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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Lessons from History

History teaches us that in the absence of democracy Leaders try to hold on to power for ever. Conservative councillors in K&C just had an opportunity to vote in a new Leader at their AGM on 16th May and give residents a much needed "refresh" in Hornton Street where Cllr Cockell is now set for a 14th year in the leader's seat. He is full of hubris, thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread, even though we know that when he thinks he has a chance to spend taxpayers money on himself and friends without our knowing, he goes for it:entertains friends at swanky restaurants in New York on Saturday night, stays at top hotels (including the SOFITEL in New York recently made famous by the ex Head of the IMF in his $3000 a night suite) and swings expenses between budgets in K&C and London Councils.But Cockell has a stranglehold on power. Leading councillors like Ahern, Paget-Brown, Coleridge let it be known that they aspire to the top job. But they bottled out after Cockell worked the system. They were too timid to stand against him when they had the chance and in the process they failed democracy and belittled the Borough.
The lame ducks have probably scuppered their chances too. Cockell has brought his new acolyte into the Cabinet, one Cllr Fielding-Mellon. He has let it be known that "Rock" would make an excellent Leader. But not yet. A little too young. Rock is up for it. Poncing around the Town Hall ruffling feathers and letting everyone know that he has arrived. Big time. Yet, like Cockell has nil business or life experience
A brilliant move by Cockell. The old guard passed over, the new boy in the frame. But not ready for a few years yet.Serves you right Ahern, Paget-Brown, Coleridge.You shot yourselves in the foot by not standing. More sadly, you failed the electorate and you failed democracy.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Not so Four Star!

According to a new report published by Sheffield University (better than some of the institutions the current cabinet were forced to attend) has shown that crime, pollution and anti-social behaviour is rising faster in Kensington and Chelsea than anywhere else in the country. You can read about it by clicking here.

One of the authors of the report says the most improved areas are in the north of the country, and "reveal the extent of Britains bankruptcy in financial, residential, political, moral, emotional and environmental aspects"...    anyone would think he has been reading FTHN the last year or so!

The writing was really on the wall in K&C when in 2006 Clouseau managed to "persuade" enough punters to "lend them their vote" with his two colleagues in St Charles. On the premise that if they were rubbish the voters could "take it back in 2010". Fortunately the voters were not easily fooled and chucked two of them out...   ...unfortunately however, it was the wrong two.

Looks like one for RockFM to sort out, him being in charge of community affairs. Let's hope Rock can drill down into this one and give us the heads up

Councillors demand Cockell ceases censoring

Councils and councillors have rarely been more under the spotlight than now. And it is not going to stop anytime soon. People are fuming. They sense that the same corrupt practices endemic in the parliamentary system are prevalent in local government.

The multiple conviction of “Lord” Hanningfield aka Paul White, ex leader of Essex County County Council, for claiming for hotel expenses running into tens of thousands of pounds, have got people thinking.....'if one leader is on the fiddle how many other senior councillors are'?

In the last few months Kensington & Chelsea has been in the press frequently. Comment has been negative and highly embarrassing for councillors, officers and residents.

So the Dame wonders what councillors feel about the their council and leadership being pummelled in this way; after all they all get a press cuttings service from the multi million pound a year public relations department, don't they?

Well, yes and no came the embarrassed response from councillors she spoke to.

wot you lookin' at?
What seems to be happening is this-and it's redolent of a repressive dictatorship a la North Korea.It seems that Dear Leader has decided that only glowing press comment on him and the council will be included. And that means there has been little to circulate.

But on serious note....most councillors don't buy newspapers on a daily basis. They prefer to keep their newspaper allowance to spend on more interesting things so they will be unaware of what is being said about them-unless they read the Dame's musings.

This is not how it should be. They need to know what the press are saying. By deliberately censoring circulation content Dear Leader patronises those he is supposed to be leading.

Cllr Cockell is South African by birth:maybe he got so used to censorship in the days of apartheid he thinks it acceptable here. It is not: stop it now please. Our councillors are not children.

Councillors of every political hue, and the Labour Group in particular, need to call for an end to this un-British way of doing things.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Council MeetingWatch

The usual boring evening's business for the Mayor-making last week, with the role somewhat debased as two relatively new Cllrs were put up for election, 'faute de mieux' apparently. For non-francophones, that means they were scraping the bottom of the barrel as they have so few good brains these days they cannot spare any for a year.
The Labour Group put up Cllr Mingay, but subverted proceedings by switching the focus of their speeches to his choice of Mayoress, which would be one of two older women who are EPICS users. This gave them space to state just exactly what the effect of EPICS closing would have on these people and their friends. At length. Some of the front bench were appalled, while others applauded their genius in using the occasion, particularly as it was none other than the new Mayor herself who had signed the decision to close the centre.

Didnt sway the ruling Tory Group in reversing their cuts to the centre, but hopefully will make a few of them sleep a little less easily - through this meeting obviously. 
Tory Cllrs had evidently been told to be discreet in their Blackberrying, as they were still twiddling away, but mainly in their laps. We can still see you! And the camera will not lie; the filming taking place will reveal rows of Tories staring intently at their crotches. Meanwhile there was the usual flagrant newspaper-reading on the back benches, which is a bit rich when the chamber is packed with visitors.
Scipio 'Skippy' Mosley was seen in the Mayor's Parlour afterwards, circling the room so everyone could see his aristocratic features from every pretty angle. Unbelievable that he actually wants to be spend any time closetted in fusty rooms with groups of old men; hardly the place for a 'cool young buck' as he is called in Tatler.'


Picture the scene.
Members Room, school holidays.

Clouseau is in there ferreting away, as usual when in walks another group of councillors.

Clouseau doesnt look up, he is far too busy arranging council skills courses, but one of his daughters with him does and she demands to know of this newly arrived group of councillors...

"What are you doing in my daddy's office....?"

From the lips of babes...........

North Ken Academy: Is Ron really up for this?

Before the daft planning document (no, its not a typo) for the development of the Kensington Academy was issued, every single person consulted said that the proposed new route between Grenfell Road and Lancaster Road should be for pedestrians and bicycles only - and that should have been an end to the matter. However, when the Supplementary Planning Document was issued for formal consultation, lo and behold, the proposal was to open this link up to vehicles, as well as bicycles and pedestrians!

So everyone who has responded to the draft SPD has duly said – again - that they do NOT wish this route to accommodate vehicular traffic. So the Council will change their mind on this point; then they can say that they have listened to residents and acted on what they have said. And with this one concession graciously granted, they will go on to ignore all the other serious points made during the consultation – and build the Academy on the site required by Cllr. Moylan – right next door to Grenfell Tower, where it will destroy the quiet amenity of every resident in that block!

Will Ron Aldridge really want to have his name associated with a development built on a site that nobody in the local area wants?

