The enmity amongst Boris Johnson’s top transport advisers will be palpable on Victoria Embankment this morning, where Boris Johnson is PR-ing his “cycling vision” for London. His media lackey and “cycling commissioner” Andrew Gilligan will be in attendance, alongside Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy (far left above) — a man apparently described by Gilligan as a:
“long-serving transport beaurocrat who got lucky”
Gilligan has never publicly denied accusations from London hacks Adam Bienkov and Dave Hill that he was behind the online sockpuppet “kennite”, which was used to troll the Ken Livingstone administration and opponents of Boris Johnson:
The bitter resistance to the plum cycling czar appointment by City Hall figures such as Isabel Dedring (above right) has its roots in Gilligan’s characterisation of his current colleagues as the UK’s most grasping fat cats:
“Local government, with Mr Hendy as a prime example, shows how, in the public sector, perhaps even more than in the private, senior rewards seem to have lost all relationship with the service performed and the value obtained.”
Not having beaten the likes of Hendy, however, Gilligan has opted to join them – on a pro-rata salary of £95,000 per year.
A women’s group has called on a Tory to quit over comments on Facebook. Dorset councillor Pete Chapman said that staff in a coffee shop should be beaten for not providing him with satisfactory service:
“Terminally slow (and bad) service from the bone idle bitches at Costa Dorchester today, they all need a good beating.”
One of his council colleagues then commented:
“Meow. Never knew you had it in you Pete.”
Clearly the territory of enlightened views, the area, where Chapman is council spokesman for resources, is home to Richard Drax MP — the author of a notorious (and now deleted) blog post entitled “Two + two = gay”, in which the discussion of homosexuality in schools was described as “imposing questionable sexual standards”.
The chair of Women’s Action Network Dorset (WAND), Toni McKee, told the Dorset Echo that the “absolutely terrible” comments mean that Chapman “should step down”.
“My Facebook status is private and that comment was not made in public.”
A councillor who claimed that disabled children “should be put down” because they “cost the council too much” has finally resigned after coming under intense pressure from colleagues and officials. Collin Brewer had refused to step down from Cornwall County Council, offering the excuse that he “was probably a little bit het up” when he ranted at a charity worker after a meeting.
“I know people will be delighted that I have resigned.”
As rules of thumb go, Katie Price commenting on a political issue is a good a measure as any that it has gone mainstream. The former glamour model asked Brewer whether he would like to “dispose of” her son, who suffers from autism and partial blindness:
The charity whose member of staff was subjected to the tirade welcomed his decision — but couldn’t resist pointing out that the “apology” from Brewer took eighteen months:
“We believe Councillor Brewer’s decision to step down is the right one.”
“It is a shame that it took a formal investigation and 18 months to force the apology we eventually received.”
Astonishingly, he’s seriously considering standing for council again in three months’ time.
Conservative councillors in Brighton are up in arms after someone left a poo on the floor of their City Hall office. According to the Brighton Argus:
“The excrement was found on the floor of the unlocked second floor office on Thursday and reported immediately … Only people with a swipe card or official visitors who have to sign in at the front desk can access that part of the building.”
Worryingly, the news comes just six months after a turd was found heated in a microwave used by council workers in another building.
As it has not been established whether the faeces was human or animal in origin, it remains a possibility that a councillor may have, errr, “lost their deposit” on the floor of the opposition office.
Tory member Dawn Barnet suggested the culprit was a political opponent:
“We understand there’s always a few digs from other parties and opponents but this is disgusting.”
At least it wasn’t a smear campaign.
A councillor in Cornwall has refused to resign after saying that disabled children should be “put down”. At an official event designed to network council members with equalities organisations, Colin Brewer approached a stall operated by a disabled charity and told them:
“Disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down.”
Details of the incident, which occurred in 2011, have only now come to light after a standards committee forced him to send a written letter of apology to the organisation running the stand, Disability Cornwall.
The independent councillor’s excuse?
“I had come to their stall after a long council meeting and I was probably a little bit het up as we had had some difficult debates.”
This scumbag is currently taking home nearly £14,000 in allowances courtesy of the taxpayer (not including expenses).
A Tory councillor has been expelled from his dominoes league … after bragging about cheating on local radio. Former mayor Norman Bull told BBC Radio Derby about the dodgy tactics he used in a cup match, saying:
“There are many ways of cheating”
But opponents from Holbrook and District Darts and Dominoes League were listening in — and promptly complained to officials.
Rumours that Cllr Bull had also been blood doping could not be confirmed.
Nick Clegg’s grasp of economics has been called into question after he was found to have exaggerated the level of Sheffield Council’s cash reserves by more than £120m in an attack on his own city’s leaders.
In an open letter, the Sheffield Hallam MP accused the council of sitting on £167m in “usable reserves” which could have been used to “protect front line services.”
While there is a line item in the city’s statement of accounts labelled “usable reserves” valued at £167m – Nick conveniently fails to mention more than £123m of that figure is already ringfenced or earmarked — mainly at a national level — for specific purposes, and can’t be spent on front line services.
David Blunkett, MP for neighbouring Brightside & Hillsborough constituency, told Political Scrapbook:
“I’m afraid economics and accountancy are not the Deputy Prime Minister’s great strength”
The “usable reserve” includes £57.2m reserved for capital projects, £14.4m which must be spent on social housing and £10.1m reserved to pay for repairs to buildings – all of which is required by national legislation. A further £42m is reserved under a variety of other mandatory earmarks.
Clegg’s £120m spin came in response to a letter in last Sunday’s Observer from a trio of northern council leaders, including Sheffield’s Julie Dore, claiming that Clegg had yoked himself to a brand of Conservatism with “no social conscience”.
If Nick’s so proud of Coalition investment in Sheffield, why would he need to fudge the figures to prove it?
The Tory deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council is facing a two-month suspension from his party group for viewing porn on a council laptop, it has emerged. David Sprason hit the headlines in November after an IT technician at the authority found a DVD entitled She Likes It Rough in his computer.
According to reports, however, it was not Sprason’s taste in hardcore entertainment which so offended his colleagues — but talking about it to press. According to the Leicester Mercury:
“Tory whips say Coun Sprason broke two party rules after giving an interview to the Mercury which resulted in a story that led to widespread coverage in the national media.”
Refusing to be cowed by prudes, Sprason’s candid remarks and co-operation in posing for photos (above) alongside his wife Sue and the incriminating laptop infuriated enraged his fellow Tories. He told the press:
”Me and the wife use things to help our relationship. That’s one of the tools we use. We both enjoy them.”
He will certainly have more time to spend with his wife (and his DVD collection) during the next two months.