org for a place you can stand up and be counted. Share or register.

Friday, 24 June 2011

NEW LEADER REQUIRED

The Dame hears that Pooter's £130,000 a year stipend has been the source of huge delight amongst many K&C councillors. The sense of jubilation was so tangible; so blatant that the Dame wondered why this sudden volte face. Then it was explained to her......
Evidently, the feeling is this. Had  Pooter failed in his LGA attempt it would have been much more difficult to persuade him to end his near 14 year rule of taxpayer funded high life.
The theory was if he won the LGA job it would be easier for senior councillors to 'persuade' Sir Cockle that he should concentrate on one job or the other-not try to maximise his income. They had even worked out that on a pro rata basis his new RBKC 2 days a week 'take' equated to close to £3,000 a week ! (Dame are you sure about that ? Ed)

Well, the Dame has a view on that:it's this. 
Unlike other councillors Pooter has never made a bean in his business life. In fact, his business selling cigarettes in Africa sunk without trace so there is a huge financial imperative to keep up his taxpayer income.
Nothing will persuade Pooter to give up any income. He is now delighted the LGA job came along to replace-and possibly increase-the £35,000 he lost when he exited the London Councils and Audit Committee. Beats working for a living in the real world-AND you get to use the new Bentley.
There are some first class Conservative councillors who would make excellent leaders. It's time they threw their hats in the ring and said, 'enough is enough'

Thursday, 23 June 2011

COCKELL HITS THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT JACKPOT...

Whoever said there was no money in local politics had clearly never examined Cllr Cockell's tax returns...
Well the Dame has and fascinating it is. Having scored just 60% of the vote at the LGA chairmanship elections Pooter is now by far and away the most richly rewarded of all UK councillors-well; apart from Danny Boy Moylan who is hard on his heels!
Currently Pooter pulls in £70,000 a year from the poor old hard done by taxpayers of RBK&C but is now about to augment that with another  £55,000 or so from the utterly useless quango the Local Government Association. What will be the reaction to those council leaders who wanted David Parsons?
Well, it is early days but the feeling is that they may not wish to continue to pay their £100,000 a year subs, some of which will end up paying the £55,000 a year, which goes towards helping Pooter pay the school fees...
The LGA state that the chairman role is a 3 day a week post so it would seem that the RBKC taxpayer will be expected to pay Pooter £70,000 a year for just two days a week! As Cockell's old ally and disgraced friend, ex Mayor Barry Phelps would say, " you could not make it up"

NO....IT'S NOT RBK&C



>Can you imagine working for a company that has just 635 employees, but, has
the following employee statistics..



>29 have been accused of spouse abuse

>7 have been arrested for fraud

>9 have been accused of writing bad cheques

>17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

>3 have done time for assault

>71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

>14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

>8 have been arrested for shoplifting

>21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

>84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year

>

>and

>

>collectively, this year alone, they have cost the British tax payer
£92,993,748 in expenses!!!

>

>Which organisation is this?

>

>It's the 635 members of the House of Commons !!!!


>

>The same group that cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep
the rest of us in line.

>

>And just to top all that they probably have the best 'corporate' pension
scheme in the country!!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A CULTURE OF WASTE

The Dame likes a bit of culture like the next poseur but she does not need a Culture Team to help her find it. She wants her Council Tax to go on the necessities rather than idiotic initiatives to make Pooter Cockell feel he is some sort of Medici like Patron of the Arts. Already taxpayers are supporting Holland Park Opera to the tune of nearly £1 million a year when all around us basic frontline services are under threat. So when the Dame got this curious piece of pretentious nonsense through the hive hole her beedy eyes caught the little tag....RBKC Culture Team. Another example of how priorities are decided upon in a Borough quite out of touch with the realities of the daily lives of residents.
Residents in this Borough are probably the most sophisticated of any Borough in the land. They have no need of a hugely expensive 'Culture Team' to educate them. Let us focus our resources on the essentials: the sick, the elderly and the needy. We do not NEED a Culture Team....scrap it and use the money to some proper purpose.....


For the first time in a decade the iconic Commonwealth Institute Building re-opens to a dazzling array of rising stars from Rambert Dance Company, Opera Holland Park, the London Contemporary Orchestra and others.
15th – 17th July
Commonwealth Institute Building
High Street Kensington | map
COMMON SOUNDS: Touching the Void
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EMBEZZLEMENT

The Dame is completely apolitical. Her mission is to expose greed and corruption wherever she finds it.It matters not a jot who the guilty party is-Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative. So if anyone can throw light on Mr R Slicker's comments the Dame would like to hear from them.  

R Slicker said...

