send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Resident Associations and RBKC...Rotten Bedfellows!

Cockell: 'Buying' Resident Associations
What is the point and purpose of a Royal Borough Resident Association? A question long intriguing the Dame. She poses the question, alerted by a resident surprised that Cockell, on the recommendation of Head of Propaganda, Mr Fitzpatrick, had instituted something called the Gold Standard Award Scheme for Resident and Tenant Associations.
Briefing Cockell, Fitzpatrick said his brainwave would go some way to neutralising associations stepping out of line.
Cynically, Cockell has this to say, “We proudly offer the Gold Standard Award to recognise tenant and resident associations representing their local community. A Gold Standard association is one that is an expert at seeking out residents' views and has put in place procedures to ensure those views are heard, but totally ignored- unless they agree with me."
What utter nonsense...tell that to ESSA, whose views on the development of the Commonwealth Institute have been comprehensively ignored: or Camden Hill Residents Association, whose detailed research on the new Holland Park School School was ridiculed by Cockell and his colleagues. Or West London Residents Association, whose chairman, Doctor Gordon Taylor is the subject of continual vilification by councillor nonentities. The list is endless.
These are the pathetic baubles offered to RA's, who take the Cockell shilling.....

  • a one-off grant of £500
  • recognition at an annual ‘Gold Standard’ event with opportunities to meet Councillors and key partner(how boring!)
  • increased access to decision-making bodies in the Royal Borough
  • councillors to attend AGMs subject to availability(what AGM's or Councillors?) 
  • a certificate to display
  • a logo to be used on association letter heads or newsletters
 Along with the Dame, Resident Associations can be a vitally effective opposition to a dictatorial and un-hearing council like ours. They should  refuse to play Cockell and Fitzpatricks' patronising game. 
Instead they should form an umbrella group, able to present a forceful opposition on issues of common interest.

Resident Associations are there to vocalise the concerns of residents, in the face of a dictatorial and undemocratic practices, by a council noted for corrupt manipulation of residents' views.
Associations should not be getting into bed with a council which rides roughshod over the views of those they represent. They must remain aloof.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Post Down

The Dame had a very late night and has only just picked up some of the comments: some are blatantly racist.
Benefit cheating is not the preserve of any one ethnic group. In fact, were it not racist to say so benefit cheats are more likely to be WASP. Anyway, the post has been removed to deter any more offensive comments.
But, Mr Myers your inescapable duty is to stop this theft of our money: money which can be used to help the really needy. And we have enough in both boroughs you have responsibility for. If you cannot put these measures in place then you need to reconsider your position.

And finally, The Dame is an elderly old thing....when people post up nasty stuff it often very difficult for her to take it down quickly-so just don't do it!

The beauty of this blog is that there is no moderation. Let us keep it that way!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Cllr Condon-Simmonds Reported To Standards Committee

The Pride of Cremorne
Deep in the depths of Cremorne lurks Cllr Maighread Condon-Simmonds. By popular demand-from mischief making Cremornites, the Dame has decided to remove the bushel that hides Maighread's very bright candle.
Evidently Maighread had a spot of trouble which led her to come before the Lack of Standards Committee. According to 'one who knows', she she applied for 'regeneration' funds for Cremorne estate: it's for small local projects that benefit social tenants, often bin tidying, playground projects etc. Now that sounds rather good-until one digs around.....
The particular application was to fence off part of a communal space-a rather lovely patch of grass and plants.
One who knows says was to be a gate from a particular person's balcony or something, which would give them pretty well exclusive access to it. It would also mean that only people from that block could use the garden so it would not have been a communal/amenity space. It's supposed to go out to consultation-it didn't. Condon-Simmonds signed the papers saying it had. Residents were absolutely furious and reported their councillor to the Lack of Standards Committee.
What happened? Nothing, of course

What she did was deliberate, misleading and disgraceful. The Dame is awaiting a solicitor's letter-if Condon-Simmonds dares!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Cllr Frances Taylor...the Borough's Mrs Bennet

Continuing her appraisals of our councllors.....
The Dame was tipped the wink by an officer that Councillor Taylor should step into the spotlight.
Why this mischief making officer would nominate Cllr Taylor will soon become clear....officers loathe her for her overbearing manner and social climbing ambitions.

The Dame has only ever casually met Cllr Taylor. Sad to say they have much in common: both are inveterate social climbers. However, unlike Cllr Taylor, the Dame was never employed by BEA as a trolley dolly...she is far too grand to ever have had to serve drinks to fat international salesmen.

But those of you who watch TV costume drama will see much resemblance to Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Like Mrs Bennet, Cllr Taylor succeeded in marrying off her daughter to a young Cadogan-a fact that causes the councillor, all too often-and quite without reason-to declare interests when Cadogan matters are on the agenda.
Mrs Bennet aka Cllr Taylor
But importantly, for this very self important lady,  it does remind other councillors how well connected she is!
The word on Sloane Street is that that old 'Curmudgeon' Cadogan is far from being a fan of his son's mum- in-law. In fact, he has been known to turn his back on her with disdain...

This is unlikely to upset this very pushy woman known to officers as the Poisonous Dwarf.... so pushy that she elbows other 'celebrities' out of the way to get into council pictures. Small wonder Cllr 'Betty' Campbell fled Redcliffe Ward.....

Ring Fence Aid For The Disabled. Send Monckton to the Lords

"Who will help them when we die" is the question Rosa Monckton poses as she launches an e-petition to persuade Government to ring fence aid for the disabled. By not doing so she says,  "we may get some very nicely painted town halls but not what some of the country’s most vulnerable people need."
Parents of the disabled live in fear of what will happen to their children when they die.
You can read all about it here  e petition
Rosa Monckton And Family

 If Rosa get this through then it means 'Cradle to Death Support' for our vulnerable.

So far the Petition has got over 100,000 signatures and a Commons debate is planned.

Those of us worried about the future of Full of Life will be keen to sign up to the petition. You can do so and read the story here. What a great shame we don't have politicians like Rosa representing us. She should be sent to the Lords immediately. Her brief? To champion the disabled. 
This is a great cause. Please sign her petition 

The Dame thinks another petition should be 'Send Monckton to the Lords!' 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cockell Blogs on the Hornet-A First!