Daily Telegraph wins praise

Hornets friends over at Residents First have applauded the piece in the Telegraph exposing the largesse on council credit cards.
Heidi Blake and colleagues on the Daily Telegraph have just created a bit of history. Their expose of reckless and corrupt council spending has shocked those unaware of the extent of misuse of council credit cards. It's been going on for years: it's neither new or surprising to those of us with a keen interest in local democracy. So why is Secretary of State Pickles huffing and puffing over what the Telegraph team has exposed?He describes it as 'wild spending'. Of course, he is correct but he would have been closer to the truth had he added 'corrupt'. And we should not forget credit cards are tip of the iceberg.But blame for this catastrophic situation lies firmly on the tubby shoulders of Pickles. He has had to rely upon Heidi and team at the D.Tel to do his Department's job.
Were Pickles to be CEO of a large plc suddenly discovering that staff in subsidiary companies were splurging shareholder's funds in this profligate way his position would be in jeopardy.As Secretary of State his duty and responsibility is no different.Merrick Cockell has featured in every national newspaper in connection with his own vast expenses claims.
Cllr Cockell says he is close to Mr Pickles, one thus assumes that closeness means that Mr Pickles must have discussed with Cockell the press comment.It is obviously not the case-the conclusion to be drawn is that Mr Pickles was not unduly worried. Can you imagine the CEO of a holding company reading of the expense excesses of a subsidiary company and ignoring them? Daniel Moylan, whilst Deputy Leader, used his council credit card to entertain various guests, including an ex councillor(twice). When I tried to discover the purpose of these lunches, (where alcohol was served against the rules) I was fobbed off. We hope that he has now handed back his card.
Whether he or Cockell should have ever been allowed to have a card is another issue.Residents First raised the matter initially of the misuse of taxpayer's funds over two years ago. Cockell has done nothing to remedy the situation.
He now plans to take over the LGA picking up c £60k a year in addition to the £70k or so he takes from K&C residents. The LGA tell me that he will be expected to work 3 days a week for his sinecure so it looks like we will be getting just two days a week for our £70k a year- far more than a BP non exec director could expect to earn!Now were Cockell some sort of business genius I could just about rationalise the payment: but he is far from that. We residents are being taken for a ride whilst he goes riding around in the new Council Bentley for another £350 lunch with a guest whose name he has 'forgotten'

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Palmergate Update 10

It seems the antennae of Hornet reach even further than the web wizards at Hornton Street, as the Dame spots the "electoral verification number" being the number of signatures required to trigger a mayoral referendum has been corrected.

Oh yes, the last man standing in St Charles has been immortalised in the hallowed pages of Private Eye again on a story you heard first right here.

Well done Clouseau and yet again more people are astounded at the decision made by the so-called independent panel.

So now we know, its not the so-called independent panel that got it wrong, its everyone else.

On the Telegraph...

Yes, the DT is running a lengthy story on council credit cards and expense amounts...

Something Hornet has been banging on about for months...

So where did the Telegraph get it from?

From Freedom of Information requests of course, where else?

I mean, who would actually feed the Telegraph any details they may have had from various sources about Cockell and his first class flights, Moylan and his cheesecake, Myers and his two hats, and the flights, hotels, TV's, dental treatment, and lap top computers.... if anyone would do such a thing....

Cockell stands for LGA

The Dame likes to keep up with her arch rival Conservative Home. Lo and behold she espied a little piece by Sir Cockle promoting himself as the new chairman of the faux quango, the Local Government Association. 

Now the majority view is that the LGA, like the London Council Associations, is useless. However to one person it is not so useless. Who can that be? Why, none other than Sir Cockle. For until he was booted off the LCA he was adding to his Leader's allowance of £70,000 pa with the £22,000 pa he grabbed from the LCA, topped up by the £15,000 a year he stuck in his back pocket from the Audit Commission. 

Having lost these last two sinecures he was back down to £70,000-not enough to pay the school fees.Something had to be done.... When the chance to become chair of the LGA came along Sir Cockle was hot to trot. 

Sir Cockle give his reason for standing: The Dame gives hers.

Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell explains why he is standing for Chairman of the Local Government Association

"I’m standing for LGA Chairman because it’s time for a fresh start with an invigorated leadership of the Association and its Conservative Group."

Perhaps he would be more honest and accurate if he said the below....

"I'm standing for the LGA because I have suffered a severe income drop and as my 2 man band fag trading company didn't trade I have no other means of support. The close to £56,000 I will pick up from the LGA added to the £70,000 I get from the Rotten Borough will more than keep food on the table."

If you have a view on Sir Cockle's bid why don't you do what the Dame did and tell Conservative Home readers what you think. You can do it anonymously if you dont want to be unmasked!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

You wait 30 years for a referendum....

....and possibly two come along at once....

One of the Labour Candidates pledges during these by elections is a petition to call for a referendum on having a directly elected Mayor (DEM) here in K&C.

A DEM will replace the leader and cabinet and have sole executive authority for all decisions, and thats all decisions. The only time an ordinary councillor has any say will be on the budget when two thirds of the council have to vote in favour of the proposals that are made in the name of the Directly Elected Mayor.

Of course the DEM appoints a collection of councillors who act as "advisors" and s/he can either heed their advice, totally ignore it or meet somewhere in the middle. 

So exactly what are the Labour lot proposing?

They have finally cottoned onto the fact that you do not need to win more than half of the seats to have control if you have a DEM, so have jumped on the bandwagon that Hornet suggested last year.

To switch to a DEM the first step is a referendum in which 5% of the voting public in the borough sign up to. Then the question is asked, "do you want a directly elected mayor, yes or no" and if more people say yes than no then an election to find one is held within a month or so. If the answer is no, then its status quo.

But how many signatures do they need to ensure it triggers the referendum process?

The legislation put in place by the Blair government bringing in these demi gods thought of that, and by law each local authority is required to publish its "electoral verification number" that is the minimum number of signatures required.

....and here you see above the page from the council website that proudly displays the figure as 2,563 electors confirmed as 5% of the boroughs voting public.

Only it isn't.

Here you can see the electorate for Kensington seat is about 65,000 - now that is about average size and it doesnt take a mathematical genius to work out that 2563 is nowhere near 5%.

So, Dear Reader, your man at the Top of the Heap, Mr Derek Myers who as Big Cheese at Solace attended conferences of Solace at your expense using his Council Credit Card, also presides over an authority that cant even do its sums right.

£240,000 per year he gets, but Hornet bets payroll get it right. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

That'll do Nicely....

More revelations on the council credit card, this time £1000 for "orthodontic treatment".

For those councillors who attended a minor public schools, orthodontics is Greek for "to straighten teeth", literally. It turns out the council credit card was used to pay £1000 to have a child in social services care have orthodontic treatment using a private dentist.

A council finance officer claims that the child was in council care under "Section 20 of the Children Act 1989". This provides for a child to be accommodated by the council with the consent of those with parental responsibility. Section 20 is based on co-operative working between the local authority, the young person and his or her parents because a court is not ordering the child to be looked after.

So the council accommodated a young person under S20, and paid for them to have private dental treatment to correct malocclusion (again, for the minor public school educated councillors - and there are a few - that means overcrowding).

But why wasn't it done on the NHS?

The council officer claims they "tried" to get treatment under the NHS but couldn't. Under the NHS rules there are five grades of IOTN (Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need). Grade 1 is considered "perfect" teeth.