Can we have the story about the Labour Councillor who tried to embezzle off the back of their status as a councillor - why was it covered up?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

COCKELL FISHING FOR MORE

The Dame brings an update on Pooter Cockell's LGA chairmanship ambitions. http://cllrstay.blogspot.com/2011/06/lga-elections.html
The word on the street is that there is much envy amongst other council group leaders at the high life enjoyed by Pooter.
Whether this will stymie Pooter's chance to boost his takings to £135,000 a year plus pension remains to be seen.
As far as the Dame is concerned a vote for Pooter is a vote for a man whose record in local government is tarnished beyond repair

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

HOLBEIN PLACE PEDESTRIAN CROSSING=COUNCIL CREATED ACCIDENT 'HOTSPOT'


Still on the subject of  Cllr Nick Paget-Brown's refusal to recognise road safety realities..... the Dame
reproduces this letter from Dr Gordon Taylor. Taylor is chairman of the West London Residents Association-more than that, he is a highly qualified road traffic engineer. You may not wish to listen to him Nick, but you should have the common courtesy to respond to the highly relevant points he raises here. 
To prove the dangers of the ludicrously dangerous( and highly expensive) crossing outside Sloane Square Tube the Dame went down to do a 'meet the people'. Everybody she spoke to said the paved area was so lethal that it should be kerbed immediately. A news vendor said he had seen four 'near misses' in just a couple of weeks and was expecting a serious accident soon.

Sometimes you have to admit you got something hopelessly wrong-this is one such occasion. What a complete waste of our hard earned money!
Here is Dr Taylor's reasonable analysis that sulky Nick won't reply to.....


Dear Nick,
At approximately 5pm on June 1st 2011 Mrs Margaret xxxxxxxx was run into by a taxi as she attempted to cross Holbein Place on exiting Sloane Square Station. Her right foot was run over. Fortunately the taxi stopped before causing her more damage. She was badly shaken. As with many others before she complained that she was not aware that she was walking into a road. She asked why is there not a painted line to show pedestrians where the road lies?
You are well aware of the design faults of this crossing eg same colour setts for the road and pavement against DfT recommendation to have different colours to help people differentiate between the two. The inconsistency in council policy by declaring that Exhibition Rd cannot be a shared space as with 700 cars per hr it would be well in excess of the DfT and TRL guidelines for a maximum figure of 100 vehs/hr that pedestrians will share space with whilst at the same time countenancing 350 vehicles/hr using the Holbein Place ‘shared space’
The Council is providing a ribbed delineator for the whole length of each side of Exhibition Rd to help the blind navigate whilst at the same time only about a third of the length of the road crossing at Holbein Place has steel studs for this purpose leaving the rest of the road length with no signal for the blind and partially sighted to pick up.
May I draw your attention to the way the majority of London Underground platforms are set up to aid both the blind and all other people to use their stations safely.
At the platform edge there is a continuous white line. Behind this there is a continuous strip of ridge delineator ( not unlike Exhibition Rd ), behind this is a continuous thick yellow line behind which is a continuous line of tactile studded tiles.
If LU think that this degree of warning is appropriate for their passengers for their safety may I suggest that something similar is appropriate for Holbein Place which continues to be a dangerous crossing for many.
Kind regards
Gordon Taylor

HILL HOUSE SCHOOL PARENTS RISK CHILDREN'S LIVES-The Update

The Dame recently reported on the disgraceful and dangerous double parking by parents  as they leave and collect their offsprings.
Councillor Nick Paget-Brown has allowed officers to spend (don't you mean waste?-Ed) hundreds of hours persuading the school to 'police' the streets outside and CEO's to move parents on.
But does the school take him seriously? No, they think him and his stern lectures tiresome-but no more than that.
Sadly Cllr Paget-Brown is someone who gets into a terrific sulk when upbraided.
Since the Dame reported on the issue ALL CEO's have been withdrawn and the chaos intensifies.
Maybe Nick P-B prefers the CEO's to carry on persecuting harmless parking 'overstays':after all they generate ring fenced revenues for the ego driven 'follies' he so loves; 'follies' such as the £26 million waste of taxpayer's money that is the repaved Exhibition Rd.
Residents are wondering whether the Dames's intervention has caused Cllr Nick to take such umbrage that he has decided to withdraw all intervention. But the Dame refuses to believe in that possibility: he cannot be that puerile.
The situation outside Hill House School is now so dangerous that the day cannot be far off when there will be a report of a tragic accident involving children.
Come on Cllr Paget-Brown: you are supposed to be Deputy Leader. How about trying to lead for once?
At £52, 000 a year we taxpayers pay you enough.....

Friday, 10 June 2011

Those results in full....

Predictably the Conservatives held both Queens Gate and Brompton Ward in the by elections. The results do not surprise anyone.

The turnout, that being the number of people who actually came out to vote was just over 14%, so the parties failed to energise the electorate and their low key lack lustre campaign fell on deaf ears. That is an important thing to remember, over 85% of people, 8 out 10 voters, thats more than the entire length of the opposite side of your road didnt vote, so the winning politicans can hardly crow on a successful election.

BROMPTON                     QUEENS GATE
Lab....     101   9%         Lab...   82  11%
LD....       86  14%         LD....  100   9%
Con....     728  80%         Con...  663  74%
                             UKIP..   54   6%


So lets look a little closer at these results and compare them to previous elections.

First of all Brompton Ward and the share of the vote, compared to the last by election in 2008 when the Boy Marshall got elected.

Labour saw their share of the vote increase by 5% at the expense of the LibDems. 
The Tories vote share rose by 3%.
Therefore the swing in Brompton was a 4% from the Liberal Democrats to Labour


Queens Gate we look at the last election in 2010, only this time round we have UKIP in the mix. They clearly benefitted the most as they didnt stand last time round so including the UKIP vote, LD share is -8%, Labour vote share compared to last time is -1%, the Conservatives +3% and UKIP +6%

The swing in Queens Gate is 7% from the Liberal Democrats to UKIP.