The Dame is proud to announce that PM Cockell has at last opined in the Hornet. How does the Dame know? Well, at the Cabinet meeting to discuss Holland Park Opera Prime Minister Cockell, with great grandiloquence, described our little opera in the Park as the Great Glory of London. It is in the minutes and only one member of the public was present. So the Dame used her deductive powers when she read the comment posted this evening from 20:53. 20:53 is none other than Merrick Cockell. Unless, of course, the Dame is wrong and it is another member of the Cabinet present and gracing us with his/her observations. Never underestimate the Dame......

The Detective Dame
"Anonymous said...
The Hornet and a few philistine residents have been campaigning against the opera of Holland Park, which is the Great Glory Of London.

Ignorant people. It brings prestige to our Borough"
24 March 2012 20:53

The Letter to our Prime Minister Cockell

Matthew Palmer... you asked the Dame to put up the letter to your witless leader. Here it is...hardly deranged. Though derangement is something your council colleagues believe you suffer from!!!
Dear Cllr Cockell
I wrote to you in very clear terms in 2008 objecting to the Cabinet decision to set up Chelsea Care. As a businessman it was clear to me that the venture was doomed to failure and I also told you that the Council should not be dabbling in the risk business. Now we know that the venture racked up losses of £1 million and was liquidated in 2011.

I am writing to you again to place on record my strong objection to the Cabinet decision last night to continue funding Holland Park Opera via the new wheeze of a self standing company. Like Chelsea Care before, it is clear to me that this will end in tears. It is the risk business again and lies outside the competence of  local Government. Opera is a very high cost and high risk art form for a select minority. It should not by funded by council tax and it is wrong to make trade off decisions against the needs of the poor and vulnerable. It is also unacceptable that resident objections, and Scrutiny Committee cautions, were not mentioned at all at the Cabinet meeting. Residents are, after all, pumping in approximately £1.5 million of support every year from our council tax.

Cllr Paget-Brown stated that the objective of the new strategy and the new self standing company is to reduce risk. The new Board will be given three years to become self funding. But the subsidy has increased relentlessly from £100k ten years ago to nearly £1 million last year (FOI data). The Friends currently raise £250k per year. The Chairman elect of the new company said last night that he will hire a fundraiser in order to increase the Friends contribution. A fundraiser will cost him £150k. And a self standing company will require a Director of Administration (consider the Royal Opera House Organisation chart). That is another £100k. And the staff who are currently on local Government pay and conditions (eight permanent and more temporary staff during the season) will have their rations scaled back to match market rates. Dissatisfaction and perhaps attrition will follow. The slightest signs of wobble will destabilise Investec and their £200k sponsorship. You have created a huge risk downside.

In fact, the current set up is the minimum risk option! And the elephant in the room was never discussed. What happens when the self funding wish does not happen?

HPO should never have been allowed to happen. It is a one off that is not appropriate for a local authority. Council tax funding should cease and let the market decide. Options include closure; the emergence of a rich patron; or absorption by a full scale operation like Covent Garden who might be able to grow and nurture it.

It was disingenuous for Tot Brill and other councillors to chirp on about "affordable opera" for local residents. The minimum price point for tickets at Covent Garden is £9 which compares with £12 for HPO.

A copy of this note goes to my Ward councillors and also the Chief Executive.


Donald Cameron

'Prime Minister' Cockell gets 'Bunker Mentality'.

A long term resident of our Borough wrote to Cllr Cockell expressing concern about the recent Cabinet decision to continue funding Holland Park Opera. This resident has a forty year track record in international business; an opera lover and adviser to the shadow Cabinet in the lead up to the 1979 General Election.
One of the claims made by Councillor Cockell is that he wants residents-you know, us suckers who fund his greedily extravagant lifestyle with a £133,000 per annum allowance- to actively participate in the affairs of the Borough. And of course, why on earth not? It is our hard earned taxes that keep the Borough operational. But of course, the truth and Cockell are violent enemies. When he dissembles he says it is 'political'!
Our resident has developed a reputation as a tough 'resident scrutineer'. When the council wastes money he will say so: when it does good things he is unstinting in praise.

A recent concern has been the  high risk plan to further fund Holland Park Opera. There are parallels here with Chelsea Care. The resident previously warned Cllr Cockell that engaging in this sort of activity was likely to lead to a major financial loss: and so it transpired-residents picked up a bill for nearly £1 million. And again, at that time Cockell refused to engage in any discussion

The resident continued to exercise his right to articulate his concerns with a letter on Holland Park Opera. And-as before, Cockell refused to respond or engage. An elected representative has a bounden duty to respond to legitimate criticism and concerns. Not to do so is rude and boorish. But worse, it is a dereliction of democratic duty.  

Cockell needs to 'man up' and stop acting like a sulky child. He has a reputation for being upset when criticised, but needs to remember that his own business experience is not just very limited, but quite unsuccessful. He should be ready to take advice from others with successful business careers and greater intelligence.

Answer the letter and stop behaving like a petulant, spoilt brat-or maybe you just don't have an answer?

Cllrs 'Up Yours' Palmer and Fielding-Mellen In Trouble

Trainee Deputy Prime Minister Cllr Rocky Fielding-Mellen made a major faux pas at the Cabinet meeting the other day.
Around and about our borough are numerous school-keepers' and park-keepers' lodges. One such building was squatted for SIX MONTHS before the Council even noticed!
 So just what is the Council doing with these other high value assets? They are being let to 'developers' who will develop them as luxury homes and rent out for ten years. Why the Council cannot do this uncomplicated refurbishment themselves and capture the huge rent is rather a mystery; the substantial income could have been deployed to refurbish falling apart council housing in Golborne, for example, rather being handed over to greedy developers.

Blabbernmouth Palmer
It appears that there is also a top secret Plan B and the contents  are being blabbermouthed  by Cllr 'Up Yours' Palmer!

