The Dame wishes more of her readers would write to her on topical issues.
The Dame is happy to publish this email from Justin Downes....
I have been following Private Eye's coverage of the 'teething troubles' associated with the Tri-Borough appointment of Olympic South Ltd(OSL)to transport vulnerable children with special needs.
For years, a local firm, Crystals, held the contract and they discharged their duties with care, efficiency and economy.
But, surprisingly Crystals, were booted out and refused the opportunity to tender.
Instead, the contract was handed to OSL.
In the latest issue of the Eye we read that in 2010 Croydon handed a £5.2 million contract to OSL, but, embarrassingly, were forced to cancel the contract after discovering the officer involved in the appointment, Michael Lawrence, had subsequently joined OSL!
Bad move on the part of OSL....the contract had to be torn up!
But, my point in writing is to refer to my own experience as a councillor.
Many years ago I was a member of Somerset County Council.
In those far off days( yes, I am as old as the Dame) the idiotic Cabinet system did not exist.
Instead, the Council leader was able to draw upon a whole gamut of skills.
One would find that the Conservative leader of the Council( in this case, the admirable George Wyndham) would appoint a councillor solely because he or she had a set of skills relevant to the committee function.
Wyndham cared not a jot for the political affiliations of the appointee: his only criteria was their competence.
So it's embarrassing to see Cllr Elizabeth Campbell helplessly flailing around attempting to sort out the mess created by OSL.
Clearly she is quite out of her depth.
On the other hand it is refreshing to see Cllr Blakeman ferociously and forensically holding the hapless Andrew Christie to account.
Well done, Cllr Blakeman.
From what I understand many Conservative councillors are four square behind you.
A thing we can be certain of....the late Shireen Ritchie would never have allowed the vulnerable of K&C to be so put at risk..