However the disastrous turn out level really is worrying and shows how most voters voted with their feet and stayed at home.

What these elections need is a community candidate above politics to stand.


Now you know.

CLLR MARSHALL IN THE HANS PLACE VOTING BOOTH

Cllr Marshall...what are you doing!

There is an inviolate rule that under no circumstances are councillors/tellers allowed within a certain proximity to a polling booth, unless they are authorised to do so. It is a sensible rule designed to prevent voters being pressured in any way. So local resident John Slater was astonished to see Cllr Marshall spending time in the voting Portakabin engaged in earnest conversation with the Returning Officer and his staff. So astonished was Mr Slater by the sight that he took a picture of 'Polo Boy' lounging by the entrance with voters coming in and out. And here it is-not so clear- but should the Returning Officer need a close up it is available.The Dame has seen the close up and it is 'Polo Boy' himself!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

THE TABERNACLE AND HOLLAND PARK OPERA

This is a tale of a very divided Borough. Today the Standard reported the row over the way the Tabernacle in Powis Square is becoming a victim of economic apartheid. It's a sad story of how Kensington & Chelsea Council is tearing the heart out of a piece of Borough history turning it into yet another anodyne and antiseptic 'venue' for the dull and affluent. It seems it's not just Portobello under threat- it's now the Tabernacle. RBK&C council bosses, who provide a £95,000 annual subsidy for the Tabernacle have said it has to be more commercial to survive.
Now this is interesting. Let's take another look at what Cllr Cockell does believe worth subsidising. Every year RBKC pumps in nearly  £1 million to support Holland Park Opera.
But, of course, HPO is an opportunity for Dear Leader and colleagues to enjoy free tickets and pose as part of a 'cultural elite'. The question has been asked-yet never answered: why should K&C taxpayers have to fork out a fortune for a minor opera company when down the road are two world class opera houses? Possibly the answer has all do with the respective user demographics of the Tabernacle and Holland Park Opera: one group are useful to Cockell; the other of no use.
Read what the Standard has to say below
'The gentrification of a treasured Notting Hill venue at the heart of the local black community for almost 40 years has triggered a row over "economic apartheid" in the area.
Residents say the Tabernacle in Powis Square, a community centre since the early Seventies when Notting Hill was on the front line of racial tension in London, has become elitist and expensive.
At an angry public meeting, about 150 residents rounded on the management, Carnival Village, and Kensington and Chelsea council for trying to turn the 124-year-old former church into a middle class arts centre and the area into a west London "Bond Street".
Ishmahil Blagrove, 27, a documentary film-maker and resident, said: "Big business has moved in and the community is being moved out. There are youths who have nothing to do now, spaces have gone for commercial ventures."
Locals, including South African actress Janet Suzman, said that the Tabernacle, occupied by squatters in "the siege of Notting Hill" in 1973 and closely linked with the foundation of the Carnival, has become another "trendy bar for bankers".
One, who gave his name as Emmanuel, said: "We've got a lot of disenfranchised youths who play in the park, they've got nothing to do. The pricing here means that if these youths want to come in here, they can't afford a glass of soda.
"We've got kids coming from private schools who can afford to hire the hall in their little straw hats but we can't afford it."
The Grade II venue, associated with the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd in the Sixties and Joe Strummer in the Seventies, is also famous for providing workshops for local musicians.

ACTION MAN MOSLEY

The same friend of the Dame who had a chat with the delicious young Mosley canvasser spied Cllr 'Polo Boy' Marshall ensconced in the voting hut in Hans Place for quite a while. If Polo Boy had attended one of Clouseau's skills workshops he would have known that there are strict rules about this sort of thing. Anyway, the Dame is going to consider the photograph Mr J.S. sent to determine whether a formal complaint to the Returning Officer needs be made.
What did amuse her was the claim made in another of young Mosley's leaflets. He says his is a "record of action". One assumes he means in the various nightclubs such as Booujis and Public where he spends most evenings. Silly boy...hyperbole was something his grandfather, the old Nazi, was so fond of: we expect more from Louis.... here it is in all it's fatuity.

PRISONER EXPORT

Every week the Dame gets letters from her dear readers with their ideas to improve life: some are frankly not viable but one or two are so lateral and innovative in their thinking that the Dame considers them worthy of wider dissemination. So here's our first one from one of the Dame's fans in
Abingdon somewhere or other. The Dame has no view but welcomes yours.....

Dear Dame
We all feel so helpless. Britain's seems stuck in a unbreakable cycle of violent crime with no solution. Prisons are overcrowded and we don't have the money to build more. The cost of keeping a prisoner in Northern Ireland is £77,000 a year and in England nearly £40,000 and likely to get more expensive.
But here's an idea that could solve the problem at a stroke.

Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary are have vast excess prison capacity and they need money.
We could come to a contractual arrangement with these countries whereby they agree to take a certain number of UK prisoners convicted of violent crime.
Prisoners would be housed separately from the main indigenous prison population and looked after by warders fluent in English: they may have even spent time in the UK.
Instead of paying the average UK cost of £60,000 a year per prisoner we would negotiate an annual cost per prisoner of £5,000 per annum. Of course, facilities would not be quite as comfortable and the telly would be in the local lingo so they would quickly acquire another language.
Now the question comes how do we deliver prisoners to their new prison and how do family visits get facilitated? That's an easy one. Both EasyJet and Ryanair fly to all convenient locations close to target prisons, so it just a question of negotiation with the airlines. Families and friends would be given an allocation of tickets so they could visit monthly.
The net effect of such a programme would be a dramatic decrease in violent crime: after all who wants to be shipped off to serve a sentence under very different conditions to a UK prison. It would save us billions of pounds a year in prison housing costs, the cost of violent crime-and an end to recidivism.
To the human rights argument we could respond by saying that they are being treated as per EU Standards.

A stop to all new prison building, an end to violent crime and an opportunity to economically aid EU countries-looks like wins all round.
I know, Dame you have the ears of the powerful so maybe you could it up to that useless Europhile Sleepyhead K. Clarke

Ever yours

B.Phelps retd

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Canvassing-Mosley Style

One of the Dame's whist drive partners called to regale her with a frightfully droll story.
Evidently she was disturbed by one of Louis's young and attractive 'research assistants' keen to know whether she would be voting for Louis. They had a rather short chat in which the attractive and Roedean educated young lady canvasser was told of the anger felt about Sir Cockle and friends' vast allowances and 5 star lifestyle 'on the tax'
The 'bright young thing'
clearly has a huge future as a Cameron Cutie-judging by her quick and mentally agile response. She came out with this gem... 'but why not: this is a very rich Borough'. The Dame supposes so- if you are Sir Cockle!

More on Mosley

The Dame will be forgiven by Andrew Pierce for giving wider circulation to his piece on the Mosley clan(surely, the Mail has a bigger readership than you Dame? Ed)
"An interesting name has appeared on the ballot paper for the Brompton ward of the Kensington & Chelsea council by-election. Louis Mosley is the grandson of Oswald, the black-shirted founder of the 1930s British Union of Fascists, whose early supporters included William Joyce, the future propagandist for the Nazis known as Lord Haw Haw."




Louis Mosley PAYS TRIBUTE TO RESIDENTS FIRST

The Dame is always interested in the chicanery that goes on in the world of local politics-it's a dirty business but some one has to do it....
The other day The Dames's sycophantic old butler Phelps tapped gently at her boudoir door. Entering silently he bore a silver tray upon which a blurred electioneering 'pamphlet' sat. The crudely designed missive featured 'Polo Boy' Marshall, La Baronessa 'Shriek' Ritchie and that old Nazi, Sir Oswald Mosley's direct descendant, young Louis.
"But, Phelps this is from Residents First," cried the Dame. "No, Madame" replied Phelps. "If you look carefully you will see that it has been craftily folded so that it only 'appears' to be from Residents First".
The Dame shook her head. "But why would young Mosley do such a thing?" demanded the Dame.
In his grave sententious way loyal old Phelps gave his view..."one assumes, Dame, that the young fella thought that it might encourage residents to read it- rather than the tripe that normally comes out of Chelsea Manor Street"

 One could not but wonder at the wisdom of Mr Phelps, thought the Dame....

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Elephant in the Committee Room

All is not well in Tory circles, many have commented to the Dame that the name Mosley isn't going down too well with those old enough to remember, or with a modicum of intelligence to link them. They all agree young Louis is a nice enough chap, and that they are sure he doesn't follow his family tradition from yester-year, however, they simply cannot for the life of them vote for a Mosley. Oh dear. Things have got so bad, even party members who are canvassed are pretending to be out so they dont have to lie on the doorstep!

For those who dont know, where have you been?

The Tatler Book Starlet is the gt.grandson of the 6th Baronet of Ancoats, Sir Oswald Mosley leading light of the British Union of Fascists. Gt.Grandfather was elected to Parliament twice, and even held a post in the Labour Government of 1929-31.  Elected as a Tory in 1918 for Harrow, before crossing the floor to Labour in 1922. He was re-elected in 1926 for Smethick until 1931.  Following disillusionment, caused primarily by the then Labour leader dismissing his ideas for dealing with unemployment, Oswald formed the New Party in 1931 and the conversion to National Socialism began.

Mosley, who was entitled "The Leader" wanted to replace Parliament with executives representing sections of industry, forbid trade outside the British Empire, and reduce the Commons to make it faster and less factionalist. In the mid 1930's the BUF's violent activities and its alignment with the German Nazi Party began to alienate most middle-class supporters.

With lack of electoral success, the party drew away from mainstream politics and towards extreme antisemitism over 1934-1935. Its provocative antisemitic activity in London led to serious, often violent, conflict, most famously at the Battle of Cable Street in October 1936, when over 100,000 anti-Fascists of English, Irish, Jewish and Somali (amongst others) descent successfully prevented the fascists from marching through London's East End.

In May 1940, the BUF was banned outright by the government, and Mosley, along with 740 other fascists, was interned for much of World War II.

After the war Mosley formed the Union Movement, calling for a single nation-state covering the continent of Europe (known as Europe a Nation).  The Union Movement's meetings were often physically disrupted, as Mosley's meetings had been before the war, and largely by the same opponents. This led to Mosley's decision, in 1951, to leave Britain and live in Ireland. He later moved to Paris. Of his decision to leave, he said, "You don't clear up a dungheap from underneath it."