RockFM In Trouble
Evidently, despite being told it was top secret, Palmer has been telling all and sundry that 49 Bassett Road W10, a 16 bed hostel, is about to be let, on a long lease, to a private primary school. Palmer is telling people it's 'top secret' as it should have been made available for housing.
But what did Rocky do wrong? At the last Cabinet meeting discussions were taking place about two, very close rival bids, to run two ex caretaker houses as luxury homes for 10 years. Rocky suddenly blurted out something to the effect, “as the bids are so close let's hope no one tops the £90,000 bid with one at £90,500”
A furious Pooter shot an angry glance at his trainee saying, “these figures are only in the private papers. Come and see me after, in my study, for a good thrashing, you silly boy!” Tears rolling down his cheeks Rocky said, “ but what about Cllr 'Up Yours' Palmer-he has been telling everybody about Plan B. It's not fair!”

Friday, 23 March 2012

Royal Borer Newspaper Found In Aldwych!

 A resident has written to the Dame with a very strange tale. It seems Mr Fitzpatrick, head of the RBK&C Propaganda Unit has been instructed by Prime Minister Cockell to ensure the Royal Borer newspaper is widely circulated throughout London, so that all Londoners can see him with the 'not so good and not so great' opening Exhibitionist Road. 
An Utter Waste Of Money
Our resident was fuming at the waste and hubris of Pootin. This is what he had to say......
"I got on a No.23 bus this evening at Aldwych and there was a pile of Royal Borough newspapers for anybody to pick up and read. Given the wishes of Eric Pickles about the withdrawal of this type of wasteful propaganda why are these available on a bus (at the expense of the RBK&C council tax payer) which runs across a number of different councils. Strangely enough, I am not sure whether the No. 23 actually ventures into the RBK&C!"

Be Careful What You Don't Wish For

Will He: Won't He.
There are jitters amongst our impotent RBK&C backbench cllrs as they scurry around trying to garner every last vote for Boris. Is it because they think him a great Mayor? Or could their pavement pounding be out of self interest and more domestically orientated...
The Dame believes she has the answer. Her personal political strategist tells the Dame that the knife edge polls shows London voters have not been convinced by Boris's performance as Mayor. After four years he really should be leaps and bounds ahead. Which brings us back to the implications for our own Borough IF Boris cocks it up.

The 'elephant in the room' is none other that our old friend and £133,000 pa ( with his RBKC allowance) deputy chairman of Tfl.

Leader in Waiting?
Danny 'Boys' Moylan's fortunes-political and financial, are inextricably linked to those of Boris: if Boris goes, so does 'Boys'. What to do?

One theory causing massive concern is that he will begin to raise his  game at the Rotten Borough. Maybe he will mount a leadership challenge; after all 'Boy's, who is certainly very sharp, holds our Prime Minister, Pootin Cockell in great contempt.
For Cllr Moylan, being thick is one of the great sins.

Anyway, if backbenchers think they are powerless now, they would do well to dwell on how much less power they would have were Danny 'Boys' in charge
Councillor Moylan will be needing the  big job and it's allowance. You have been warned!

£4.5 Million More Going To Operatic Tragedy

Paget-Brown playing Medici with our money
Forget about boring things like Scrutiny Committees: they are an irrelevance.
A carefully stage managed Cabinet Meeting the other night made passing reference to the Scrutiny Committee report as another £4.5 million of your council tax was pumped into Holland Park Opera until 2015.
The Dame was surprised to hear from Opera Buff that tucked away-so no one would notice-(except the wily Dame) was a 'negotiation' with Newco. Why a 'negotiation'? Who knows.... but what it concerns is the T&C's for premises and back office supply. This carefully concealed subsidy is worth another £1 million every year. Is it worth it?One critic says avoid

In a decade, you, the taxpayer, have seen the subsidy rise from £100,000 a year to £1 million. A trajectory which mirrors, in percentage terms, Cockell's astonishing rise in allowances!
Clearly, embarrassed by this frittering of our money, Cllr Paget-Brown, the hapless and mentally taxed deputy to Pooter has come up with a 'self standing company'.
The idea is to bolt the stable door to stop HPO bolting away with any more of our money. Paget-Brown is a nice chap, but has never run a business and likes the idea of being a Patron of the Arts! What our 'whiz kid' cannot grasp is that the current arrangement of support and administration by the Council is the low risk option. 
Cllr Coleridge asked the Chairman elect of the new company if the "Friends" would put more personal effort into raising money to make the company self financing. "Yes" said the Chairman elect, having to think on his feet, "We will hire a fund raiser"- at a cost of £150,000 a year!

So the cat is out of the bag. The Friends contribute £250k per year to HPO, A fund raiser will cost £150k per year, so that additional overhead will load the risk. And then there will be the need to hire a Director of Administration (just look at the organisation chart of the Royal Opera ) and that is another £100k. And if there is the slightest wobble, the current sponsor (Investec), who put in £200k per year will 'exit left'. This is the new risk profile. But none of this, of course, was discussed. And probably not understood - just like Chelsea Care.

A hard hitting report from the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee was buried. Chairman Joanna Gardiner was "unable to attend the Cabinet". Her report was rubbished by Cllr Lightfoot and Cllr Buxton who invented Chelsea Care. Not a word from a single Cabinet member about the opposition from residents and  Labour councillors about the Council using huge amounts of tax payers money to support home grown opera when there are two world class alternatives (the Royal Opera and English National Opera) just down the road.

In a shameful let down by the Officer class, the report's author Tot Brill was singing for her supper. She stated that HPO plays to 90% houses compared with London theatres who play to 60% houses. She forgot to add that many HPO tickets are given away for free and Covent Garden plays to 98% houses. Dotty Totty also 'laid it' on that the Council is making available "affordable opera". She forgot to mention that Covent Garden seats are cheaper than HPO seats!