Grade 2 is for minor irregularities such as, slightly protruding upper front teeth, slightly irregular teeth or minor issues the of upper and lower teeth which do not interfere with normal functions.

Grade 3, is for greater irregularities which normally do not need treatment for health reasons.

Whereas 4 and 5 are more severe irregularities, such as protruding teeth more than 4mm, or for extra teeth "crowding". Only Grades 4 and 5 qualify for treatment under the NHS. 

Of course no one begrudges the child in question the treatment, if it was deemed necessary, but questions need to be asked as it was paid for using public money.

  1. If they tried to get it on the NHS a dentist would have told them it is not considered severe enough to qualify for NHS treatment. Therefore would have been grades 2-3 on the IOTN scale.
  2. The child was not in local authority care by order of a court, but with consent of those with parental responsibility, in other words, voluntarily.

Why does the council then stand in with £1000 of taxpayers money to fund this, when there are probably many people in a similar situation who don't have the benefit of a council credit card?

More importantly, what controls are there in place to ensure proper accounting and reviews of council expenditure on the credit card?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Epic Folly on Old Folks Centre

We all have elderly relatives, we all know a senior citizen from the down the road or round the corner and one day thats what everyone will mature into.

The EPIC Day Centre in North Kensington is to be closed as part of the cost cutting exercise by the council. This will mean service users, the elderly folk of the area will be forced to either stay at home or go further afield to one of four other centres in the borough; as far away as Fulham Road

It doesn't matter that its closing! They can use another centre in the borough instead.

Yeah, thats right. Just like when Sir M flew to the USA first class with Virgin Atlantic, he could have used British Airways instead - but then he isnt a member of their frequent flyer programme.

Its just the typical excuse these politicians wheel out time after time over situations like this. The users of this centre deserve some respect and definitely some dignity. Some users rely on centres  to get them out the house, or socialise with friends and simply enjoy their days.

Back in February Cllr Lightfoot let the cat out the bag saying the centre is going to close only for the council to claim that no decision had been made and consultation is ongoing.

Consultation did go on, but as most people find out on the receiving end of council consultation it means you either agree with what we want, or tough!

Sir Cockle is upset that the Hornet is always getting to him, and in situations like this nothing puts a smile on the face of the Dame more. Cockle bemoans:

"This is a deeply unjust and hypocritical attack on the council. They know the council is having to find £50m in savings by 2015, as a result, we have to take very difficult decisions to protect our front line services for the vulnerable of our borough. But that won't be enough. We still must make savings and it must make sense to start with those services that are no longer widely used and where there are good alternatives. So we have decided to close EPICS as it is so expensive to run for the numbers who use it."

Expensive to run for the members who use it. 
Disgraceful, the cost is nothing compared to the value it gives its users.

Because people like Cockle only see numbers on a sheet of paper. They enjoy the trappings of public office and with that the public purse so will never have to experience dependancy on a council provided care.

Well Hornet suggests some things he can do to save some money...

  • Cut Councillor Allowances and Special Responsibility Allowances
  • Sell either the Bentley or the Jaguar (or both)
  • Pay back the expenses he claimed on his three trips to the USA paid for by RBKC
  • Stop funding the Kensal Rise station for CrossRail 
  • Admit £20m for Exhibition Road was an expensive mistake

Cockle accuses detractors of being "hypocrites" over the closure of this centre. If one of his elderly relatives used this centre or one faced with closure he would do all he can to fight to keep it open.

So there is just one hypocrite in all this, and thats you Merrick Cockell.

Oh, and one final thing. If you are still wondering where to find the money from to keep this centre open and give the elderly folk who use it, depend on it a break here's a very small pointer....

use the reserves - if not what is it there for?

The council has over £170 million tucked away in reserve and that is supposed to be used to protect front line services, not sit there gathering dust.

If providing a service to our elderly folk isnt considered important enough, or front line enough then Cockle and co should hang their heads in shame.

The Dame invites every decent minded person reading this tonight to say a little prayer to the deighty you follow and wish on Cockle the same he is imposing on the users of EPICS.

Shame on you. Sleep well tonight.

The Dame Meets... ...who?

Yes Dear Reader, the Dame had a most interesting appointment recently.

An old flame of a fairly senior person with some interesting revelations from not so long ago.

Hornet is just expecting some final pieces of the jigsaw to come together before she can go public, but when she does it is going to blow a hole so big Sir M could drive the Bentley right through it.

Stay tuned...

Monday, 16 May 2011

If you go down Exhibition Road today....

The Dame is honoured. She has just received an invite( see below) from Louis Vuitton obsessed JFH and ex Cllr Mark Daley( the chap caught up in the famous Phelps Scandal, which caused the loss of Earls Court.)

She will do her best to attend but don't count on her.....

In big bold Lib Dem yellow the desperate message is that Sir Cockle needs you-the trampled upon resident-to tramp the streets persuading cynics that he and Danny Boy Moylan were worth the £5,000 a week they grabbed in allowances last year. Plus the vast expenses;-$380 dinners for two in top New York restaurants and first class travel.

If voters have any sense they will stay at home: so should recipients of the invite.Residents are wising up to ways of Cockle and his crew.

The irony is that the rendezvous is in Exhibition Rd. All Hornet readers know that Exhibition Rd has cost £28 millions:the latest, and the greatest waste of hard pressed resident's money-though not as great a waste as the white elephant of Holland Park School. Under 'business dynamo' Sir Cockle costs there have soared from mind boggling £24 millions to a mind numbing £100 million.

Lets hope the Dame is not sent any more mischievous emails detailing some of the more tasty bits of information on Sam and Louis.

The Dame's officer friend says that when Warren Lord (aka Lloyd North) was 'done for' Rock 'The Boy' Feilding-Mellen goose-stepped the 7ft long Louis Mosley into the job of standing. Drilled him into standing perhaps?
One resident was heard to moan about about getting inexperienced boys to do men's work. The same officer says since Pooter Cockle pulled 'The Boy' into the Cabinet things have quite gone to RockFM's head. Evidently he charges around the place as if he owns it. He is even allowed to go for rides with Pooter in the 80 litre Bentley Behemoth.

Ballroom dancing friends of the Dame say The Boy is a key part of Pooter's succession planning: he intends to by-pass the Tims and Nick and passing the baton to 'RockFM' who has loads of time since he has never had a proper job (Dame, a bit like Pooter and Palmer?Ed)

But remember when you vote for Sam and Louis you are voting for Sir Cockle. And when you vote for Sir Cockle you are voting for a man with a penchant for using your taxes to indulge his lifestyle, A vote for these nominees of Cockell and his self serving team is a vote against proper democracy and fiscal prudence: Sir Cockle is a stranger to both-and a danger to your financial health.

If its good enough for them...

Sir Cockle Sir must be gloating. 

He so stitched up the Cabinet that none dared challenge him fearful of being cast into outer darkness and impoverishment, with the loss of their Special Responsibility Allowance. You would have thought that Tim not so short of a penny or two would care less about losing the relatively small stipend and more about ridding residents of Cockle the overstayer. Sad really that filthy lucre counts for so much.
So what to do?