Mosley briefly returned to Britain in order to fight the 1959 general election at Kensington North, shortly after the 1958 Notting Hill race riots. Concerns over immigration were beginning to come into the spotlight for the first time and Mosley led his campaign on this issue. Indeed, many North Ken residents still remember his blackshirts running riot in the streets, and accused them or their supporters of the stabbing of law student Kelso Cochrane, the first recorded racist murder.
His wife, a Mitford, still years after the War was complimentary about Hitler, as was her sister, Unity.
What the hell was the matter with these people. Could they not see evil staring them in the face?

Now of course no one suggests that the young Scipio Louis shares these disgraceful views, nor that he harbours any resentment to those who attack the stance of his predecessors. We cant blame the generations after for the actions, words, beliefs and crimes of those who came before. But it is a family name that will be forever linked with the horror of war, and the millions of people who unimaginably suffered, and were murdered in the most appalling of places driven by the most abhorrent of beliefs.

Interestingly Robert Skidelsky published in 1975 a biography of Oswald Mosley which was widely criticised for being too soft on this extreme right wing politician and Nazi sympathiser.

Hornet learns Lord Skidelsky was sponsoring member for one Louis Mosley according to the Parliamentary records (read it here), so it is even more important the Young Louis confirms that what we all suspect, the clear distance in his own political beliefs to that of his gt.grandfather, despite his association to the person who was refused tenure at John Hopkins University for letting Oswald Mosley off so lightly.

Menage a Trois

Oh dear. The penny his finally dropped on both sides of the border.

Westminster, K&C and H&F as part of the "benefits" of hooking up to form the Super London Borough of Royal Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham will, over three years cut about 500 jobs. Invariably this will result in redundancies.

H&F and Westminster have over the last few years shelled out tens of millions in redundo payments following massive employee restructuring programmes, and yet these two councils will be expected to pick up 66% of the tri-borough redundancy costs under the tri-borough working arrangement.

Unlike the two neighbours, K&C which has a little under 3000 employees hasn't seen the likes of redundancies over in H&F cutting their workforce by about a fifth, down to about 2500, nor in Westminster who axed 350 of their posts to a trim 2300 staff.

K&C are expected to see their senior and middle management levels drastically reduced when the three boroughs combine efforts and many of these posts will see redundancies. Redundancy payments if they follow the existing formulae will be a weeks salary for each years service up to a maximum of thirty weeks.

The voters of H&F and Westminster didnt sign up for this, and quite rightly why should they when K&C is sat on a crock of gold valued at over £170 million!

But then the reserves Cllr Cockle so carefully guards isnt used to prevent service cuts, so why should it be wasted on redundancy packages. Perish the thought.

Brace yourself....

Council traffic chiefs propose to plunge the De Vere Gardens area into traffic chaos. Kensington Road will see traffic restricted to one lane in each direction, with diversions around De Vere Gardens and Victoria Road. This is to enable the developer to erect a gantry over the road to support five-storey portacabins.

No consultation, no choice, no alternative. Just this missive sent out to councillors:


The works are due to start early next month, and finally removed in early 2013, yes, three years away!

No problem? Unless you live on top of it, or round the corner from it. Works traffic, endless congestion, and utter traffic chaos.

Good job.

How low can you go?

A friend of the Dame has reported a particularly unpleasant con and it works like this...

The friend is elderly and very vulnerable. She received a phone call from some 'tosser' saying he was from the Office of Fair Trading and that she was due a cheque for £4,760 and what time could the courier come and deliver. She was surprised and delighted(thinking it was some sort of tax rebate) and told them 5.00pm would suit. At this the low life said that she would need £190 to pay VAT...

When she said she did not have it 'the low life' suggested she go to the cashpoint.

Luckily she began to sense danger. So we should all be warning our vulnerable and elderly friends that these brutes have found one more vicious trick to play on the weak and old.

Please circulate

HILL HOUSE PARENTS CAUSE CHAOS IN HANS PLACE-SCHOOL AND RBK&C DO NOTHING

If you own Hill House School you can do what you will and the Royal Borough will not  hinder you. That is the impression gained by residents of Hans Place battling to halt parking chaos caused by parents leaving their cars double parked in the Borough's busiest shopping and residential area.
Cllr Nick Paget-Brown(btw it's in his ward) and teams of officers have spent hundreds of hours using every ploy to persuade the school to stop parents and chauffeurs double parking; after all it's a fact-dangerous parking endangers the lives of children and other road users, besides adding to congestion. But why have RBKC  wasted all this staff time and money?
One Hans Place resident was curious. When he saw a CEO( warden to normal people) he asked him why he was ticketing harmless 'overstays' when in front of him there was a queue of double parked cars outside Hill House School. The reaction of CEO 2270?.... "I have been told by the Council to allow them to double park".
Teams of  officers rushing around trying to stop something for which permission has been given!! You could not make it up....
Now we know that jobs have to be created but this seems a particularly incoherent way of going about it.
Residents have seen many examples of children nearly killed as drivers- visibility impaired by dangerous double parking-struggle to avoid them. Other residents complain about tailbacks caused by selfish parents blocking up Hans Place, as well as obstructing resident spaces.
Looking on blithely is the headmaster, Richard Townend. Mr Townend maintains that he cannot ask parents to cease this anti social behaviour as it might 'upset them'.He cannot even be bothered to station staff outside the school to move along those double parking.
He might care to reflect upon the wise words of his father, a man who would never have tolerated what is going on.
"Our principles are back to front," declared Colonel Townend,
We put safety first – any teacher who leaves a child unsupervised is sacked on the spot. Discipline and good manners come next.
Under his son, times and values seem different-or maybe the parents have changed....or maybe both.
CEO's have told residents that they are subjected to vile abuse when asking parents to move on. That says much about Hill House parents....
Local resident, John Slater commented “what is interesting is the 'out of school' lesson being taught: it's basically this: “my mother and father are so rich and powerful that the laws don't apply and the school seem to want our money so much they don't challenge my parents". 
What a sad lesson to be taught by a school which educated the heir to the throne, Prince Charles.
RBKC have been 'on the case' for well over a year. It has been a year replete with promises- yet no enforcement against the anarchic and selfish Hill House parents.
In simple terms it needs:
  • RBKC organising a tough regime whereby offenders are instantly ticketed, but that won't happen when CEO's are told to be lenient.
  • The headmaster, Richard Townend, doing his job and insisting parents don't double park.
  • Other local schools have staff stationed outside their schools to reduce risk to children, other road users and residents. Why not Hill House?
Clearly Hill House School believes itself far too grand to concern itself with it's neighbours: after all as Mr Townend has said, “I don't want to upset parents”!