Cllr Lightfoot summed up the complete breakdown of democracy in the Borough when he concluded the farce by saying that "Comparisons with Chelsea Care are irrelevant. This is about how we choose to allocate cash". No one dared to acknowledge the elephant in the room - what happens when self financing does not happen? The only light relief came from observing Cllr Eliazabeth Campbell who is playing herself into her new Cabinet role. She obviously thinks she is Margret Thatcher reincarnated - copy cat hairstyle, and copy cat mannerisms. She is still working on the voice...a remarkably stupid woman.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Cockell Appoints Himself 'Prime Minister' Of The Rotten Borough

This paper has just been published by the Council.pompous or what? It's so puerile it further succeeds in bringing the leadership into disrepute. The Dame has added some of her own comments......
Find out more about the different Cabinet portfolios and the Councillors who are responsible for them, as well as their Lead Members.
And at an annual cost of c £700,000 they get more that most PLC non exec directors,yet have bugger all experience. If it were not so embarrassing and extravagant it would funny.
1. Leader of the Council
Cllr Sir Pooter Cockell would love to be thought of as the borough’s Prime Minister, in charge of one of the most popular places to live, work and visit in the country. He is responsible for an area with a local economy which produces more revenue than many small countries. He loves to dream his role makes him an influential figure in London.... he asks you to overlook the fact that his own company's attempt to generate revenue for the local economy ended ignominiously-in financial terms. His company, Addison Cockell has been hijacked by odd people from the Orient.

2. Planning Policy

Kensington and Chelsea is reported to have a greater land value than the whole of Northern Ireland. So  Cllr Ahern, being Oirish, is yer man to be in charge of setting the policy framework within which the borough is developed. Previously, Cllr Ahern was in charge of changing light bulbs at the offices of his tycoon ex wife. Or so one mischievous ex-employee reported. Lucky to have a very rich ex wife.....

3. Environment, Transport and Leisure

Cllr Paget-Brown is in charge of the often challenging area of transport policy. He is also in charge of key environmental issues such as waste collection and recycling. In addition, Cllr Paget-Brown, who is also Deputy Leader, looks after our award-winning parks, open spaces and leisure centres. Cllr Paget-Brown has spent many years Brown- Nosing to 'Prime Minister' Pootin Cockell in order to get the job.

4. Education and Libraries

Children and young people in the borough depend on us for their education – fortunately for them we are rated as one of the best local education authorities in Britain. We also have six first-class libraries issuing some 750,000 books a year. Cllr Mrs 'Betty' Campbell looks after this diverse portfolio. This post was one of our 'Prime Minister's little jokes...Cllr Betty is known to be the least educated of all our councillors-but she loves a biblical quote or two...yawn! With her own children at Eton, rather than being 'dependent on us for their education' her vast allowance is useful to pay the school fees.

5. Family and Children's Services

Cllr Betty Campbell is also responsible for all services for children, providing leadership, strategic planning and development and decision-making.(No, the Dame is not making that bit up!) She ensures that partner agencies cooperate to achieve positive outcomes for children. This does not include Full of Life, who she is offering nil support to. At a recent meeting members were astonished at the way she floundered around and her lack of intellectual grip. No wonder officers roll their eyes!

6. Finance and IT

If Cllr Cockell is the borough’s Prime Minister, then Cllr Lightfoot is Chancellor of the Exchequer, overseeing the Council’s budget and assets and making sure that the books balance.(again, not the Dame's words) He is also responsible for strategy and policy relating to the Council's information systems. If Cllr Lightfoot is our Chancellor of the Exchequer....God help us all! Such a pompous little fellow. He boasts he NEVER responds to residents. He is currently scheming to supplant Prime Minister Cockell.

7. Adult Social Care, Public Health and Environmental Health

Cllr Fiona Buxton’s role ranges from trying to help the thousands of people who depend on the borough for care or support to get what they need, to ensuring that our restaurants and shops are safe to visit.  Cllr Fiona Buxton was the creator of the million pound loss that is Chelsea Care. How does she combine a full time head hunting job job with this? She doesn't...that's why she cocked up over Chelsea Care.

8. Civil Society

The Council is always looking to improve the services it offers. It is Cllr Feilding-Mellen's job to keep everyone on their toes in the search for continuous improvement across all the Council’s services, including those delivered on the Council’s behalf by private companies and voluntary organisations. Cllr Feilding-Mellen also manages the regeneration and community safety portfolios. Cllr Fielding-Mellen has been chosen by Prime Minister Cockell to succeed him. So he is, in effect Deputy Prime Minister- like the useless Clegg. Prime Minister Cockell gave Rock the job as he needed 'work experience'

9. Housing and property

Cllr Coleridge is responsible for promoting better housing for borough residents and for the property portfolio. Cllr Coleridge is a jolly nice chap, but lacks 'muscle'  relentlessly following the Government's line on social cleansing in the Borough.

Cockell Being Careless with Care Site-You Have Been Warned!

The Dame nearly fell off her chair, spilling her early evening vermouth in the process....
She never imagined her friend Sir Pootin Cockell, our dear leader, had a sense of wrong she was...
Her 'hotline' to the Leader's penthouse office in the Town Hall tinkled urgently. Full of excitement she picked it up to hear Pootins' Churchillian tones, “ Dame, I have a new 'wheeze' in the care area”.
"Pooter," replied the Dame, your last little 'wheeze' with Chelsea Care cost us all a cool million. I would advise special care....but tell me all about it”
"Dame, this one is a terrific idea: I have to share it with you. Thanks to the useless Cllr 'Up Yours' Palmer, we dropped a packet on Chelsea Care, so this is what we plan”
In Stage 1 Pootin said he wanted to 'invest' £70,000, to develop a website providing Rotten Borough residents with comparable information on local care providers.
"If we get it right the Borough will be able to sell the idea around the world and we will make billions" boasted our fabled entrepreneur. The Dame saw many Virgin Upper Class moments coming on as Pooter travelled the world as a high tech salesman.
The Dame thought she should be helpful, "Pooter, there are thousands of companies selling products for the elderly. Why not get them to sponsor the site and save £70,000. They would love the exposure"
"Funny you say that, thinking exactly." replied our brilliant entrepreneur.....

Pootin Cockell IT Investor
The Dame felt a chill running down her spine...Pooter was about to play the Sillicon Vallley investor....where would it all end up? Very badly, she thought....
Then she realised that Pooter was pulling her elegantly turned leg....the decision was not to be taken before April 1. What an old fox he was..she was nearly taken in!

Triborough Threat-Tears Before Bedtime?

 The Dame hears the political balance within Westminster City Council may tilt in another direction at the next elections. It appears that Labour may gain a few more seats, but as importantly, there could be a rash of wins by independent or resident facing candidates. All thanks to the idiocies of Cllrs Barrow Boy and Boy Rowley.

