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Sunday, 20 September 2015


Ex Cllr Holt
Ex Cllr Holt is a delightful old cove but his flabby attempt to justify Pooter's greed, at the expense of taxpayers,is risible. (His comment is at the base of this piece)
In reality, the Majority Group had to have their arms well and truly twisted by Pooter to agree the vulgar Bentley.
Creamers, the local Jaguar dealer were very upset the Council did not buy a long wheel base Jaguar at half the price. But then Westminster had a new Bentley so it was a case of keeping up with Jones.
Tony, you once said you never read the dreadful Hornet so the Dame is delighted you have, at last, succumbed to her charms.
And you think spending $450 on a dinner with the convict Ian Clement is justifiable, or that Pooter should need a suite in one of the flashiest hotels in New York? If you do, you are totally out of touch with the real world.

This, from the Evening Standard tells us more about Pooter's luxury lifestyle

"A senior London councillor made two lavish trips to New York at local taxpayers' expense, it emerged today....
Merrick Cockell, Conservative leader of Kensington and Chelsea, flew first class, ate at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city and stayed in a five-star hotel.
He was also entertained in London by a series of property developers, including being lunched at the Ritz.
The disclosure comes after Mayor Boris Johnson's deputy, Ian Clement, had his corporate credit card confiscated for using it to pay for supermarket shopping and upgrades to business-class flights.
Mr Cockell made two trips to New York. During the first, in January 2007, he dined at The Four Seasons, one of the city's most famous restaurants. It has hosted John F Kennedy and wife Jackie, American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Henry Kissinger. New York magazine describes it as where "members of the town's power menagerie gather".
The dinner cost $185 (£98.68 at the exchange rate at the time). Mr Cockell did not declare who he ate with-(and refused to do so....even though we taxpayers were paying!)
He was in New York for a conference called Governing A Diverse City In A Democratic Society, and to study how the city manages a single public services telephone number. Mr Johnson has since dropped plans for a similar scheme. The conference lasted three days, but Mr Cockell stayed an extra two nights at the Sofitel hotel, which charged $359.25 a night. The total bill for the four-star hotel, including laundry charges, room service and a $7.75 beer from the minibar, came to $2,072 - equivalent to £1,151 at the time.
The upper class flight on Virgin Atlantic cost £2,109.70 return. Limousine hire from the hotel to JFK airport was $124. The journey by subway would have cost less than £1. The first trip was on behalf of London Councils, but Kensington and Chelsea picked up the tab. (And Pooter ordered the Bentley to drop him off at Heathrow)
The visit was repeated in January this year, but this time paid for by London Councils and organised by City Hall. On this occasion, Mr Cockell stayed three nights at the five-star Bryant Park Hotel, at a cost of £1,636.56. Its rooms have Tibetan rugs and marble baths, and beds are covered with cashmere throws.
Mr Clement was at the same conference. On the first night, Mr Cockell treated him to dinner at Keens Steakhouse, where the two men dined on steaks at $45 each, crabcakes, pints of beer and a gin martini. The next night Mr Clement repaid the favour using his City Hall credit card, including Mr Cockell in a £700 dinner for one of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's deputies.
Mr Cockell has also accepted hospitality from developers who own land in Kensington and Chelsea. These included Christian Candy, one of the Candy brothers who at the time were developing the Kensington Park Hotel but later sold it for a £250million profit. He also accepted hospitality from Stuart Corbyn of Cadogan Estates, and lunch at the Ritz with its owner, Sir Frederick Barclay."
Tony Holt20 September 2015 at 20:29
Once more, dear Dame, you have allowed your columns to be infiltrated by unfair comment. Merrick Cockell went to New York to represent the Council. It would not have gone down well there if he was staying in the NY equivalent of Travelodge or Premier Inn, and was eating in Macdonalds. And, frankly, if you are 'working' in your own time, then you can expect to be looked after.

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

What fun it is to criticise without responsibility.