Nick Paget-Brown is now Deputy Leader. It is time he got Hill House School to take seriously the traffic chaos it's parents selfishly generate. 
Come on Nick, do your job please.





Monday, 6 June 2011

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

The Dame knows many resident association members read the Hornet so she hopes this little think-piece might provoke a useful reaction.
Royal Borough resident associations represent  a powerful force in promoting the interests of residents against a whole range of opposing entities. Entities can be the Council or developers or the hedge fund manager who decides to excavate deep down into London's subterranea  to provide himself with a swimming pool or car park for his classic car collection.
So there are common concerns which join all resident groups at the hip. And when they become joined at the hip their power and influence becomes potent. So why has no one come up with the idea of a loosely knit federation of RBKC Resident Associations?
Speculatively there are  some 60/70 associations in the Borough and there are generic issues that bind them together. Issues could be.......
  • councillors allowances
  • numbers of councillors
  • restriction on how long the Leader remain in office
  • basement excavations
  • parking charges 
...... just a few examples: doubtless you can think of many more.
So why not an umbrella organisation? It would be easy to organise, require little structuring and would give residents a hugely powerful voice. For once councillors  would be forced to REALLY listen.

Prettier Picture

Tha Dame could not resist putting up this blog from one of her rivals. She just thought that Cllr Moylan looked so engaging....
No wonder he cleared off from RBKC...much better pickings here!
The only nonsense here is the claim that it will put Moylan on a collision course with those fearless fighters against double jobbing and ludicrous allowances, Pickles and Shapps: we know those two will huff and puff and do nothing.
Boris Johnson has doubled the wage of a key ally to make him the highest paid councillor in the country. Daniel Moylan’s taxpayer-funded salary has jumped £55,000 to £131,597 after Boris approved a gigantic increase in his pay packet as London’s three-day-weekend deputy transport chief.
Moylan’s pay bump sees him beat the previous record held by another of Boris Johnson’s cronies, Steve O’Connell, according to a leaked letter seen by the Sunday Mirror. While former banker O’Connell defended his £118,511 by claiming “I’m worth it”, his package is trumped by Moylan’s three jobs:
  • £115,000 for four days a week at TfL (doubled from £60,000)
  • £10,597 as a councillor in Kensington and Chelsea
  • £6,000 as member of London Waste and Recycling Board

Moylan pips Cockell to the post in Councillor Rich List

It looks like Danny Boy Moylan has pipped Dear Leader to the post in the Councillor Rich List....
It could be just idle, spiteful gossip but the source is generally highly reliable and The Dame cannot keep the news from you. No wonder Danny looks so pleased with himself in this pic...
Danny Boy has squeezed a huge pay rise from BoJo. Up from £60,000 to £115,000 for four days' a week's worth of sycophancy and flattery. Pro rata that would be £143,750 - more than the PM at £142,500
According to the Sunday Mirror (which I imagine none of you read), his £10,597 Cllr allowance plus £6,000 as a member of the London Waste and Recycling Board takes his income up to £134, 597.
Wise heads are wondering what he can be having to do to. He was heard on LBC radio on Saturday morning singing the praises of Boris J but there must be more to the vast salary than that.
But seriously, times are tough and when we see councillors picking up these sorts of allowances we have to seriously wonder whether Eric Pickles is just all hot air. Whatever happened to pro bono public service?
.

Merrick Cockell aims for £133,000 a year-Plus!

Conservative councillors believe the best thing to happen to the Local Government Association is it be rapidly consigned to the skip of history: it's a useless, flaccid quango-a talking shop with minimal influence on Government policy.
However, for one man it has a use. Step up Sir Merrick Cockell. Cockell has been doing some calculations. Last year he picked up from the public purse around £120k a year. However, thanks to circumstances beyond his control he lost two of his sinecures totalling £37k a year. So his income slumped to an already bloated Leader's allowance of £70k a year- plus bits and pieces like his council pension etc.
So what to do? Well, a return to the world of business was not an option; his two man band ciggie selling operation had closed down and no one sane in the private sector was going to take him on.