She appeals to Political Strategist to advise on how this might impact on our Triborough arrangement. Even more pessimistically, if Labour manage to do better in H&F there could well be Tears Before Bedtime....

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Wealing and Dealing ...Hanstowns's Phantom Councillor

Hanstown Cllrs Paget-Brown and Coleridge work relatively hard for those who pay their chunky c £50k a year allowances: the third Cllr Mary Weale, an insurance broker, lives out of Knightsbridge and has built a hard won reputation for being the laziest and most ineffectual ward councillor in our Rotten Borough.

The Dame has worked out Weale is reeling in close to £50,000 a year! No wonder she is known in Hanstown as the Phantom-she doesn't have the time for those who pay her. Oh, how it pays to be patronised by Pootin Cockell
Pinning down Mary down is as difficult as taking Pootin's vast allowances off him. And she is tenacious in her determination to avoid any contact with those who elected her.
Making Big Allowances For Herself

In the past Mary 'wealed' herself around various constituencies desperate to find 'other' ways of 'representing the people'.
Maybe the word got around.... her quest remains unsatisfied.
A rather lovely vignette comes from someone who was present at a Holland Park School presentation. Mary was supposed to be presenting the detail of the new school. She turned up late-casually dressed and briefed. When asked how many extra places the new school would provide, she replied, as casually, "I am not sure, I will have to write to you with an answer."
Incredible, but true! So 'brief mastery' is not her forte.

So what is her forte?
Well, collecting Special Responsibility Allowances is certainly something she excels at.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Disabled Childrens Charity Pressured By Council

The ongoing saga of finding suitable premises for Full of Life continues.  
For those who don't know the website tells you all you need to know about this credit to the Royal

So you would think councillors and officers would bend over backwards to assist the work of Full of Life? It is far from the case. In fact, the Council has given more help to billionaire Terence Conran in locating his Design Museum: it even provided a near £3million loan, at a nominal interest rate, to help out the poor chap!
But then of course, two very self important people like Cockell and Moylan do so love to consort with the rich and powerful! Moylan got terribly excited when meeting a brace of dukes buying Holland Park School's playing fields.

Moylan, also fancies himself as a bit of a dilettante- even spending time lobbying for drawing lessons at Leighton House. Perhaps better he had put his back into helping relocate Full of Life
But on the plus side Full of Life owes a huge debt to Cllr Ritchie...... 

Ritchie...Full of Life's Champion

Not only did Cllr Ritchie find the premises for Full of Life, but she remains massively supportive in ensuring that they can stay where they are-or have alternative suitable premises found. Another councillor who has been a huge support is Judith Blakeman.

Frank Redmond, a parent explained, The work of Full of Life is not about dumping kids in a facility to play and give parents a rest.
Our young people have very complex needs. They need a structured and purposeful day. Our staff   are amazing; theirs is a job you cannot do without love and commitment.  Without the services Full of Life provide families we would not be able to cope. My daughter has been in hospital since last Friday with uncontrolled seizures and the doctors are having difficulty bringing them under control. Between Friday and Tuesday this week the amount of seizures she had were documented on 15 A4 pages. And because she also has severe learning difficulties someone has to be with her twenty four hours a day,”

Two weeks ago Full of Life were told that Borough Officers, surveyors and contractors would be visiting to inspect the Full of Life building to see what alternations they would have to make for the new unit. Naturally they were refused access and nothing further has been heard.
Councillors, stop the bullying of this unique and valuable resource. It is worth a thousand useless Exhibition Roads'

As usual the Dame selected a sage comment which Cockell and crew would do well to note-if their only interest is NOT having to spend OUR money on those LESS fortunate...

"There has been a systematic but 'silent' slashing of support services for disabled people in this and other boroughs. Why? because these people and their parents (who are exhausted to their core) don't have a loud voice, they don't vote, and are completely irrelevant to politicians and their lackeys.

If the Borough wants to go down the financial route look at what Full of Life is saving local taxpayers, by not having to fund emergency and extremely expensive residential places for these young people when their families can't cope anymore. This is not taking into consideration the trauma parents and brothers and sisters have to face if they simply cant care anymore.

This tiny charity is a beacon of light, of old fashioned community values, and love, in a borough lead by a bunch of mindless, egotistical people who are literally allowed to pour our money down drains, into pavements and tin elephants. Rather than ensuring charities such as Full of Life who are our communities backbone have security to continue their great work.

Full of Life saves this Borough literally millions in pounds and gives even more with its heart. Their staff are a credit to the caring profession and leaders in their field. They are the type of people everyone would want to have caring for them if they were sick or vulnerable. THAT is precisely where we will all be including Mr Cockell and his entourage.

Its about time someone did the right thing to ensure they are safe to continue their brilliant work.

Could  Sir Terence Conran help? By giving something back?


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Goldman Sachs and The Rotten Borough

You might all think, "What on earth is the silly old  Dame doing introducing Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs into the affairs of the Rotten Borough?"
Well, the answer lies in the 'Rotten' bit. Smith was the senior Goldman Sachs director who resigned over what he claimed was the toxic culture of Goldmans. He lambasted the Bank's working culture as 'toxic and destructive'.
Goldman's fightback was pathetic and embarrassing, but around the world he is getting massive support.
Of course, they knew Smith was spot on....

Smith...Standing Up For What Is Right
There is an interesting parallel between Smith's courageous action and the inaction of Rotten Borough councillors.
Our councillors KNOW that under Cockell and Moylan(sub rosa) democracy has been demolished, yet for some reason they are like terrified sheep- unable to summon up the courage to take Cockell to one side and say, " we don't like the way you are running this council. And we don't like the fact that a local blog like the Hornet is now so popular that it will soon boast 100,000 unique visitors."

One has to hand it to Pootin Cockell....his adept management of Special Responsibility Allowances has allowed him to grip power as tenaciously as his near namesake Putin. But, in doing so, great damage is being caused to this Borough. Yes, historically, residents have voted Conservative-as if on auto-pilot, but low turnouts and lost seats demonstrate a depth of dissatisfaction rare in a True Blue borough.

