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Saturday, 16 July 2011

Palmergate: MP in the boardroom... Blakeman in firing line...

There he is, stood at the back, no everyone else isnt sitting down he really is that tall. Well, what else would you expect from the co-founder member of the tall society. Oops, thats not mentioned in his declaration of interests either!

So Palmer was hauled back before the so-called independent standards review committee following an appeal on a decision they made earlier.

For the benefit of those who dont know, FTHN revealed to the world Palmer was moonlighting as a director of a company called councilskills that was supposedly guaranteed to deliver results on saving money for something or another. Probably on salary costs as the Dame reckons the people named are all figments of Clouseaus overactive imagination.

However, for some company that purports to train people in council skills, Palmer forgot to declare this business which he is required to. There is a council code of conduct that clearly states all business interests have to be declared. But he forgot. No doubt he was afflicted by the same amnesia that the Dear Leader acquired on his mysterious dinner date in New York (at your expense).

So Mr Downes of Residents First complained after reading about it in FTHN and Palmer was duly charged with a breach of the council code of conduct.

However, the so called Standards Committee felt that although he did break the council code of conduct, and that they were mindful in a matter of months such breaches are to be made a criminal offence they decided to take no action because he now registered his interests following the complaint.

Yes, you did read that right.

So Mr Downes appealed the decision as Palmer should receive sanction, or a censure or some other suitable punishment for this "serious breach" (the words used by the Standards Committee) which is soon to be made a criminal offence by law.

So that brings us to today where Palmer was hauled back into the boardroom to face the decision of the Appeal committee who are, more or less the same lot as the ones who let him off before.

And the decision?

To send him for training on the council code of conduct and nothing else.

The committee is made up of so called independent people, the ones considering Palmers alledged abuse of his position in failing to declare a business interest and use council facilities to promote this business is a Dr, and insurance expert Cllr Mary Weale (Palmers Party colleague from Hans Town) who is searching for a parliamentary seat following her unsuccessful bids at Brighton, H&F and Kensington in 2004. And Cllr Judith Blakeman, leader of the opposition.

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

The committee agreed Palmer breached the code of conduct.
The committee acknowledged such breaches will soon be a criminal offence.
The committee took no action to punish the errant councillor.

At times like this the Opposition have to start to act like, well, Opposition. Its pointless to expect the Glib-Dems to turn up let alone offer any thing close to opposition, but we expect more from the Labour Party.

This was a golden opportunity for Cllr Blakeman to do what is expected of her and lead the committee into making the right decision. They could have recommended the suspension of Palmer for a period of time, and in so doing remove his entitlement to allowances. They could have moved a motion of censure at a council meeting to show these flagrant breaches of the code shall not be tolerated.

They could have done something.

But just to recommend he receives training, is like telling someone who has just shot someone with a revolver to have training into how to handle a gun, rather than punish them for actually shooting someone.

Its an insult frankly. In the "real world" (that the self taught stockbroker Palmer has never actually had to live in) he would be on a final written warning at best, or dismissal at worst.

Cllr Blakeman has missed an opportunity, and its about time the Labour Party, and their GlibDem friends in opposition started to do exactly that.


  1. No surprises there then.

  2. To be fair to Cllr Blakeman... her hands were tied.She did voice her fury that the Committee refused to minute disapproval of the misuse of Council resources. Cllr Blakeman, I understand, has formally reported the matter to Myers: doubtless he will do-as per usual- nothing. If anyone has blame in this matter it is the Town Clerk.

  3. Question: Why do all these Tories look like puffed up flab machines?
    Answer: Must be all the free grub they get, compliments of the Council Tax payer!


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