Saturday, May 10, 2008

Busy Boris

Boris has certainly hit the ground running in his first week as Mayor. He has made some bold appointments with Ray Lewis becoming Deputy Mayor for Young People. Ray is the inspirational head of Eastside Young Leaders' Academy with a fantastic track record of providing real change for young people in Hackney.

Patience Wheatcroft, former Business Editor of the Times will lead a 60-day audit of City Hall. She will be helped by Stephen Greenhalgh amongst others. As leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Stephen has already been incisive in his approach to local government finances, cutting council tax in his borough by 3% each year for the past two years.

Boris has met with Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York to draw comparisons and with Council leaders from across the city further demonstrating his desire to work closely with those people that know their part of London best. If you are going to build transatlantic relations, Bloomberg is the better bet than Hugo Chavez.

His first action was to ban alcohol from the underground and buses. In his campaign, Boris concentrated heavily on making public transport safer. This is an important first step and it is good to see such quick action despite Bob Crow's typically blinkered approach. I'm sure that if Boris had not done this and assaults on staff went up, the call for strikes would have been deafening.

Finally according to Iain Dale comes my personal favourite. Boris showed the basic common sense that has been sorely lacking for eight years. I'll leave it to Iain to tell the story:-

"When Boris sat down at his desk on Monday morning he was presented with a huge press cuttings file, which included loads of articles from the Morning Star. 'Why on earth are you including these?' he asked one of his staff. 'Well,' said the staff member, 'Mayor Livingstone was keen to support the Morning Star'. 'In what way?' asked Boris.It transpired that the GLA Building had a subscription of forty - yes, forty - copies of the Morning Star delivered every day. Boris's first action as Mayor was to cancel all forty subscriptions to the lefty rag, thereby halving its circulation with one stroke of the mayoral pen. That's what I call the mark of a real Conservative - annoy the leftists and save the taxpayer £10,000 a year at the same time."


Anonymous said...

Could he do the same for Sutton Scene please?

Anonymous said...

Ahh Sutton Scene.. What an absolute waste of taxpayers money that is. It would make more sense to have a better website and/or print less and keep the supply at the civic offices for people who actually want a copy.

I think it is wrong that the party in power are allwoed to waste money on sending one to every home in the borough.

Unknown said...


I agree with the principle of what you say. Sutton Scene is expensive and ineffective. However I don't believe that we are at the point when we can scrap it. There is no reason why we couldn't pay for a wrap around in the Guardian or the magazine paid for by advertising. The Council are favouring the latter after I pushed them a while back.

Certainly the website needs improving. The planning section is actually pretty good. You can search for applications and decisions and see the forms and drawings. Other sections don't compare. I struggled to find the section on parking fines when answering a constituents' query. This must be a relatively common enquiry so should be easy to come across.

Although there are more and more people who go to the Internet first, there are still enough people who do not have access or choose other avenues of enquiries to warrant a paper based information service. There is no reason why this needs to cost a fortune for such little return as it does at the moment.

Anonymous said...

If there was ever anything in there worth reading i'd be inclined to read it more.


Scullduggery Watch said...

"Conservative Councils now need to perform. People want lower Council taxes, concentrating what money is spent on the delivery of the main services. They would be happy to see advertising, spin doctoring,glossy brochure producing, networking, bogus consultation making budgets slashed."

4th May 2008


That about sums it up for me. John Redwood's wise words there echoed the same sentiments he offered two years ago when he drew up a report on the state of local authorities for David Cameron.

Why then does Councillor Scully wish to keep the Sutton Scene at great expense to the local taxpayers?

Lets be honest here, if we did not already have the Sutton Scene then we would not find the need to create it. That magazine is a load of tosh and everyone knows it. The only potential use that I can see is for all remaining copies to be placed next to the rolls of kleenex in the Civic Centre toilets in case of emergencies.

The vast majority of Sutton residents seem to profess the same opinion on this publication ie. "I don't read it, there is nothing of interest in there, it is a waste of money, we don't ask to receive it and I just chuck straight it in the bin as soon as it is delivered".

The Sutton Lib Dems have used the Sutton Scene to broadcast their back-slapping propaganda for years now so perhaps Councillor Scully intends to keep the magazine in circulation so that he can place his own brand of self-serving publicity in the publication should he be successful at becoming Leader of the Council in 2010.

After hearing of his intention to retain the incredibly expensive white elephant that is the Sutton Scene magazine I must repeat my previous mantra as it seems to be very accurate: God help the taxpayers of Sutton if Paul Scully takes over the Council.

Scullduggery Watch said...

Oh and by the way it is nice to be back posting on your blog again, Paul. Though I am just wondering how long it will be before one of my pearls of wisdom upsets your sensitive disposition and you delete it! I take it that we can look forward to seeing moderation being enabled on your blog (for the third time) very soon.

So much for your grandiose assertion that yours is the only truly democratic blog in the Borough!