Suddenly the Councillor had an inspired thought... How about the LGA? If he could keep his Cabinet loyal he would be on to a real winner. He would carry on being Leader and chair the LGA. All his financial troubles would be over and his income would soar upwards to £133k again-plus more perks.
Happy Days would be here again and there would be no end to lunches and dinners at his fave high end restaurants.

Only one small problem...the LGA job was three days a week so it might look a bit greedy if he was getting paid £70k a year for just two days a week at RBKC. Oh well, being an entrepreneurial sort of local government chap he was sure he could persuade his colleagues he was invaluable.....

Sunday, 5 June 2011

WEDGE LEFT ON THE LEDGE

Don't just take it from the Dame...at last some truthful research from RBKC, but pleasant reading it does not make. Leaving aside the sheer man hours expended by staff trying to get the Wedge scheme out of severe cardiac arrest, the real money cost of the scheme has been around £200,000 of your money down the drain.
It's been a total flop as the Council research reveals...
 "85 per cent of respondents indicated that they had not used their Wedge Card. The most common reasons cited for not having used the card included not being sure where they can use it (37 per cent) followed by the offers being made not being of interest (33 per cent) and not being sure of the Wedge offers (30 per cent)"
I won't lecture Merrick Cockell on good business practice:it would be wasted, but before risking taxpayer's money in this way it would have been intelligent to undertake some research to determine just want retailers and their customers wanted.
Instead what does Cllr Cockell decide to do? He dramatically increases parking charges and instructs CEO's(traffic wardens to you and I) to hound retailers and their customers so aggressively that shoppers desert the Borough for a more welcoming shopping experience.
As Cllr Cockell's friend, disgraced ex Mayor Barry Phelps would say, 'you could not make it up'!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Danny Boy Moylan's credit card

Council credit cards are in the news thanks to the Telegraph exposee. But how many of us knew that Moylan and Cockell had personal council credit cards to allow them to 'entertain' on the tax?
It is something quite exceptional in local government circles for councillors to be have access to cards.
The only exception the Dame can think of is ex Leader of Essex County Council, 'Lord' Hanningfield. His card proved his nemesis as it allowed the prosecution to highlight it's fraudulent use.
Anyway, as he heads to to the slammer he won't have much need of it.
But let's turn again to Moylan. Now that he is no longer deputy leader or Cabinet member, or Design Champion(what a joke that job was) he should not be in possession of a council credit card. Not that he had much right to one before. So the Dame asks for any information on whether Dannyboy is still flicking it around the place, or whether Mr Holgate has done this to it

Good Guys in Hornton Street

Nothing thrills the Dame more than reporting selflessness by councillors;it makes a great change after reading of Cockells' constant sponging off taxpayers to support his First Class tastes in air travel. 5 star hotels and uber expensive restaurants.
So who is the Dame's Man of the Moment? None other than Cllr Tim Ahern. Tim is a man of integrity who takes criticism of the council to heart, but the Dame is delighted to pay tribute to his generosity during his Mayoralty Year. The Dame has heard that during his year he actually paid around £40,000 to support his Mayoralty. He even forwent his Mayor's allowance in order to spare taxpayers the hit.
This is exactly the sort of public spirited attitude that defines the best in local leadership and the Dame is delighted to have been able to expose one man's goodness. Well Done Tim. A good leader needs to display honesty and integrity- in this action you have ticked one important box.

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Dame and the Dear Leader

Power greedy dictators are prone to describe those who oppose them as 'mad' or 'deranged'-or worse.
It's a trick as old as the hills. It may have worked upon simple audiences but here in the Rotten Borough it just makes you look desperate and a bit of a laughing stock.
As the heat turns up on Cockell he searches desperately for people to blame, and like a small, spoilt child he vents his fury on the Dame.
Since January an increasing number of residents are turning to Dame Hornet to find out what is going on in the Borough. And they don't like what they see.
Whilst the Dear Leader blunders around trying to identify those pointing the spotlight on him he tries to think up ways of attacking the Dame and friends.
Like all anti democrats he has decided that all those opposing him are 'deranged' and rants on in this vein to anyone interested enough to listen. His other ploy is to suggest that the Dame's readership is 'very narrow'
The simple fact is that Hornet viewings are closing in on 80,000 with around 3,000 viewings weekly and Dear Leader just does not know how to combat the growing menace to his over long rule. It's as pointless as using your fingers to block holes in the dyke!
You may try to stop councillors from reading the truth, or newspapers from exposing you but you will never stop the Dame!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