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

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

Tony Holt


  1. Tony
    Your loyalty to Cockell is admirable, but very misplaced.
    I know you had many concerns over the way the Council operated under his regime.
    When I first saw the Bentley flying around our streets I remonstrated with Cockell for wasting money at a time when money was tight. His idiotic response? "It is required to maintain the dignity of the Royal Borough".
    Which rationale, I suppose, drove him to consider using taxpayer’s money to treat himself to First Class travel, epicurean dining and 5 star hotel suites. The only surprise is that he never took his wife along for the jaunt.
    Interestingly, we don’t see Nick Paget-Brown indulging himself at our expense.

    I won’t bother to be drawn into your claim that those who want changes should stand. You know perfectly well that it is pure nonsense in an area such as ours.
    What you should be admitting is that councillors are just not listening to those who elected them.

    The only hope I have is that by using the media I thwarted his attempt to get a peerage.

    1. When I first became involved in Council affairs it was because I was concerned about plans to spend huge amounts of taxpayers money on refurbishing Holland Park School at a time when I was having to put up with appalling behaviour of the students outside my house. Including setting fire to cars parked on Campden Hill.

      I discovered a Council that was out of touch with resident opinion, a Council that was abusing democracy, and a Leader who was running an organisation by patronage and indulging himself at the expense of taxpayers. This was unacceptable.

      I set about gathering evidence of corruption and found a brick wall. The drivers told me that Cockell was using the Bentley. To begin with, his Private Office wrote to say that the Leader "never used the Bentley". I have the emails, Tony, in case you would like to read them. This was just too much. From that day on, Cockell had a wild dog on his tail.

      And when the Leader wrote to me (a Council Tax payer) that he "forgot" who he took to dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York on a Saturday night, paid for with my money, it was time to go to the newspapers.

      I have run organisations employing busy people who work away from home. They were well rewarded by their chosen career/lifestyle. They also understood that they were supported by shareholder funds and abuse was out of the question. Dinner for friends and holidays added on to business trips was for their private account. Abuse was ruthlessly dealt with. It had to be. Because if one got away with it, the rot spread quickly.

      The most unacceptable of all was people in Leadership positions who abused the trust placed in them. They were truly the pits.

    2. I agree. I have already said elsewhere that the Cllrs and other RBKC employees get away with, because there is NO proper process of AUDIT. The Audit Commission, rather than the National Audit Office, is responsible for 'auditing' local authorities. AC geerally uses 'local' firms to carry out a very limited audit with a very narrow remit.
      Many of these have vested interests in various activities, so it would be fair to assume that they would not criticise RBKC to any serious degree.
      I assume that dear Pooter also walked away with a sizeable Pension Pot, of similar size to that of Meyers (whatever has happened to him?), which is rumoured to be £3 million....

    3. I agree entirely with the sentiments expressed by Donald Cameron.

      Sad Badger has a point. The Auditing of local authorities is seriously deficient.

  2. So the Bentley cost less than £100,000. Well that's all right then.

    Sir M, you are in a hole. You should tell your friends to stop digging.

    1. Moving away from Jaguar deprived a local business (the Creamer Garage in Drayson Mews) of Council business. Cockell bought the Bentley in the Midlands and it is maintained outside of the Royal Borough.

      But Pooter got his thrill by being driven around in a top car. He especially loved being collected at home in Philbeach Gardens and whisked out to London Airport to board his First Class flights to New York, Boston and San Francisco.

      All made the reptile feel super important and puffed up. Pity the trips were all "jollies". Not a thing to do with serving the residents of the Royal Borough

  3. Dame

    Sir P also charged K&C taxpayers for his expenses working for the City of Birmingham because they did not reimburse him. Why should Sir P be out of pocket?

  4. And our Green recycling has been cancelled yet there is enough money for 3x Bentleys

  5. Tony,

    With RBKC, Hammermsith & Westminster Council have access to private details of residents in Kensington & Chelsea through the RIPA act it is no surprise residents feel the need to click the Anonymous button. Fear of reprisal is very real!