The Dame knows that back benchers are fast getting fed up with a leader well past his sell by date but have no idea about how to become a force to be reckoned with. Well, being the fount of all wisdom the Dame has some thoughts.... yet nothing too original.

Down the road at Westminster, Tory backbenchers have a rather effective constraint against the over arching ambitions of greedy leaders; it's called the 1922 Committee and the Cabinet takes it very seriously.
So come you RBKC backbenchers! Do something positive. You have nothing to lose but your chains and you will go down in Rotten Borough as the "Cockleshell Heroes"!

These "honorary" Architects are a pain in the honorary...

A face only a mother could love
Daniel Moylan, the ex Rotten Borough“design and conservation champion”, described the Kensington Palace loggia proposal as “almost embarrassingly twee” and “like something which could be found in a Birmingham garden centre”(well, he would know about that)

Certain foolish commentators described it as a snub to His Royal Highness. Whatever his faults the Prince is noted for impeccable taste.Anyway, it's unlikely he would have even heard of some jumped up local councillor.

Most of us thought Moylan linked his name to the Prince to boost his visibility-faint hope of that!

As it happens the Government Inspector ridiculed Moylan by granting the application with the comment, “the proposal is informed by a thorough understanding of the building and its significance”

Best to stick to what you are good at...    moving on....

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Readers Write....

Dr Gordon Taylor is chairman of the 14,000 strong West London Residents Association- one of the largest and most influential of resident associations and credited with persuading The Mayor of London to scrapping congestion charging in the Borough, resulting in an economic upsurge amongst retailers. He is also a man with vast business experience so not to listen or engage with him is nothing short of folly. Why has Merrick Cockell not had the courtesy to respond? Is it just bad manners or has it more to with what Dr Taylor describes as,” a clear example of the public sector protecting itself at the expense of the taxpayer.”

Dear Sir,

Cutting Council Costs

On 8th Mar 2011 I wrote to Sir Merrick Cockell, Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC), suggesting that consideration be given to a consultation aimed at reducing the number of councillors by a third from 54 to 36. This would produce worthwhile savings in the estimated annual cost of councillors of £1.2M. This approach is already being taken by other councils including Bucks County Council and Telford and Wrekin Council. 

The Chief Executives of several councils are also taking voluntary pay cuts. With the Chief Executive of RBKC costing the taxpayer £256,000 pa I suggested that a similar gesture would be appreciated by borough residents. 

Despite a reminder Sir Merrick has yet to reply. Perhaps this is not surprising as RBKC seem determined to protect themselves from the effect of the recession and cuts by increasing charges for their services. 

In Oct 2010 RBKC decided to increase charges and fees by 3.1%. This was followed by substantially higher increases for parking charges. This is a clear example of the public sector protecting itself at the expense of the taxpayer.

Gordon Taylor 
Chairman West London Residents Association


Credit where credits due

Just to further the impartiality of the Dame, Hornet is pleased to praise the following three members of the Conservative administration; and some of these were nominated by a LibDem campaigner...

Cllr.Doreen Weatherhead is an old duffer and proud of it. She's as straight as a dye and for that deserves recognition. She was a lioness at the Admiral Vernon planning meeting.

Cllr. Barbara Campbell fought equally hard with her Scots tenacity for her misused constituents in Longlands Court over Good Fairy retrospective planning application last year. In the event the case was lost; but Portobello remembers its friends. Good Fairy has since gone into receivership.

Cllr. David Campion recently emailed supporters of Portobello thanking them effusively for highlighting a Pembridge planning application intended to destroy 3 original Victorian shops & the terrace above them, in Westbourne Grove, next door to 20th Century Theatre.

So to some of the less sophisticated councillors and politicos who read The Hornet and believe its nothing but "a Labour blog" think again.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Toad of City Hall Coleman abuses Hornet

Woe is Hornet! She has been unceremoniously verbally assaulted by grab-a-cab Coleman, who says

 "How dare you. What right do you think you have to insult hard working public servants. You are sad anti democratic obsessive people in need of a life who could not get elected if you even had the balls to try"

Our Dear Readers in K&C may not have heard of this rather odious chap, but for those who do they know his reputation proceeds him. Have a look at this clip, the fun starts at around 0'50

So its one thing for the Toad of City Hall to berate Hornet for "insulting public servants" and yet its perfectly acceptable for this pompous lazy parasitic member to insult staff members at City Hall. 

On a serious note, it is totally unacceptable for anyone, including politicians who think they can insult anyone. 

Right, now the Dame understands how Brians Brain works, and if this photo is anything to go by its about the only thing about him that does any "work". Toady suggests Hornet "couldnt get elected even if she had the balls(sic) to try"  and he cannot actually substantiate that as for all he knows Hornet could be elected right now, Hornet suggests that he couldnt keep a job down in the real world even if he found an employer with the balls to hire him.

Just in case anyone is thinking that Hornet is being a little unfair to grab-a-cab-Coleman, he ran up taxi fares that make La Baronessa's look positively miniscule. Brian Coleman when he was 'The Mare of Barnet' appointed his mother as the Mayoress and had the tax payer fund both their cabs when being ferried around the place.  £3,500 on taxis alone. 

He is also the main man on the Fire Committee, the one who plans to dispose of two dozen or so appliances across London and each time he opens his mouth manages to alienate staff, peers, or the Fire Service generally.

Every borough has one, fortunately ours has skulked off to TfL, and Toady Coleman, the Marmite Mayor (you either love him or hate him) is Brents.

This guy really knows how to milk the system getting well over £100,000 plus expenses (and lots of those) courtesy of the taxpayer. Transparency is very important  in public life, but Coleman is on record as saying (on publishing expense records) "I won't do it voluntarily. It's none of the public's business." 

The Dame is on a mission to expose people just like Coleman, and is so happy the marmite member feels so rattled he had to send in the little diatribe. For the record the Dame doesnt like Marmite.

On Colemans riposte Hornet is honoured, and fortunately something Coleman will never be.

Glib-Dums throw toys out the pram... ...again!

K&C LibDems have yet again been the source of merriment here at the hive. A few months back we all saw them hand round the begging bowl asking for more money now they have three councillors because the £30.000 they get between them isnt enough.

Now they are having a go at the council because they didnt know the by elections were happening.

Hornet expects the LibDems to be a little rusty, after all they have only ever had one other councillor before now and that was a Tory defector down in Cremorne, but to claim they had no idea of a by election when its published on the website and then berate council officials for not informing them is just plain stupidity.

They say all the worst things come in threes, so thats two down Carol, whatever will be next?

Stirling efforts for Labour in Queens Gate

"He is described by his supporters as a person who gives his time selflessly to the community. He is valued for his fair and level-headed approach to local issues and problems; his concerns are particularly for older residents. He is constantly alert for more vulnerable members of the community who might need help or advice"

Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell on Labours Keith Stirling, Candidate for the Queens Gate by election

Keith Stirling was born and bred in the borough, and is a hard-working and committed member of the community who has served on committees ranging from youth clubs to residents associations. Well known for championing the concerns of his older neighbours, Keith is famous for his biennial charity cycle ride from John 0’ Groats to Land’s End for Sixty Plus/Age Concern; his 15th this year could see him in the Guinness Book of Records. 

