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Friday, 18 September 2015


The FOI has been a great success as a check on our council. It has given us the ability to dig out information the Council prefers to keep mum about. 

In the case of the frightful Cockell we were able to get a handle on his vast expenses.
Justin Downes was particularly assiduous in harrying Cockell over his First Class flights and $500 dinners for two in smart NY eateries.....with all of us picking up the bill!
Downes even hopes that he halted Cockell's advance to the Lords.

But the Dame and her other persistent readers have also deployed this tool to great effect.
The Government now plans to charge for FOI's and there is much celebrating in Hornton St. 
The prospect that residents will no longer have access to sensitive information is a thrilling one!

Please sign the petition. The Freedom of Information Act is a great boon to democracy....leave it well alone.


  1. At first sight this looks diabolical. But can I just clarify, does the proposed charge relate to the FOI request itself, or is the charge only on an appeal against refusal to comply with an FOI request?

    I'm not too familiar with the processes here but if someone invokes the FOI to ask about, eg, scurrilous activites on the part of potentially corrupt councillors, then does that request incur a £100 (or £600?) charge? Or does the charge only arise when we appeal because the council refuses to cough up the info on the grounds of "public interest" or "vexatious"? If it's the latter, it's perhaps not the end of the world as we can always embarrass the council by publicising the refusal for example through the good offices of the Dame's fine organ.

  2. The Dame is kind but I was just part of the group who exposed Cockell for his lavish use of expenses and abuse of the Mayor's Bentley.
    How on earth this man got where to where he got is one of the great mysteries of our times. I met him just once. He was incapable of answering a quite simple question.
    No one wonder it rankled with my friend Daniel Moylan(who is undoubtedly clever)to have been supplanted by quite such a mediocrity.
    The sign of good leader is a desire to promote those with greater abilities. Sadly, Cockell like to have around him those as ordinary as himself.

  3. I understand that a Stanley Ward resident recently wrote to Cockell to ask him to support his former constituents in opposing Coleridge's appalling plan to get Crossrail 2 diverted through Chelsea. Cockell is obviously such a busy fellow that he couldn't even manage the courtesy of a reply but left his "executive assistant" to write a brush-off for him.

  4. The government wishes to blunt the FOI Act because it's a vital weapon for residents against a council as rotten as RBKC. Currently, whatever blatant falsehood the council provides in response to an FOI enquiry, is it's legal position, and that can prove very helpful to residents.

  5. Once more, dear Dame, you have allowed your columns to be infiltrated by unfair comment. Merrick Cockell went to New York to represent the Council. It would not have gone down well there if he was staying in the NY equivalent of Travelodge or Premier Inn, and was eating in Macdonalds. And, frankly, if you are 'working' in your own time, then you can expect to be looked after.

    As to the Bentley, first it did not cost £120,000 but less than £100,000. This was because the council shopped round to get the best deal. Unlike another Council which, at about the same time, bought a new Rolls Royce for much more. And, of course, the Bentley replaced a mid-Thirties Rolls Phantom V which was becoming unreliable.

    What fun it is to criticise without responsibility.

    Instead of criticising, we do not see the critics in your columns standing for office as councillors to change the evil which they see on the council at the present time.

    I write under my own name and without the protection of 'anonymous'. I have served as a councillor for twenty years and have now stood down. I resent the motives of bad faith which so many of your correspondents assert against councillors.

    Tony Holt


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