Councillors should be inspired by Greg Smith: they need to stand up and say loudly, "Cllr Cockell, it is high time you moved on"

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sorting Priorities..Full Of Life...Looking After Our Vulnerable in K&C

Last night the Dame watched, with great interest, a programme about children and young adults with the severest of physical disabilities and those who had suffered brain damage in their earliest of years.
The programme was presented by Rosa Monckton, wife of Dominic Lawson. She did a superb job interviewing families who were 'resource poor' in looking after their children. What was particularly moving was a  set of elder parents frightened at  maybe not being around in their child's later years.
Rosa Monckton felt particular empathy as their daughter suffers from Down's Syndrome. What impressed the Dame was the impact charities such as chickenshed can have in exploiting the latent talents that ALL young people have. The excitement Domenica, the Lawson's daughter, expressed learning she had been accepted by chickenshed was a joy to watch.

Domenica going to chickenshed
The Dame is not making a political point BUT every time we see a piece of exorbitant expenditure, like Exhibitionist Road, Holland Park Opera or a new Mayoral Bentley, we need ask this a priority that should take precedence over the betterment of the lives of our children?

Most of the time the answer will be no.
These are the questions that our councillors need set themselves when being bullied into  'folies des grandeur' by Sir Merrick Cockell and Daniel Moylan.

Much of Monckton's programme focused on the lack of financial resources. It is the correct allocation of those resources that is the mark of a properly functioning and civilised society.

Just now someone has made a valuable comment. The Dame stupidly  overlooked our own Full of Life: It does a terrific job.

The comment....

Rosa Monckton did a wonderful job last night of reminding society that it will be judged by how it treats its vulnerable. Chickenshed do a great job raising young peoples expectations of themselves.
But it is when disabled children become adults societies attitudes towards them changes.

They are more vulnerable as adults than when they were children, parents end up being too frightened to die, because the system which is meant to support them works for itself. This is the shameful reflection we must look at.

Kensington and Chelsea has Full of Life which raises families expectations, lobbies for change and provides expert care to some of THE most vulnerable of our residents and in turn their parents.

To see their staff at work is an extraordinary thing and their summer shows even more so. Its time this Borough celebrated the work that local organisations such as this do on their behalf.

But local papers say their building is at risk? Its time someone rallied round this organisation to actually help them.

14 March 2012 21:35

Cllr Read Appointed By Pootin To Buy Mayoral Cars

A reader, obviously sharing Cllr Read's knowledge of big motor vehicles, has come up with a very clever suggestion. He says he can source these vehicles, cheaply, as a replacement for the Bentley and the Jaguar.
The Dame thinks they look slightly unwieldy and where would the personalised number plate go?
They might come in useful for Mayoral trips to Golbourne or for Pootin when opening the Notting Hill Carnival.
But as one reader wickedly commented, " they may be a bit slow transporting the Leader to Heathrow for one of his Virgin Upper Class trips to the US"

Cllr Read Road Testing Mayoral Vehicle

The Dame Put In Her Place By Pootin Cockell

The Dame has been thoroughly put in her place by Dear Leader Cockell. You may remember that the Dame accused him of gross extravagance in spending £30,000 on the opening of his £27 million extravaganza, Exhibitionist Rd. Well, the Dame hangs her head in shame. Pootin has just sent her the full costs and it cost nothing like £30k. As Pootin said in the accompanying note, " You got that wrong Dame: it only cost £28, there!"
Well, I know that the fun loving residents of Britain's richest ward, Golbourne, will be delighted to know that it was just a mere drop in the ocean.
There was a time when we Conservatives would have had the good manners to understand that this sort of excess is just plain vulgar and sends out a 'couldn't care less attitude'. But, of course, vulgarians like Moylan have no concept of good manners.

Take a look at the 'let them eat cake' spending. You will need to click on the image to see the full extent of how your money was wasted.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Wild Cheers For Courageous Cllrs Rossi & Atkinson.

 The Dame is always happy to publish insightful pieces by residents. All you have to do is post them as a comment and the Dame will put them on her front page....

"One Who Loves Portobello Market"  writes:

"A Planning  Inspector has vindicated 39,000 members of the 'Save the Portobello Road Market' Campaign by comprehensively REJECTING an Appeal to keep most of the notorious ALL SAINTS' shop front  at the corner of Westbourne Grove & Portobello Road!

Unfortunately his decision comes too late. A hundred local residents were furious when last week's Planning Committee APPROVED a third version of a similar application! Cllrs Buxton, Neal, Read, Rossi & Atkinson  all condemned it. As expected, Buxton, Neal & Read then performed a classic RBKC U turn by granting the application! The public was duly appalled.
Hero's Rossi & Atkinson

Wild cheers were reserved for courageous Cllrs Rossi & Atkinson. But where was our man of integrity, Cllr Read? Nowhere to be seen!
What a wimp.....just a reed blowing in the wind....

In 2004 the influential Ladbroke Association backed a similar design - withdrawing earlier objections in exchange for important concessions from the developers. Then as usual, under delegated officer powers, the concessions were made to disappear. Management was oblivious. The officer responsible for this manipulation later joined the developers' architects. So RBKC falls into even greater disrepute, while North Kensington has yet another fifth rate building!"

Monday, 12 March 2012

Do As I Say-Not As I Do!

Once again the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are holding a Climate Change Events during Climate Week in March 2012.

You will be pleased to know that Councillor Cockell will be attending this event. He and the Mayor will be driven there in their climate changing Bentley and Jaguar!
Also attending will be climate change expert, Cllr Read. He will be trying persuade attendees to switch to planet saving vehicles like the RBKC cars below, rather than the greedy, planet destroying Toyota Prius. Thank God we have our own local brainbox, Cllr Read able to lecture us on climate changing Bentleys!

RBKC's Big 6 MPG Answer To Climate Change!

RBKC's Other 12 MPG Answer To Climate Change!

Dear Councillors,

Once again the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are holding a Climate Change Events during Climate Week in March 2012.

The event will take place in the car park of Ladbroke Grove Sainsbury’s on Thursday 15 March 2012, from 10:00am until 4.00pm

We are keen to get as many residents and councillors to engage in the event, so please can you promote this event amongst your residents and colleagues.  We will be providing a range of tips and advice on how residents can reduce their carbon footprint and save money, as well as some free green goodies to help them save energy. 