GOING OFF THE CROSS RAILS

Dame Hornet can quite understand that Dear Leader Cockle might have a problem understanding the logistics of travelling to Heathrow by train. We all know Dear Leader's favourite mode of transportation to Heathrow-when travelling First Class to the US-is by way of the brand new sparkling Bentley 50 litre behemoth. This is why we forgive Dear Leader when he stated at the recent Council AGM (in a supposedly  non-political speech) that the Council has supported underwriting the estimated £30m cost of a potential station at Kensal Gasworks 'as it will take passengers direct to Heathrow'. This 'direct to Heathrow' comment was also printed in a comment to the local paper by absentee MP Malcolm Rifkind.
Dear Leader was always a bit loose with the facts, as when denying he ever used the Bentley 'on the side'.
According to the Dame's train-spotter friends, there are two plus two Crossrail routes. One goes all the way from Reading to Shenfield, or a shorter journey from Paddington to Shenfield. The other goes from Heathrow to Abbey Wood (just past Woolwich via Canary Wharf), or a shorter journey from Paddington to Abbey Wood. And back of course.
 The trains that start from Paddington and travel east, (let's call them 'Paddington trains'), turn at Westbourne Park. The Council's wish is that the Paddington trains would go further west to Kensal. At Kensal there would be an island platform, and this Paddington train would enter on one side, travel a bit further and shunt back to the other side. The trains for the two longer routes Maidenhead-Shenfield and Heathrow-Abbey Wood (let's call them the 'Masher' trains) will travel one track outside the Paddington trains.
So, two points of total incomprehension by our leaders. 1, the Paddington trains do not travel to Heathrow; and 2, if we ever wanted to travel from Kensal to Heathrow, we would have to have two additional platforms to be able to reach the Masher tracks. We can't begin to calculate how much this would cost, but surely at least double the current estimate.
 The real story here of course is the mind-boggling incompetence of the elected decision-makers responsible for gambling tens of millions of K&C Council taxpayers' money.'
So once again Dear Leader is so muddled in his understanding that he confuses himself and all around him. Using our money for a scheme of dubious value is unacceptable.



Taylor in the Big House

Former Conservative Peer Lord Taylor has been banged up for defrauding the taxpayer of about £11,000 worth of expenses. He is the first Lord to be convicted of expense abuse and joins a list of cross bench MPs enjoying Her Majesties hospitality following the recent outcry and downright skullduggery of those elected to represent us.

Now that got Hornet kind of wondering...


Locally we have seen largesse on the expenses which may well fall short of deliberate fraud, but they deliberately stretch the boundaries of what is reasonable.

We all know Cockle lavished a slap up meal on "someone" at the swanky Four Seasons Hotel in New York, paid for by the council tax payers of this borough - on one of his soirees over to Uncle Sam on very important business befitting of a Virgin Airways Upper Class ticket - the importance of having a single phone number for council services.

Cockle insists he can't remember who he entertained for dinner. Thats all very well and much said on these pages, but when the bill is being picked up by the tenants and residents its not bloody well good enough.

Who the hell does he think he is, if he is fit enough to be council leader then does he really expect us to believe he has a memory black out on that fateful evening?

The convicted fraudster Lord Taylor lied under oath when attempting to escape scrutiny of his expenses.

Cockell on the other hand is simply pleading the fifth amendment. The council allowed him to claim these expenses and have since changed the rules to prevent anyone else from doing it, with little or no questions asked. Why?

Bolting the door after the horse has done a runner.

Supporters of Cockle will bleat old news and drivel. But until his nibs 'fesses up and sheds some light on exactly who the council tax payers of Kensington and Chelsea entertained that night, and why it will continue to be mentioned again and again and again.

HOT AND COLD PICKLES

When the Daily Telegraph blew the story on council credit card spending we found Sec of State, Eric Pickles in a high dudgeon calling the spending 'wild'. He is right-it's just that.
But Pickles has been around local government for many, many years so surely he was aware of this culture of financial licentiousness? If he was unaware it reflects poorly upon his Department that it has taken the Conservative Party's in-house newspaper to educate him into these extraordinary charges.
This leads us on to his friendship with Cllr Merrick Cockell. Cockell, purportedly, boasts that he advises Eric so it's a surprise that despite the frequent national press comment about Cockell's expenses no serious heart to heart has taken place.
These are the topics close to Eric's heart:
* Reserves.. Eric wants council's to use reserves to preserve frontline services. RBKC refuses.
* Chief Executive Salaries..Eric wants to see a 10% cut. RBKC refuses; Myers is on nearly £280k pa
* Leaders and member's allowances.. RBKC has nearly the highest in the land
* 'Double jobbing"...Eric call for an end. Cockell and his former deputy, Moylan were skilled at this garnering, at one time, plus of £120/30k pa each. Cockell even triple jobbed 'on the tax'!
So Mr Pickles rather than protesting shock/horror why not take your close adviser, Cllr Cockell aside for a discreet chat

HOLGATEKEEPER

The Dame rarely refers to officers-unless it happens to be local government tycoon Derek Myers-and he only gets honoured because he wields more power than Pooter. But this time The Dame is going to make an exception and send a plaudit to Mr Holgate.
FOI's into the use of the RBKC credit cards have revealed some truly bizarre claims...from holidays in Malta and Togo to Ipads and driving lessons to luxury New York boutique hotel accommodation(Pooter)
Fortunately the Borough has in it's finance director, Nicholas Holgate, someone of impeccable professional credentials. He is well liked and very well respected. But how on earth is a busy man like him expected to vet every expense? Sensibly, Mr Holgate is working on a solution, but rather than make him the gatekeeper would it not have been more intelligent to make relevant committee chairman responsible for signing off credit card charges? It could even have fallen to Big Finance Chief Light Foot....after all has he not written a tome telling us 'there is no more money left? From Pooter and Danny Boy's credit card expenses you would not believe that!
Asking an officer to vet the costs of council members entertaining their friends in luxury hotels or raiding their hotel mini bars is neither right nor fair and puts them in an invidious position.