He knows Queens Gate ward very well and is looking forward to meeting residents and hearing their concerns.

Holland Park School: Chickens home to roost...

At the Campden Hill Residents Association AGM recently, shocked residents were given a progress report on Holland Park School and the rebuild that is currently under way.

Readers will remember that Cllr Cockell became fixated with this Trophy project hoping that it would buy him entry to the House Of Lords. He pushed, shoved and bullied until the £100 million project (which started out as a £33 million project in the first communication to residents from the Council) to knock down and rebuild a perfectly good school was approved by the Planning Committee of RBKC. Unfortunately not one extra school place was created - just a brand new high rise building financed by the sale of the school playground.

The preoccupation with ramming through a Trophy project blinded the Council Leaders to changes in Government policy for education Holland Park School is a comprehensive catering to 1400 students. This was the educational vogue in the 1960's when these schools were specified. But current Government policy is for small schools that can deliver good pastoral care. Cockel's "Trophy" is unfortunately a White Elephant.. It is also strange that the Mayor, who had previously announced that he would never allow school playing fields in London to be sold off, refused an application to call in the proposal and block the sale. Residents were stunned by this. But then a few months later Cllr Cockel returned the favour and backed the Mayor's bicycle scheme in Kensington and suppressed opposition from councillors, officials and residents.

Of course these complex projects are never straightforward and when they involve a joint venture with property developers, BEWARE. The council cooked up a deal whereby the project was given the go ahead as soon as the playground was sold. The wise men in Hornton Street considered that the best offer available (buy now, pay later) was from G C Campden LLP (a special purpose vehicle set up by the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estates and Native Land) which paid over a £10 million deposit and a promise to pay the balance when the land is released for housing development in 2013. Part of the deal was a painstakingly approved scheme for housing and flats on the site plus new "affordable housing" to be built next to a railway line in North Kensington. In the meantime the Council is using £90 million of reserves (built up by over taxing hard pressed residents of K&C) to rebuild the school in the hope that the money will be repaid when the property developer coughs up.

It was reported at the AGM that the property developer has decided that it wants fewer and bigger flats and is no longer prepared to proceed with the agreed scheme. Fewer flats also means less "affordable housing". Maybe this change of heart has something to do with the recession? But regardless, the developer has the council over a barrel. The council admits that it may have to re market the land. And of course the clever developer could let the special purpose vehicle go into administration and re tender at a much lower market price for the playground. In the meantime the reserves are on the hook for this crazy £100 million project and there is only one way that the costs will go. UP......

Our business dabblers in Hornton Street, with not an ounce of commercial ability amongst the lot of them, have committed four cardinal sins:
* they sold the land without a bank guarantee to cover the agreed price
* they exposed council tax payers to an open ended commitment
* they are subsidising the project by making taxpayers money available to finance the project (this is equivalent to an £8 million plus subsidy at commercial rates)

* they signed a development contract with a planning obligation for new "affordable housing" that is not worth the paper that it is written on

The Duke of Westminster and the Duke of Buccleuth (Native land) have our boys in Hornton Street by the short and curlies. The tax payers are picking up the tab for building the school. Life for a whole generation of schoolchildren is hell. And Pooter never made it to the Lords.

It is ironic that Buccleuch, a descendent of sheep stealers, will find himself in sympathetic company.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Rags to Ritchies

Certain people are getting a little twitchy over double jobber "colleagues" who have to split their time but dont split their allowances. A number of Tories have raised questions over  Cllr The Baroness Shrill Ritchie, who is a part time councillor for Brompton Ward and a full time Baroness.

Who? Come on, the Dame will never reveal her sources.

It seems that La Baronessa meteoric rise from the typing pool at Grand Metropolitan to the leather benches of the Lords has caused some of her cleverer colleagues to wonder how she did it. Being ex-step-mum-in-law to Madonna endeared her to those in the know, but as some point out, apart from her 'charm' she has little else going for her.

The mystery mutineers also point to the disaster of the Candidate A List which she was architect of. Another bit of the mystery jigsaw is her claim to have been a Daily Telegraph journalist. The Dame has been informed by one who knows that this could be pure fantasy.

So what else gets up their noses? Well we have dealt with one of the Seven Deadly sins-envy so how about the other, greed.

Lets do a small audit...

Currently La Baronessa is paid-courtesy of you and I, around £50,000 a year as a Cabinet member. On top of that whenever she decides to amble down to the Lords by taxi (yes, the bill is enormous) she claims tax free £300 for each sitting day. As the Lords sits around 140 days a year she has scope to collect £42,000 a year. So dear reader the lass from the typing pool, by way of the catwalk, is picking up £90,000 a year.

That's not a bad pension for a 71 year old; lock stock and over a barrel!

For once the Dame has sympathy for the mutinous members of the Ruling Group. It is wrong that she should be double jobbing enabling her to double up her allowances.

So the Dame demands that she step down from her Cabinet post and allow it to be taken by someone whose focus is RBKC; better still spend more time at the other place and give the people of Brompton a councillor with 100% of their time focussed on ward issues.

Oh, and a word to to wise, in this case La Baronessa, "Beware. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend."

Daley bulletin for By Elections

Following the recent shambles of the selection process in the Tory quarter, an email is doing the rounds saying how these two by elections are going to be noticed by the Party centrally.

What Hornet noticed is that it is signed by none other than ex-councillor Mark Daley who previously allured to having moved out of the borough and having nothing to do with local politics following his resignation last year over that Phelps scandal.

Part of his return to active life, the board of the local Conservative Party have seen fit to appoint him as vice-chairman for campaigning and he is going round drumming up support for what should be a relatively easy win for the party.

Louis Mosely, the second choice candidate in Brompton and Sam Mackover in Queens Gate are having their campaigns closely controlled by Jonathan Frazer-Howells. Elections are regulated by how much you can spend and Hornet doubts JFH will allow any of it to go on the RBKC Credit Card, not that he or anyone else he knows has one...

So we need some clarification, is Daley back in the borough, or not? Is this the first step in getting himself back on the council? Dont worry Mark, Hornet has your gmail address but promises not to send it to Phelps.

Whatever next? Barry Phelps turning up at the Mayors shin-dig later this month - now that would be fun.

Circus of the Spineless

The gun (envelope) was loaded with the ammunition (nomination papers) and handed out (sent to every Conservative Councillor). The opportunity was there to close the chapter on thirteen years of rule, marred by numerous luxury trips to the USA, anonymous dinner dates on the rates, and extravagant expensive fleet of luxury cars...

But they bottled it. Not one of them returned the paper before the due time, noon yesterday.

Paget-Brown, Ahern, Coleridge, even Dotty Weatherhead saw their backbones crumble at the feet of this weakened lame duck leader.

Cockell has been mismanaging the borough for the last few years, the same way as he mismanged his business exporting tobacco to impoverished African nations from the bowels of the Tory Office. He has been dumped by the council association he chaired, the audit commission is to be disbanded, and yet again he failed to make it onto the honours list. But he still manages to cling onto the keys of the Leaders Office in the town hall.