I will forward a copy of the events poster as soon as it’s available.  We will be displaying the posters at key locations in the north of the borough and will be sending it via email to all Resident Associations and other key partners. 

If you would like to find out more about the events, or request some leaflets or posters please contact Ms Bennett via email on, or phone her direct on 020 7341 5770.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mrs Gorsia
Research and Statistics Officer
Environment, Leisure and Resident Services
Royal  Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
address: 37 Pembroke Road, London, W8 6PW
telephone: 020 7341 5166

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Councillors Posting Anoymously

The Dame has been at constant pains to point out that she is a apolitical old party animal. Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem....any of you can post...BUT no filth or vulgarity please!
She particularly enjoys participation by our councillors and has noticed some already doing so under their own names.
However, she is just a little perturbed to see one councillor posting under the pseudonym, Up Yours.
From the most recent comments it would appear that Up Yours is none other than Councillor Matthew Palmer.

UP YOURS* aka Cllr Palmer
Now the Dame understands that Leader Cockell has banned his colleagues from using her little 'talking shop': a shame and an affront to freedom of speech, but the Dame well understands they live in fear of the 'little fella' so recommends that when councillors contribute anonymously they put a little * by their atavar. For example, Matthew, you would sign off Up Yours*. In that way we can see that we are getting the full gamut of comment.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Real Leadership

Merrick Cockell is struggling desperately to get Crossrail to build a station at Kensal Green. But somehow he is just not getting his message across...least of all to the Labour Group. So where has  Cockell gone so wrong? Did people just doubt the economic benefits flowing through to the area? Or was there a sensation it was not the Council's responsibility to use millions of pounds of taxpayers' money on the scheme.
Maybe it was something far worse...
Did people look at Cockell's spending record....Exhibitionist Rd(£27 million), Holland Park School(£100 million), Chelsea Care(£1million), Bentleys, trips to New York, greedy £130 a year allowance and think, 'this is a man driven by a desire to carelessly fritter way money out of sheer hubris or self-aggrandisement: we don't trust him'

Of course, Cockell has a majority. He can ride roughshod over the opposition, residents and anyone else he chooses. The last council meeting was a sad display of petty bickering and showing off. It set a terrible example to residents. Cllr Read entirely missed the point on the Bentley. It was a perfect moment for a sensible debate about how residents-not just councillors, felt about running a Bentley in hard times.

The Dame has spent a lifetime around leaders. They manage, through the qualities she has listed below, to obtain consensus. But, of course, Cockell, not being trusted or even liked, has to bully his way through to getting what he wants. Such 'leaders' eventually fail. The Dame cannot help feel were it Cllrs Ahern or Coleridge promoting the benefits of Kensal Green there would have been an effusion of support.

Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person of integrity is the same on the outside and on the inside.. 
Dedication.. not just to screwing as big an allowance as possible and refusing to succession plan
Magnanimity means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that credit for successes is spread as widely
Humility  A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone.  
Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the usual way of thinking.
Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains solutions.
Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly.
Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness.
A sense of humor is vital to relieve tension and boredom, as well as to defuse hostility.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Dame Elephant

Pootin Cockell has barred Conservative councillors reading, or even mentioning the harmless old Dame and her Nest. An odd tactic: most Brits resent being told what they can or cannot read. One assumes it's the German in Pootin lying behind this non British diktat: Germans, are of course,  much more likely to follow orders and do as they are told. Anyway, the Dame is resigned to the fact that she will always be the 'elephant in the room'.
Here is a picture of  Dame Elephant with her trunk over Pootin...listening in!

The Dame, disguised as an elephant, advising Cllr Cockell

The Dame, Cllr Read And His Obsession With Very Large Motor Cars

The Dame awoke up from her afternoon nap to see who said what at the great meeting of
minds at Hornton Street.

The subject of the Bentley glided into the conversation. Cllr  Read claimed this vast 5 ton V200 10,000 horsepower monstrosity, beloved of royalty, property developers and con men, was more environmentally friendly than the humble Prius. Cllr Read recycled the usual boring stuff about it's batteries etc.
So, if Cllr Read is right about the batteries what can he possibly think about the hundreds of tons of granite slowly shipped by boat from China? Does this not count in his argument? One leaves aside the fact that it was quarried, under cruel conditions, by political prisoners and could have been acquired from Scotland.
Read claims it more environmentally friendly than Prius
And if the Bentley is so environmentally friendly will he ensure that Bentley owning residents are given special discounts when applying for Residents Parking permits? If Cllr Read cares to go this link he will see that the Council does not share his view that a Bentley is as environmentally friendly as a Prius.

And if he discusses the subject with Danny 'Boys' Moylan he will find  Tfl also favours the Prius-as does the Government with Road Tax.

But leave all that aside and think of perception-in politics, of the essence. Most residents, apart from those supporting Holland Park Opera, think a £113,000 Bentley blundering around our crowded streets sends out a rather vulgar message. The surprising thing is that Pootin Cockell did not have his Bentley sprayed gold to match the personalised number plate. He wanted to until the Dame told him to stop being common and vulgar.

The Dame Accused Of Inebriation By Cllr Brun-Nez

Taking time out from a hectic shopping day the Dame popped in to hear what our wannabe MP's are chattering about. It was just a little odd with people jumping up and down making what they thought were Churchillian style speeches. Oh well, innocent enough one supposes: a bit like a school debating society. Cllr Palmer caught her eye and forward thought the Dame: she has only met him twice! What an odd fellow he is...even his colleagues seemed embarrassed by his weird behaviour. The subject of the Bentley came up. Could it really be true that the Bentley is now worth just £35,000? If correct, it means running costs are around £70,000 a year, (with driver)- the same as it's main user, soon to be 'Lord' Pootin Cockell. Obviously, the Dame's innocent scribblings are well read by councillors, but the Dame was quite upset to hear opera buff-oon, Cllr Brun-Nez complain that the Dame drank a couple of bottles of Chateau Palmer before settling down to her  morning jottings. He must have been confusing the Dame with one of his colleagues, generally thought to have problems of excessive imbibing? The little pic below gives a hint as to who that fine fellow of a man(?) could be....
More than a 'drop taken'?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Top Opera Critic Says Holland Park Opera Output Is Tosh-not Tosca

Cllrs Nick Paget-Brown and his friend, Cllr 'Boys' Moylan love to whistle along with some light operatic tunes. Thus, it comes as no surprise they are frightfully keen to let Mike Volpe and his partner, James Cullen continue to have millions of our dosh to keep Holland Park Opera struggling along. 
What did surprise the Dame was the view of one eminent opera critic on the repetoire of HPO. 

