Thursday, March 20, 2008

Salford Oppositions: Crying Wolf Over Snouts in Troughs?

It is always interesting when oppositionists on Councils start complaining about ruling group gravy trains as Cllr Steve Cooke (Salford) does.

Four points spring to mind:

1. Presumably the Executive Support Members (ESMs) in Salford have similar demanding roles to (paid) deputy chairs/cabinet members in other authorities? Including Lib Dem and Lib Con authorities?

2. Presumably Cllr Steve Cooke knows that the basic allowance enjoyed by (often idle) back bench Libdemologists in Manchester is almost at the ESM level he derides?

3. Presumably, though he does not say anything, he knows about the big INCREASE Lib Dems brought in in Bristol on their fairly temporary accession to rule? And he must have an insight into the equivalent payments in the atrociously managed (it's official) Lib Dem Liverpool. But that goes unnoted as well. Any reason for that?

4. Presumably he also knows about the Hospital Hoaxer Cllr John Leech MP who is trousering his £60,000 from HoP, £22,000 John Lewis List, £10,000 Communications - which he is using for hybrid political leaflets, PLUS payments to Lib Dem activists, PLUS his councillor wages of £15,000+. Similar to Paul Rowen in Rochdale and John Hemmings in Brum and others for all I know.

Leech promised to donate these "council expenses" - after tax presumably - to local Lib Dem constituency funds. Yet last time I looked of c £45,000 only £3,500 has darkened the door of the Electoral Commission register.

In fact now we're on the subject there is a great mystery with Manchester Lib Dem funds in that they appear to have a professional campaign worker and fairly deep pockets in general but scarcely any donations are recorded. How does that work?

I applaud Cllr Steve Cooke's intention of giving transparency. All things considered he seems to be worth more than half a dozen of the Manchester Lib Dem half-arses put together, even though he feels hard done by with 34% less in allowances.

But perhaps he would also try for fairness and shine the light of righteousness on Lib Dem authorities showing how things should be done? Which goes for Cllr Iain Lindley who hat-tipped Cllr Cooke when it comes to Tory Councils running cities.

Meanwhile if anyone has any examples from round the country of snouts of any political hue in the public trough then please do share in comments.


Anonymous said...

Three points Paul:

1. "Presumably the Executive Support Members (ESMs) in Salford have similar demanding roles to (paid) deputy chairs/cabinet members in other authorities?"

Presumably indeed - nobody knows, and in fact we have no evidence that they do anything whatsoever above and beyond what the back-benchers do.

2. "even though he feels hard done by with 34% less in allowances".

For the record - I do not feel remotely hard done by with my allowance. I think it more than enough for the role of a councillor without additional duties. In fact I was the only councillor who spoke out against massive rises in councillor salaries (39% for some compared with 2.9% for admin staff at the council) a couple of years ago. I gave the difference between my salary rise and that of the rise given to staff to Salford Women's Aid.

3. I know nothing of the Bristol Lib Dems - I don't spend my time investigating the practices of every council in Britain. Additionally, I know you hate John Leech and his colleagues (that's hate rather than oppose), but assertion is not the same as evidence and I take any of the bile you spout about him with a mountain of salt.

Anonymous said...

Noticed that your blogging has been a bit light lately, Chris.

Have you got a job at last - or are you on one those Sure-Start courses, or is it one of those community care things?

Anyway, good to see that you are using your time more productively to make even more silly and spurious (and barely intelligible) attacks on all those "libdemologists" and "oppositionists" that you seem to detest so much.

But I have to admit that a lot of us LOL-baters are a bit saddened there has been nothing much recently about Mr GOO or Mr Guf or even your arch-enemy Mr Dale.

"Presumably", as you are wont to say, you have decided to restrict yourself to local politics. Well done: stick with it. Oh, and try writing in plain English.

Anonymous said...

"Three points Paul"

Shouldn't that really read: "Three simple fucking points you fucking cunt, Paul." Now that's plain English.

A Well Wisher

Anonymous said...

Far be it for me to defend Chris, but much as I dislike the content of his blog I really think calling him a cunt crosses the boundaries.

Speaking for myself - all Chris has done has ask some perfectly legitimate questions of me on his blog. He's entitled to and it would be a poor world indeed if he couldn't.