At the peak of his earning power he was earning over £100,000 a year from the public purse and if he had been enobled could have added around 50% more each year. Now he has to slum it on just the Leaders salary of a cool £70,000 - should be enough to keep his pet dogs in the lifestyle to which they have been accustomed.

There was one faint glimmer of hope, out of the sadness of the passing of Simon Milton - however  that was dashed when Bojo appointed someone else other than Cockell to fill the void. Bad luck for the Rotten Borough, wise move from City Hall.

So now we are lumped with Cockell for another year. "Tried and tested" you may think? More like "tired and interested" in squeezing more money out for what could be his final year (if you believe what you read in WestEnders). Desperate to leave a legacy he has sanctioned the crazy notion of Exhibition Road, a looming financial disaster at Holland Park School, the crushing of local people with the North Ken Academy, approved stringent cuts when all the time sitting on a pot of over £170 million in the bank for a rainy day.

So why did no one launch the challenge, what are they so scared of?
This is a modern British democracy, you dont run the risk of being whisked off to a Siberian Gulag.

Tony Blair had a mantra, three words "education, education, education". Cameron had three letters, "nhs".
Tory Councillors have three letters also "SRA". The "Special Responsibility Allowance" that is paid to councillors who are bestowed "special responsibility" by the Leader and his team.

Those destined for the top job are either in receipt of one, some relatively handsome amounts; while others are hoping for a seat on the gravy train so wont risk all their hard work brown nosing their way to the top in mounting a challenge they could lose, and be put out of the inner circle.

There is just one hope left, and that is in Buffy Buckmaster wheeled out as Chairman of the local party. He has to live up to the image of the man in the grey suit with the high waisted trousers and have a word with Cockell on the nod that its time to go, the same way he did previously.

Its time do whats right for the borough, not whats right for Cockell and his minions.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Season 2  -  Episode 2


The Royal Wedding weekend passed successfully and the run on flags celebrating the resignation of the one everyone loves to hate was a complete success. Everywhere in the borough was merriment as the people drank and toasted TfL.

Back in Tory Chambers at 1A NotOnMyManor Street the mood quickly soured. 
The Tory Agent (JFH) is in his office, feeling somewhat agitated. James, his assistant is handing him coffee. 

JFH: [head in hands] No. no, no, I just cant believe this has happened?
JAMES: What do you mean, the selection process?
JFH: He was an actor, in a blue movie, one I hadn't seen....

Tory Chairman Buffy Buckmaster comes in asking what is going to happen at the Tory AGM in the council. Dressed like the Verger from Dads Army, his dog tooth trousers under his cassock.

JFH: [agitated] what makes you think I would know or have any influence in it anyway?

Buffy pulls up his trousers to just under his armpits, looks at the office workers, who shrug their shoulders and then turns to the Agent

BB: Let me re-phrase the q...     no, in fact I'll just repeat it, what is going to hap...

He is interrupted in mid-sentence by the Louis Vuitton clad Agent Provocateur who scornfully says

JFH: Cock-kell is staying for one more year before he is farmed off as Mayor for the Olympics. 

A chorus from the assembled office workers are heard mumbling under their breath

ALL: [whispered loudly] He needs the money

PalmerGate Update 8.. Goes to appeal

The official complaint against last man standing in St Charles, Clouseau Palmer was brushed aside by the so called independent Initial Assessment Review Committee. They adjudged that Palmer who failed to declare a business interest and the allegation that he promoted the same business interest using Town Hall facilities did not warrant any sanction; despite the former being made into a criminal offence in a soon to be enacted bill before Parliament.

In other words, if it happened one year from today, Palmer could have been before a judge in a court of law fighting for his political life.

Luckily it was now, and he is before the so-called independent Standards Committee, staffed by the not so independent Jennifer Ware and co who dealt him the aces from up their sleeves and let him off with little more than a wag of a finger - had he been present he would have received the Phelps style embrace and kiss on the cheek no doubt.

These councillors live in some fantasy world, they think they can do what they want, say what they want, and turn up when they want and we the people who elect them are more of an irritation, a rash that appears once every four years or so, that needs a little ointment and then it all dies down for another four years or so.

Not any more.

People like Palmer who think they can get away with failing to declare business interests, or any others with their nose in the trough had better be aware, the Hornet is waiting to sting you. 

Mr Justin Downes, of Residents First the growing movement in the borough, who lodged the original complaint has prepared an appeal that demolishes the arguments of the committee that exonerated the councillor and Hornet will keep you posted on the outcome. 

As the Dame said earlier, next time Clouseau, its just a matter of time...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Exclude me! Portobello crusader is banned

Portobello champion Ms Gettleson has received a banning order from entering a swathe of properties in Portobello Road by the owners following her stirling efforts in having planning applications that would rip the heart out of the area rejected.

Accusing the campaigner of "persistent leafletting/agitation of market traders" she has been told of an "Exclusion Notice" ordering that she is not allowed to enter seventeen numbered properties on the famous London Street for 12 months.

The bully boy tactics even state her personal data will be retained as will an image of her "for the purpose of enforcing the Exclusion Notice".

So they make a planning application, that goes through the planning process and following public reaction is rejected. The councillors did as the people wanted and threw it out.

So what do they do? Issue a banning order!

Now the Dame couldnt stop laughing at seeing the notice, and it really does show these people for what they are. Exclusion Notices are only enforceable by Police officers, not jumped up office administrators smarting over a failed planning application.

Of course they may have banned you from entering these premises, but there is absolutely nothing to stop you standing just outside them; or better still gather a group of people to enter them and carry on the good work and take the fight right up to them.

Hornet salutes Ms Gettleson and all those connected to the Portobello Campaign. Well done.
Stick it to them!

Its a dirty job but some stoop lower

News reaching the Dame yesterday is that within a few hours of it being known one of the recently deceased councillors had passed away, a senior member of the Conservative team was busying himself on the phone lining up replacements.

Hornet knows who this is and so does a number of people he telephoned over the weekend but out of respect for the friends and families will refrain from naming and shaming him.

Politics is often referred to as a dirty business, and its actions like this that do nothing to improve the image.

North Ken Academy sparks fresh anger

The recent council meeting saw the assembled public gallery ignored over their pleas for more consideration on the plans for North Ken Academy. The pet project of the political poodles is progressing fast, riding roughshod over the people who stand to lose most, those who live next to the proposed site.

A public meeting has been called for 16th May 2011, at St Clements Church from 6.30pm where the councils partner "The Aldridge Foundation" will hear the voice, at last of the local people of the Lancaster West Estate.

The Aldridge Foundation are the academy sponsors and are expected to cough up some of the costs as the project progresses, the council agreed to put up half of the costs using tax payers money expecting the sponsor to meet the rest. Rumours are abound they have since gone cold on the whole idea, and we wait to see what transpires.

Another element in the whole project is the emergence of Tribal Consulting.

Tribal are a firm that provides consultancy services, and has been the beneficiary of many council contracts over the past enabling them to make a nice little earner. Not only that, the local Conservative Association used the company to go into the community to find candidates that would stand for them in the elections last May, Jonathan Read of Earls Court fame being one of them, allegedly. So much for doing it out of civic responsibility.