Daily Telegraph critic, Rupert Christiansen described many of the rarities being revived by our little opera company in the Park as "unmitigated tosh"
Nice to know our millions are going on Tosh, not Tosca!
And even better to know that our hardworking councillor chums can pop along for a 'singalong' with their 'free tickets'

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Holland Park Opera Fat Lady Singing For Another £4.5 Million..£10million already gone!

Scrutiny Committee considers £4.5 million funding for Holland Park Opera on Monday 12th March

The Dame has been studying a report to the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee on proposals to spin off on money gobbling Holland Park Opera to an independent company. Yes, it sounds good. At last hard done by RBK&C taxpayers will be released from supporting a Chelsea Care type lame duck. Sadly, it is not quite like that.  On March 22 the Council will probably agree to guarantee funding for another three years-and most likely beyond.
In other words cash strapped residents will have to guarantee a staggering £4.5million.
For years, residents have questioned the amount of Council Tax used to subsidise Holland Park Opera. FOI data shows that the level of subsidy (cash) is running at about £1 million per year (that’s council tax spending)
But it does not end there.... HPO sucks in a vast range of Council services including HR, IT Support, free office space and the canopy which has to be replaced with frequency. A guesstimate is perhaps another £500k a year
A £4.5 Million Folly
The Council argues that it wants to “reach out and touch residents with opera”. This of course is nonsense. Only a short bus ride away are the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden (tickets available for £9) and The English National Opera (tickets available for £22). Holland Park Opera tickets can be had for £12. HPO is the only civic run opera in the country and the Cabinet has been plundering council tax to fund another Trophy project.
The new proposal is to spin HPO into a private company. But what does this entail? Probably a continued subsidy of £500k per year (council tax cash) and overhead support valued at another £150k. Pension protection (of course!) for council employees who transfer to the new company. The canopy given for free (recently installed at a cost of more than £1 million) and land leased for a peppercorn rent. Finance capital cost of £80k per year for the canopy absorbed by the Council and a three year grant settlement to be negotiated. This is a procedural sidestep that attempts to silence those council tax payers who do not believe that local councils should be in the business of putting on opera. Under this smokescreen, the Opera will carry on regardless with council tax subsidy. Add it all up and the full cost of subsidy is at least £1.5 million per year, or £4.5 million over three years.
But the most worrying aspect of all is the way that the Cabinet paper has been written. Hundreds of words of “council speak” from officials and consultants who have concentrated on “procedure” (not a single word about managing creativity). This is a jumble of logic that is another Chelsea Care waiting to happen. Cllr Moylan, the architect of Exhibition Road, has emerged as the champion of HPO and is urging his colleagues to support it:most will be bullied into submission.
Lots of hard work has gone into bringing HPO to where it is. Plus about £10 million of council tax subsidy already spent. This is a venture that should never have been started. There can be no justification for it in the circumstances of today. We should try to save the venture by offering it lock, stock and barrel to people who know about opera and might be interested to add it on to their existing operations...without council tax subsidy. 
The Royal Opera House, English National Opera and the Touring Opera companies (eg Welsh National Opera) should all be approached. If nothing comes of this, HPO should be closed down
So go on Cllr Cockell. Make the phone call. Telephone Tony Hall, the Chief Executive of Covent Garden and ask him in for a chat. Ask him “What works for you”. Don’t start with all the conditions that the Council wants to lay down, like preserving pensions and doing school visits.
And would readers of this blog please register their views. What is your opinion? Do you really care how your council tax is spent....or do you think we are rich enough to afford fripperies like this?

An Unshackled Councillor

Conservative RBKC councillors-with rare exceptions, are shackled to the Cockell caravan of juicy Special Responsibility Allowances....or the fear of being cast into outer darkness for challenging Pootin's despotic style of running our Borough.
Cockell's tactic has meant honest, hardworking councillors, of an independent bent, are deprived of any worthwhile position. The excuse for this type of nonsense is always, " oh so and so is difficult to deal with". In reality, it means, "he keeps telling the truth".....and truth and our Rotten Borough make equally rotten bedfellows
Cllr Robert Freeman has been pointed out to the Dame as someone shoved to one side by Pootin. So the Dame asks why? It cannot be that Pootin thinks Freeman poorly qualified:he is, after all, a high level corporate lawyer, qualified to work in both London and New York. And Pootin's qualifications? Well best not to go there!
So, Freeman is kicked into the long grass, whilst useless lightweights, are given positions of power.
A business run in this way would go bust fast...but of course the Council is not a business: it's an income generating scheme for friends of Merrick Cockell. Cross him and you are out.

A Free Man Unshackled

Monday, 5 March 2012

RBKC wants a "Vendor Neutral Managed Service?????"

Rock None of this... Please
By law, the Rotten Borough has to publish key decisions: a good idea we would all agree...particularly if we can catch certain councillors fiddling ex's.....
However, when those key decisions are published in a way as to be incomprehensible to all but psychics, one wonders if those responsible are not just havin' a larf at our expense.
Take the extract below....
It makes not one iota of sense. Were a business to put out such rubbish heads would roll.
Come on Rock...this has gone out under your imprimatur. We know you are not stupid, so take the clown who drafted this to one side and tell them never to embarrass you in this way again!

Vendor Neutral Managed Service for
Agency Staff
Ref: 03580/11/C/A
To review the vendor neutral agency staff
contract with Comensura.
This report will have a Part B apppendix
Not before
08 Sep 11
Cabinet Member for Civil Society
Cllr Rock Feilding-Mellen No external consultation No
♦ Cabinet and Corporate
Services Scrutiny