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Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Tonight is 16/17 Budget Night and the Dame set Ludo on to the task of analysing the important bits.
The first shocker is the revelation of the true cost of Opera Holland Park. 

It seems to be closer to £1.7million-not the sub-million we were led to believe.
Separating from OPH is saving us much, much more than the fibs we were fed. 
As one opera buff told the Dame, "I knew it was more than £0.5 million and guessed £1 million - but £1.7 million a year is mind blowing with a further £1.5m of our Council taxpayers' cash to be spent.
Just goes to show what happens when ego and hubris take over, the job creation merchants jump on the opportunity, and the whole thing is hidden under a mask of creative accounting."
And how often have we been told that Media and Communications cost circa £470,000 a year? Not true.
Page 54 of the Budget tells us that we are to spend close to £800,000 a year on the deeply ineffectual PR dept and the stuff it bombards us with. 
Why was it never merged with H&F & Wandsworth? 
We need an answer.....


  1. Presumably this is the proposed 2016/17 budget. An opera buff recently described the HPO as "Opera for those who know nothing about opera." This says it all. According to Horton Street, £1.7 million a year is money well spent, rather than frittering it away on such frivolities as proper transport for disabled children; proper care for an elderly ballerina or former Gurkha major; not to mention that wasteful former old people's dining club in N. Kensington.

    With or without spending £800,000pa on media and communication, Horton Street is ossified. Paget Brown is no improvement on Cockle.

  2. Incredible and yet again demonstrates that complete madness prevails. As for the Leader I am beginning to think he is actually worse than Cockle, he is dangerous due to incompetence, he has no control of whats happening on his watch, which is the demolition of local services for local people by egotistical officers. The elderly, disabled and vulnerable can go to hell. They are an utter disgrace.

  3. Piglet's speech at the budget meeting last night was a disgrace. The man is either deluded or a liar, I can't decide which is worse. He lives in a pink bubble of self-satisfaction.

    1. Piglet? I love it. Describes exactly what this Council has become. A bunch of Tories baying to the grunts of an Essex Pig Farmer

    2. Member, Campden Hill Residents Association3 March 2016 at 12:17

      What??? Another Hanningfield in our midst? God save the Royal Borough

    3. The Dames's Investigator3 March 2016 at 16:40

      Lord Hanningfield was the Tory Leader of Essex Council sent to jail for stealing money from the Council. He is also a pig farmer.

    4. Fly On The Wall3 March 2016 at 16:44

      A Leader with exotic tastes, including chauffeur driven cars from Essex to transport Lord H plus boyfriend for overnight stays at Claridges in London. In the same period, disgraced ex Leader Pooter Cockle was being driven in the Bentley to and from Heathrow for jollies in New York, San Francisco and Boston. Courtesy of K&C tax payers. The reptile was busted by the Dame

  4. Indeed so... The HPO is 'operatically' speaking just dreadful. Even when an allowance is made for poor acoustics. Upper and complete waste of money....
    RBKC could not combine with H&F, as the latter would certainly meddle in Horton Street efforts... As for delusions, I do agree. A cuckoo-land comes to mind....

  5. It is amazing what a rarefied world these basement diggers live in. The young are struggling desperately to find a deposit for studios and one bed flats, often having to revert to parents for loans and gifts. While bears like Hambro buy two houses at each end of the garden and then seek to join them together by digging a hole. And of course they are also rich enough to hire tree experts to pontificate that rare Japanese maple trees are not worth preserving.

    Three cheers for Director of Planning Graham Stallwood for calling a halt to irresponsibility and making Hambro and his mates sit up and think. No doubt the Norfolk Farm dinner table will be a buzz of criticism for "socialist planners in Hornton Street". Sod off, boyo

  6. Thanks to diligent work by the Dame we now know that the Council has indulged in bare faced lies for many years about the true cost of Opera Holland Park.

    A jumped up bunch of Tory Councillors who call themselves Cabinet Members have been telling lies to residents. It is truly shocking

  7. This is what happens when the voting system effectively ensures a one-party claque in perpetuity. Utterly sickening waste of money on a poor cultural resource when others are being destroyed (Odeon Ken) Earl's Court etc with these puffed-up clowns acting as cheerleaders. Paget-B is no improvement on Cockell. The leading players in the tawdry opera that is Hornton Street should be pelted with their like - rotten eggs- and booed off the stage

  8. Dear Dame,

    I have a friend who has been sent so many letters from the Town Hall, saying that she owes this and that in overpayments in Housing and Council tax benefit that she has lost track of it all. She's asked for a copy of all letters sent to her from those offices in the last year and suddenly the Town Hall has fallen silent. For the sake of £500.

    Another friend was taken to court for over payment of housing benefit. Again, £500. She was too overwhelmed to challenge what might be total nonsense. £500 which can break a vulnerable family vs £1.7 MILLION POUNDS.

    Please send hankies. xxx

  9. These demands for money are a result of the appalling scandal currently running at the Town Hall of the BT managed services contract. The Audit Committee and Mason and Rinker are trying to unpick what is going on but are meeting officer stonewalling. In the mean time, good money continues to be sent after bad to prop up an unworkable contract.

  10. For many years the Council has told residents that the subsidy to Holland Park Opera, paid out of Council Tax, was £0.5 million a year. Now we learn that the true figure is £1.7 million a year.

    The Opera was formed 15 years ago. 15 x £1.7m = £26 million.

    It is a disgrace that Cllr Paget-Brown permits his Administration to connive and lie to voters on this scale. It is not an administrative oversight, It is calculated deception.

    Paget-Brown and the Cabinet should be deeply ashamed for bringing public administration into disrespect. The scale of the filth rivals the worst banana republic.

  11. Ex-Tory, the sum you estimate is only the revenue side. Capital costs over the same period have been calculated at £30m. So, the wretched opera cost Council Taxpayers cc£60m. This is a scandal of national significance.

    The Council really needs to concentrate on its core work and stop pretending to be a local arts council - another £44k just agreed for a 'Culture Service Development Officer', whatever that is.

    Residents are starving while benefits administration is falling apart, as we see above.

    Will Ludo now contact the press?

  12. Truly Gob Smacked4 March 2016 at 13:04

    £60 million of council tax spent on Holland Park Opera?

    This is just too awful to think about. It is incredible that audit controls allow diversion of resources on this scale to vanity projects.

  13. The local government audit system appears to be run for the benefit of the council rather than residents. Like everything else, it's rotten.


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