Anonymous said...

I agree Steve "Hear Hear"

Chris Paul said...

Thanks Steve

Clearly the point about Liverpool and Bristol and Birmingham and other non-Labour councils is worthy of a proper response?

If we have members of other parties making party political points about the level of allowances under a Labour authority it seems perfectly reasonable to question their own party's decisions on expenses when they are in control?

In Manchester Deputy Execs er, deputise, including at formal council meetings but also in other engagements, in relevant negotiations, in ex-officio invitations, and so on and so forth. I imagine this is rather similar to the ESMs in Salford where I do have quite a lot of business in either my paid work or my voluntary involvements - both sides related to regeneration, culture and jobs.

As for the so brave anonymous comments - you clearly are not reading very carefully as Dale, GuF and GOO all feature in the past few days.

I may be back Steve to comment about Leech. It is not a case of a mountain of salt, or of bile.

What the hell? I'll lay out some of the issues here and now. Response welcome.

It is a fact that he is getting both Westminster and Manchester allowances.

It is a fact that he promised to donate the latter.

It is a fact that there is no record of that. Beyond less than 10% of the total.

It is a fact that he has employed various Lib Dem activists - including at one point the leader of the Group, and at least one other on cash in hand basis, with Ashley for one quickly realising his mistake.

It is also a fact that a widely held impression is that the Leech staff do party politics not casework, including using parliamentary email for personal campaigning.

It is a fact that his expenditure of tax payers' money on political and hybrid leaflets has rightly come under scrutiny. Anmd that there was a complaint about his election expenditure which is still hanging unanswered. They were hilariously badly presented and dishonest.

It is also a fact that his campaigns around the alleged closure threat for Christie Hospital were and still are - as he refuses to apologise - absolutely beyond the pale.

I have never spoken to Leech and don't know him well enough to consider "hate" which is not actually something I go in for. I'm told he hates me however. Which is up to him. Eating him up it is.

But I do know enough about him to question his honesty - including financial, his judgement, his effectiveness, and his suitability to be my MP or anyone's. What I know about him and his activity includes a good deal that has yet to be blogged.

At the moment he is not my MP. But under boundary changes he might be if we do not expose his mendacity, his cheating, his abyssmal judgement, and his unfitness for purpose.

Clear enough Steve? It is not personal, it is about his performance in getting elected and on getting elected being an MP. He's very weak IMO.

I think it would be useful if his political colleagues - or himself - would address the issues and not simply roll out smears and leave the issues lying on the table. That's weak too.

Best wishes

Chris P

Anonymous said...

Almost all of what you have said about John is assertion rather than fact. It's also assertion that I disagree with. I'm sorry to tell you Chris that I've never heard any of the Manchester Lib Dems even mention your name - so your comment about John's hate for you eating him up sounds rather silly to my ears.

Anonymous said...

Above comment was me inexpertly mashing the keyboard and pressing return a little eagerly!

Chris Paul said...

Steve - please go through my assertions and tell me which ones are assertions rather than facts. You say "almost all of what you have said about John is assertion".

There are seven main facts listed:

1. Leech is getting HoP and Mcr pay
2. He promised to donate the latter
3. There is no record of him doing so
4. Various Lib Dem activists and councillors have been employed by Leech using public money, including Group leader Simon Ashley
5. These include political campaigning, including using parliamentary email for that purpose
6. Complaints have been made about non-compliant leaflets and about his election spend
7. His Christie Hospital campaign is widely considered to have been despicable. I add: In a supporting letter author Cath Staincliffe said in a published letter that it was "obvious twaddle" OWTTE.

All these are facts. Five of them are quite simply matters of public record. 5 and 7 are also proveable but I might accept that for the time being 5 is an assertion.

"Almost all" would have to be six or five at least being assertions not facts. Can you please now identify which others you claims are not facts?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Libdemologist Death Eaters led by Lord "Hospital Hoax" Voldeleech don't mention Mr Paul's name as he is the Harry Potter of the blog and Voldeleech's nemesis?

Anonymous said...

Come home, Chris! You've been away for too long. We can sort this out.

Chris Paul said...

Daphne? Is that really you?? After all these years???