    Yours Anonymous

  6. How Tony Holt can blithely suggest that a mere local government councillor can waste this sort of money beggars belief and says much about the corruption of values on this council.
    Tony, there are time to lie lwo and times to lie loudly......

  7. This is a very strange comment from ex Cllr Holt. He was always very critical in private of disgraced ex Cllr Cockell. A person who he despised and loathed.

    1. Tony is elderly and of late has become somewhat confused.

    2. Coleville Resident21 September 2015 at 10:45

      Holt loathed Cllr Moylan too

  8. Is Holt expecting and hoping for some favour from his old boss Cockell? He could do with a little extra cash to see out his years in his increasingly expensive apartment in Kensington. A big refurbishment bill for his block is around the corner.

  9. Is this a "sting"?

  10. First Class travel for third-rate arrogant, venal 'public servants' that have no concept of what that term implies! The difficulty is that so many of RBKC's blinkered voters are unflinchingly tribal: hence the constant churn of Tory Tweedledums and Tweedledumbers and old dolts like Holt. The other established parties' candidates are by and large unimpressive. Hopefully, more strong independent candidates that care about K&C, not living high on the hog/ on the make, will rise and rid us of a ruling junta stuffed with jobs-for-the-boys makeweights, senile seniors and mad old bats that make Hyacinth Bucket look sharp by comparison.

    1. Are you thinking about dear Cllr Elizabeth Rutherford? A fine gal whose heart is always in the right place.

  11. Mad old bats (or a Court Jester) are usually an important part of the team

  12. Tony Holt may "resent the motives of bad faith" which he ascribes to the Hornets. But he needs to reflect that for twenty years he and fellow Conservative councillors were prepared to turn a blind eye to the abuse of power and improper use of tax payer funds that was manifest.

    And anyone who was remotely friendly with any of these councillors (eg you Tony) would hear something along the lines of "its disgraceful what goes on but what can I do?"

    Weak and self interested individuals should not complain when they are seen through and exposed as......weak and self interested individuals

    1. It is worse than that. The weak and self interested Councillors were jumping on board and indulging in their own little bit of troughing. First Class travel (until the Dame put a stop to it), slap up feasts after Council Meetings, with Silver Service (until the Dame put a stop to it), tax payer funded "free" tickets to Holland Park Opera (until the Dame put a stop to it).The list goes on.....

      And of course all the puffing and dressing up and point scoring in endless Committee Meetings, ceremonials, Council Meetings and consultations. Small people indulging themselves

    2. And the licence to bully residents and Officers. Chief bully - Moylan. Second chief bully - Warwick.

    3. There were a few brave souls who objected. Such as James Cecil, Victoria Borwick and Robert Freeman. But the rest of the poodles were too self interested to do the right thing and vote the right way. They hung out their colleagues to dry.

      Rot in hell, Tony Holt

  13. "It would not have gone down well if Cllr Cockell stayed in the New York equivalent of Travel Lodge"


    The Pope is currently on an Official visit to Washington and the USA (to see President Obama) and he is travelling around in a baby Fiat. It has gone down a storm.

  14. Cockell's Office wrote to say "that he never used the Bentley". This lie was blown apart by a Freedom Of Information Request which showed that he FREQUENTLY used the Bentley. His Office then wrote to say that they made a "clerical error" and apologised.

    Democracy in the Royal Borough is at risk because the monopoly ruling party has been in power for too long and Labour shows no sign of getting its act together.

    Only the Dame supported by FOI can save our residents.

    1. Cockell's next line of defence was that he "had been authorised to use the Bentley".

      "By who?" asked the Dame.

      "By the Chief Executive" replied Cockell.


      When the Dame pursued the Chief Executive, the stooge Derek Myers wrote to say that he "authorised the use of the Bentley to save taxi fares".

      You could not make it up.

      Rotten Borough


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