But Tribals tentacles dont just end there. They are mixed up with a set up called the British American Project, that lists Merrick Cockell, Daniel Moylan and Warwick Lightfoot all as "fellows". The same trio who are safely ensconced here in the Royal Borough, running the council dishing out contracts and running the Conservative Association dishing out contracts.

So now we have Tribal working on behalf of the Department for Education and Aldridge in helping to deliver a solution to the schools crisis in North Kensington. Caused by a total lack of planning on behalf of the council leadership, whose only proposed solution is a haphazard approach in dumping an academy where it is least wanted, not suitable, and ill conceived. All helped by a company that has connections to the local Tory Party, the leadership, and beneficiary of council contracts.

Good job.

The people of Lancaster West who stand to lose most when this project goes ahead are rightly angry, and have every right to vent their anger at the council.

For those reading this in the south of the borough who are not affected by the positioning of the North Kensington Academy, you will be foolish to think this is something you can ignore.

Today it is the North Ken Academy project, tomorrow it could be something in your street, or the building next to you.

Show some solidarity with the people of the Grenfell Action Group who are fighting to protect their local area and way of life. Its their area and its your money.

How can you help?

  1. Contact your councillor today and tell them you support the Lancaster West campaign
    Get their contact details by clicking here
  2. Instruct your councillor to vote against the current proposals
  3. Attend the meeting yourself on 16th May and listen to the plans 

Please dont leave it up to someone else, they're leaving it up to you!

That'll do nicely...

As promised more revelations from the council credit card statements.

Hornet has previously informed you of the Apple Mac computers and how the council card was used to pay for Derek Myers the chief of SOLACE to attend its own conferences.

Now we turn to the purchase of a television from Marks and Spencer in December, costing over £600.

According to the councils own reports this paid for from "Section 117 money" and yet Section117 is legislation under the Mental Health Act that provides for a refund for the cost of aftercare.

The question is, why was the council credit card used to pay for a TV labelled Section117 at all?

But that isnt the only TV bought using the council card.

Oh no, the statements are littered with so many visits to the Sony Centre it would seem the borough is awash with Bravia TV's they could probably sell some back to Sony.

More than £9000 has been spent on this type of equipment, including top of the range flat screen TV's, wall brackets and a Nintendo Wii.

It may well be legitimate spending, but who checks these?

What assurances do you, the K&C taxpayer have that these purchases have not been made by a councillor or a council officer for their own benefit?

What assurances indeed...

More soon.

Brompton Row rumbles on

It is not usually the policy of the Dame to respond to comments, especially by way of another story but in this special case an exception has been made. A number of comments have come in suggesting Hornet is attacking someone for wishing to stand for council and his chosen sexual preferences or even worse suggesting Hornet is part of a hate campaign.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Hornet resolutely rejects any suggestion she is being homophobic or contributing to a campaign in anyway shape or form.

The Dame stands proud to support diversity, as you can read on these pages has frequently praised the gay members on the council, fully supported Cllr Todd Foreman in his Stonewall campaign (that was rejected by the Tories) and even congratulated Daniel Moylan when he came out as gay in the media despite his links to the Iranian regime that Hornet has criticised; notably on their treatment of homosexuals and women.

The facts of this, and they are facts is that the candidate selected by the Tories was ill advised and harshly treated by the Conservative Party leadership and those running the selection process. The candidate did have an eventful past, it was adult material with consenting adults so there is no question about it legally or otherwise.

Many people, including those currently on the council have eventful pasts, some that can and cant be mentioned.

It is also a fact the fanpage for Margaret Thatcher did contain the picture used on the previous story, it has since been made non-public but the Dame was sent the link and the picture was lifted from the site as stated. Whether or not it was made by the candidate is another matter, but it was most definitely included on the fan page he created.

The question the local Tories need to consider is why was Mr North allowed to progress to the nomination stage and then questions were raised about his background?

Why did he have to withdraw? He has not done anything unlawful, its a shame that in this day and age in 2011 the borough cannot be reflective of its population and have a candidate who if elected would have done the job as well as he could no matter what he did in the past.

Shame on the local Tories for not supporting their first choice candidate; after all, they selected him for Colville in May last year so why now do they feel they can't stand by him in Brompton?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Blue Candidate red faced and in Hot House over movie role

All is not well at 1A. Following the sad departure of two councillors, it really is a no brainer to go through selection processes to find a successor. Or so you would expect.

Especially after the complete shambles of selecting a former independent candidate at Earls Court last time every care was taken to select a "safe pair of hands".

Hornet was given a tip off the candidate for Brompton, Lloyd North, a BA air steward was also an ardent fan of former PM and Chelsea resident Maggie Thatcher. So much adulation in fact that he started his own facebook fan page, that you can read here.

But it seems the fansite wasn't enough, there is a mock up picture of a character from Little Britain, with Hornet believes is Mr Norths features superimposed onto the photo. Quite what this has to do with the Iron Lady is anyones guess, but expect it is supposed to show a passing resemblence to Baroness Thatcher - how this rather disrespectful approach squares with the supposed fan base is another thing.

It should have been a shoe in for Mr North and the Tories. Brompton last time had a majority of almost 700 votes, so it all looked good.

Then suddenly the candidate withdrew and the powers that be ushered in replacement quicker than you can say "Hot House entertainment"

So what has happened? Why the sudden change of heart and reversal of fortune from the previous Colville candidate in May 2010?  Did the mock up picture cause offence to The Iron Lady and she handbagged the local chiefs?

Apparently not. Apparently also most of the Conservative Group are in the dark about exactly what happened unlike those on the opposition benches who, it would seem have known for some time.

Someone has let it slip that the candidate has allegedly appeared in a porn movie some years ago and this is simply far too much for the local tories to stomach. It was an adult movie, with consenting adults and perfectly legal, so quite why it made the Tory bigwigs hot under the collar is a surprise.

The sinister undertone to all this is that a number of the people in the council are gay, and some are out, some are so far in the closet they are in Narnia. The heinous crime this former candidate has supposedly committed is way tamer than the actions of others, and Hornet cannot help but think there is more to it.

Phelps and Daley went and there has been clamouring from a rump now saying Phelps should come back, despite sending inappropriate pictures of young boys on the council email system - and yet this would be councillor is denied nomination and only has been in a movie with consenting adults. Smacks of hypocrisy.

Serious questions have to be asked on this rather torrid issue and quite how those supposedly in charge of the process have allowed the selections again descend into chaos.

The new candidate in Brompton has an uphill task, firstly to explain why he was the second choice candidate.

So much for Camerons big society, the nasty party is alive and well in K&C


What a week its been, the election date was announced for 9th June and Tory Candidates selected, Lloyd and Sam.

News is reaching the Hive that one of these chaps has pulled out following some rather interesting news that the Dame is sifting through now and will of course let you know very soon.

Louis has stepped up to fill the gap.

Whoever let it slip should have waited. There is a deadline upon which once passed a nominated candidate cannot withdraw, so the opposition have missed a trick.