For your dose of uncensored comment you should keep up your daily visits to my blog:

Unknown said...

I'm afraid as usual, Mr Watch hasn't bothered with the facts. Communication paid for by advertisers is not a burden on taxpayers. The fact that people have been putting out their glass for collection over the last few weeks despite the service not starting for another week shows that this Council does not communicate well. Therefore you can't just stop communicating with residents. Instead you can ensure that the residents don't pay for propaganda.

Scullduggery Watch said...

Oh come along, Paul. You cannot make an inaccurate statement such as that without at least getting your own house in order first!

You have actively avoided commenting on Aardvark's posts on my blog regarding one of your own Councillors. Yet you still had the audacity to lambaste others for asking "libelous" questions when to everyone else it looked as though they might just have been ill-informed. Aardvark was clearly in the know due to his close association with you when he made his typically concrete ASSERTIONS so what might his excuse have been?

The art-more-holier-than-thou act by you and your cronies continues to amuse me on a daily basis. In fact you appear to become more self-righteous as the weeks roll by.

The "glass/recycling situation" is a catastrophe isn't it? Mind you, it is nothing that an A4 printed side of refuse information and a note on the Council website wouldn't have fixed (No colour print, no excessive weight and no glossy brochure required).

A glossy brochure is not the only way of communicating with the local residents! In fact the more you bombard them with such over-hyped drivel the more likely they are to close their ears altogether.

My point with regards to the Sutton Scene was that it is presently funded for by the taxpayer and the Lib Dem council should be hammered at every meeting until such times as they stop wasting money on this ridiculous publication.

I also do not agree with back-slapping publications that force-feeds the minor percentage of the local populous (who actually bother to read the magazine) into believing the massaged statistics and slanted views that their Borough Council has created a nirvana filled utopia.

The Sutton Scene magazine has been an undeclared electoral expense for the Lib Dems for many years and I would not like to see the practice repeated by the likes of you or any other Tory if they win power in 2010.

The practice is certainly disgusting whilst it is taxpayer funded, but still not to be condoned even if it is paid for by advertising. Councils should forget the public relations exercises and concentrate on providing the service that taxpayers both want and deserve.

Whilst most would agree that a booklet sent out yearly and containing full details of council contact numbers and services is a useful idea (and could certainly be paid for through advertising) it's comment should be restricted to containing information which is entirely necessary. The residents do not need to be spoon-fed pro-Council vitriol regardless of who the incumbent power is.

Let the political parties and independent candidates do their own campaigning. Council communications should remain apolitical and not resort to such blatant electioneering in future.

An example of a good Council is one that is quietly efficient and ensures that residents' bills remain as low as possible and that all follies and fiscal wastage is avoided whilst ensuring that the taxpayer retains a full compliment of services.

Unknown said...

Despite your fertile mind, I don't ask anyone to post on my blog or yours so you may keep the aardvark games to your own blog. If we stick to the issues like Sutton Scene we might have a chance of serious debate. However I will point out that the fact that your correspondents knew that two successful libel trials had been fought and then repeated those libels is still against the law and you and Google may be jointly responsible.

The recycling service is a massive problem and is a good case in point. It is the one area that we argued for more resources for communication not less. A leaflet did go out to every home with an article on the website and coverage in the Guardian. Despite this people left their glass bins out on the wrong day. Some people called up indignantly asking whay theirs wasn't collected. Much of the communication has been less than straight about the cost of the green garden waste.

I'm not asking for glossy propaganda; I talk about a Guardian wraparound a few times a year which would cost one-tenth of Sutton Scene. It was after I raised the question at Council that they now take advertising in Sutton Scene but they are not very good at attracting willing takers. I agree with much of what you say. The Council does need to communicate but it does not need to be partisan, back-slapping and self-indulgent at our expense.

Scullduggery Watch said...

True to form Councillor Scully has for the second time lambasted two other posters but failed to offer the same condemnation to Aardvark.

When politicians deliberately avoid talking about a topic you have to stop and ask yourselves why.

Clearly Scully knows full well who Aardvark is and is obviously protecting his identity.

Whilst I cannot say for certain who else knew about the libel trial wins we can say that if Aardvark knows Scully personally then it is extremely likely that he DID in fact know the true facts and should not have made libelous statements against Councillor Kennedy.

Why therefore did Scully not condemn Aardvark for his comments?

Why is Councillor Scully protecting Aardvark?

If anyone is playing games here then it is Councillor Scully.

To offer condemnation to two other posters but not criticise someone who is loyal to him not only smacks of double-standards but also proves that Councillor Scully is covering up Aardvark's gross misconduct.

It does seem as though Scully has aided and abetted his colleague in this regard which does raise the question as to whether Scully agreed with the anti-Kennedy sentiments expressed by Aardvark.

If Councillor Scully cannot be even-handed by condemning Aardvark for his behaviour then he is not fit to lead the Conservative group, let alone the Sutton Council.