Friday, 6 May 2011

The time is now

On 6th May the Conservative Agent at Chelsea Manor Street issued invitations to Conservative councillors to stand for Leadership of the party in Hornton Street. Nominations have to be in by noon on 10th May and voting will take place on 16th May if the position is contested.

Hornet has long been critical of the current Leadership for being out of touch, profligate, and running roughshod over residents wishes. And in a democracy thirteen years in office is just too long.

The temptation for Sir M to try to squeeze out a couple more years, so he can be part of the leadership team to usher in the 2012 Olympics must be great - you never know he could try someother role when that comes about....

We hope that qualified councillors will put their name forward to take over the mantle of Leadership and give a much needed refresh to the corridors of the Town Hall. The Dame hears that Clls Ahern, Coleridge and Buxton all feel that they could do the job. Cllr Lindsay has impressed by his straight talking and fairness and represents a younger generation. Cllr Borwick ran a spirited campaign to become Mayor of London and came a strong second. Cllr Buxton has wide experience and is another capable pair of hands.

The Dame also learns Cllr Weatherhead has some leadership ambitions and thinks that to keep them as ambitions is probably the best idea.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

Poll Results and Standards Committee

Not good reading for Clouseau Palmer, (who the Dame is going to rename Clumsy Councilskills Clouseau), 9 out of 10 respondents in our poll think he should have had the book thrown at him, rather than let off the hook.

The people have spoken.

And that, Dear Reader, is a good introduction into dealing with the so-called Standards Committee who have spared the errant member from any censure. Octogenarian Ms Ware, the "independent" on the panel who decide these things is a life long liberal who is tickled by power and plays wherever she can find it.

Kensington and Chelsea is controlled by the Tories so of course she cosied up to Council Leader Merrick Cockell and soon found herself the "independent" backstop of the Council's Standards Committee. As a resident of Earls Court she sucked up to disgraced ex councillor Barry Phelps and for many years sailed closely in his slip stream. How inconvenient when he was dragged before the Standards Committee twice before Chief Executive Derek Myers was forced to act as he used the council website to distribute inappropriate images of young boys.

At the Standards Committee Ware swung into damage limitation mode on behalf of Phelps and after declaring that she had "no conflict of interest", defended him stoutly and they publicly embraced at the end of second humiliation in front of the Standards Committee.

She has just performed her magic again for Conservative councillors by letting Cllr Palmer off the hook when he was hauled up before the Standards Committee for failing to declare business interests while trading with his fellow councillors in Hornton Street as well as using Town Hall facilities promoting this business.

Ware is currently involved in two campaigns in Earls Court. She is seeking funding for the Earls Court Trust, a charity that organises street parties in Earls Court which has in recent years attracted ca £50k funding per year, including £15k from Bloomberg, £10k from Chelsea Football Club and £10k from Earls Court Exhibition Centre. Nothing has come through this year and the trust is heading for bust.

Jennifer's other great campaign is to get Phelps rehabilitated and back as a councillor and she is using the platform of the Earls Court Society to campaign for this. Both of these organisations were organs of Phelps' machinations.

By Election Date Fixed

The date for the by election has been set for 9th June for both Brompton Ward and Queens Gate.
The snap election has been called and more details on the runners and riders will be announced soon.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Every MP with a safe seat wants you to vote "no"


Simply because it means their cushy lifestyle as an MP is at risk...


You do not need your polling card to vote, just go to your usual polling station with some proof of ID as you may be asked to present it.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Grasp the nettle over by-election

Following the sad departure of the incumbent councillors as soon as the process is triggered by two electors writing to the Chief Executive at Kensington Town Hall demanding a by election; arrangements will need to be made to fill the vacancies that now exist.

Brompton and Queens Gate will, if contested have to choose a new representative each.

The Hornet has no idea who each of the parties will select, the Tories may want to avoid the Earls Court debacle in selecting a previous candidate who stood against them.

But it is a great opportunity for the opposition.

At the last election the Tories romped home in both wards, helped by the inactivity of other parties and the presence of all of them splitting the vote.

So here is the opportunity...

Big chiefs in Labour and Liberal Democrats should get together round a table and come to an agreement.

One stands in one of the wards, the other in the other ward; therefore giving the electorate a straight choice between yet another faceless Tory or some opposition. They could even put an endorsement on each others respective leaflets!

Fanciful idea? Perhaps...    ...but you dont know the opportunity unless you talk.... could pave the way to something bigger.....

New Competition

Everyone knows about the Dear Leaders' trips to the USA, on more than occasion, funded by the council. He attended very important conferences, that amongst others discussed the merits of a single telephone number for council services.

In the course of one of these conferences, not the one in Boston or San Francisco, he had dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, costing around $500. It was a dinner for two.

Under the council expense rules now he wouldn't have been able to claim for a dinner for one, but at the time the rules were absent, so the council very kindly picked up the tab.

When asked, Sir M was "unable to remember" whom he entertained that evening, claiming it was a long time ago and he can't remember who his dinner guest was.

Therefore, Dear Reader, we invite you to suggest possible candidates in the attempt to jog the poor fellows memory.

So get your thinking caps on and send in your suggestions, and of course a selection will be published.

No Consolation for SOLACE

The guy who is paid a little less than the President of the USA, Derek Myers, is the Head of Paid Service in the Town Hall. He is the Chief Executive, the Town Clerk, the Returning Officer at elections. He is the top of the pile when it comes to council employees.

He is also a big cheese in an organisation called SOLACE - the acronym for the "Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers"....   ok so the ASM bit doesn't follow but dont blame the Dame....

So what does SOLACE do?

Its an organisation that states it is there to promote excellence and professional development for its members. It also boasts to have a charitable trust which, before you start nodding enthusiastically its not looking after elderly folk, the homeless, or famine relief in Africa.

Solace Charitable Trust exists to promote the cause of local government and provide support and professional development of chief executives. Its main source of income is from Solace Enterprises Limited which is part of the same parent outfit, organising conferences and programmes and doing other things to promote local government. Last set of figures show income of almost £200,000 annually.

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

Local government.  Chief Executives.   Professional development.   Charitable trust.

By definition Chief Execs are not under paid, in many cases quite the opposite. Our own here in K&C receives more than David Cameron the Prime Minister, and a shade less than the President of the USA; not to mention the rather generous publicly funded pension pot.

If the Dame in the course of her professional development wants to go on a training course, she has to persuade her employer who will then fund it, or if not she has to put her hand in her pocket and do it herself. There isn't a charitable trust to fund training and professional development of truth seekers as far as she knows.

And that brings us neatly to the Council Credit Card.

Remember, Derek Myers the Chief Executive is a big cheese at SOLACE, so any conference organised by this group it would be fair to assume that he would need to be there, he is the top dog over at SOLACE after all.

Why then is there £3541 worth of conference fees paid for by the council credit card for him to attend five SOLACE conferences?

Why are the people of K&C paying for him to attend a conference he should be attending as part of the group organising it? Was he there as part of SOLACE, or was he there as Chief Executive of K&C?

Questions should be asked.

The question is, who is going to do it...............