Thursday, 12 November 2020

Croydon is Bankrupt: The Excuse is Revealing

Newman: Toytown oaf 
No, not a statement of moral or aesthetic judgement on the borough - just financial.  As has been on the cards for months (see several recent posts), Croydon has run up the white flag of a Section 114 Notice, replacing the Red Flag under which this nonsense has occurred over a 6-year period of relentless Labour misrule.  All led by this Toytown oaf, who inherited healthy financial reserves from his Tory predecessor but has pissed them all up the wall on a variety of pet projects and ill-conceived schemes of various kinds, plus unapologetic gross mismanagement and outright waste.   His Labour Group on the council has been bollocked collectively at a meeting, harangued by senior Labour worthies from other London boroughs who told them they are a disgrace to the Party!  So you can guess, it's pretty bad.

Funnily enough, although some of their schemes have been a bit ideological, mostly it has been just the result of a bunch of utter incompetents left in charge of the sweet-shop and determined to have a good time for themselves and their client-groups.  This is not some Momentum-contrived confrontation with central government, Red-Ted style.  They've tried to hint it's the fault of Austerity and Covid, but they daren't push this line too much because many other authorities have suffered worse from both causes, as well they know.

Tony Newman is a droll cove but totally autocratic, and has brooked no challenge from anyone, be they politician, public or council officer; nor even gentle enquiry by councillors in his own party.  The 'cabinet' model of local government very much facilitates this nonsense (more, I think, than the mayoral model - and much more than the committee model) and he duly packed his cabinet with place(wo)men non-entities, and picked a totally supine and ridiculously over-promoted chief executive who fled earlier this year with a £440,000 (sic) payoff, courtesy of Newman's personal intervention.  I won't bore you with a list of the nonsenses this calamitous crew has perpetrated.

What I find really interesting is the generic excuse, which strongly echoes what is coming from Nottingham Council with their own outrage to lament, the financial debacle that was "Robin Hood Energy".  What you do is blub a bit (quite literally in the case of one Nottingham woman councillor, live on youtube), say you meant well - the old Tony Blair excuse - AND ... I didn't have the training

You can see how this goes.  In the name of loyalty to the leader, or diversity or whatever it may be, all manner of people find themselves holding Cabinet posts that are wildly beyond their capabilities.  But: all have won, and all must have prizes: as we know, literally everyone is equal - provided they've Had the Training.  And when their incompetence catches up with them, well, it can't possibly be their fault, or any personal shortcoming, so - if only I'd had the proper training!  Simples.  A couple of days' "workshop" at the hands of some costly consultant (with lots of plump pastries on the table, and lengthy lunch-breaks), and they'd have been just fine - but somehow, they all missed the class.  What else could possibly explain their abject failure?

I look forward to the Liverpool FC 1st Eleven being selected on the same basis, and trying the same excuse upon being thrashed.  Meanwhile: will my wheeliebin be emptied next week?

ND

26 comments:

Matt said...

Strip his pension and blackball him from any further state employment would send a message to others of his kind.

Nick Drew said...

Matt, he's just a local councillor

E-K said...

CV-19

God's gift to the Left.

Matt said...

No pension then but the blackballing could still apply. Wonder whether the electorate will learn any lesson and not vote in these idiots?

Nick Drew said...

When I were a councillor (and dinosaurs roamed the earth) local councillors could be surcharged for financial malfeasance - but not after 2000 (T.Blair)

After 2012 (the Localism Act), councils could "invest" in all manner of things that previously they would have been debarred from (G.Osborne)

Can't say this has improved anything. In 2013, Transparency International issued a report detailing / predicting how these changes could lead to a great deal more corruption. With all due reverence to the localist faith of the great, late Raedwald, they were right.

BTW, I'm not remotely suggesting Newman's crew are corrupt - at least, not in the purely brown-paper-envelope sense. (Obviously, Newman kept his people sweet with the immense allowances that Cabinet members draw.) No - I assert gross, unapologetic, contemptuous incompetence

Michael said...

I well remember poring over a set of drawings depicting the redevelopment of Croydon East station. This was around 1975, and the plans extended down Cherry Orchard and beyond.

The architect was a certain Mr Poulson...

Hmmm...

jim said...

No sympathy for Newman et al. Better that all councils were run strictly on apolitical business lines with complete clarity of funding and pressures from national government. Won't happen though, local councils and the Home Office are where the rubber hits the road and the realities of life and inconsistencies and impossibilities of policy get exposed.

When the tide goes out..... Expect more trouble at the town halls. Tory and Labour are all going to be squeezed. Croydon was the South's sh&*hole but there are plenty of others. The commercial property chicken are coming home to roost (with bird flu), what japes. Meanwhile Dommy gets the push, so back to fudge and muddle, or is it just possible that Boris/Carrie will pull the plug on Brexit even at this late hour?

Nick Drew said...

Good memory, Scrobs! The Cherry Orchard development never happened

In my day ... venality amongst councillors was laughably minimal: we had just the one who offered his vote on the planning committee to a housebuilder, but it was so obvious, we had him out in a trice. The rest was things like who got to sit on the Arts committee - because they'd get free tickets to things. This was used as a disciplinary tool for use on the apolitical, retired councillors (of which there were several) who would otherwise be totally immune to the party Whip. We didn't get the 4- and 5-figure allowances in those days, just bus-fare money

the major incident of hanky-panky was in the ranks of the Council Officers - the extraordinary case of Florence Samarasinha, which you can google. If it wasn't so serious, it would be utterly hilarious, the stuff of TV dramas. It is such a saga (and the full facts never made it to the papers) I would need to serialise it over several posts ... and probably will!

(would also need to be quite cautious, because many of the parties are still around, and only one of them was sent down)

Anonymous said...

Good grief.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/woman-guilty-of-killing-husband-to-protect-secret-life-council-officials-life-of-prostitution-and-1466055.html

The court was told that she asked Alex Cheetham, the head of Croydon's police consultative committee, to find her a contract killer for £500. Mr Cheetham admitted that he regularly visited escort agencies and paid for sex.

In how many councils would you think the police committee head was the go-to guy for finding a hitman?

Samarasinha, born in Nigeria, had lied her way into her £30,000-a-year job by claiming she had five A-levels and a BA honours degree from Cambridge University. In fact she had no qualifications... 'She frequently spent more than half the working day in amusement arcades, making false excuses to her staff to explain where she was,' David Calvert-Smith, for the prosecution, said.

If you wrote that as fiction it'd be a racist fantasy that could never find a publisher.

Nick Drew said...

No holds barred, down here in Saaf London

As I said, the full Samarasinha story is still to be told ...

Anonymous said...

I've just noticed Mr Cheetham's hair.

https://i.postimg.cc/yY2kvbmL/alexcheetham.jpg

Anonymous said...

She appealed in 1995, do you know the outcome?

Lord T said...

Central Gov should just tell them to sod off. Raise taxes on the plebs and get them to pay for their own choices in voting these incompetent clowns in.

Anonymous said...

"In how many councils would you think the police committee head was the go-to guy for finding a hitman?"

Light dawns.

"Mrs Samarasinha was introduced to Mr Cheetham through another call girl who counted him among her clients."

?? Must have been an interesting meeting, like going to the dealer/call girl just as a work colleague is leaving.

https://www.lgcplus.com/archive/croydon-manager-convicted-of-murdering-spouse-10-12-1993/

Elby the Beserk said...

"In the name of loyalty to the leader, or diversity or whatever it may be, all manner of people find themselves holding Cabinet posts that are wildly beyond their capabilities."

And this of course now is the standard MO of all such governmental offshoots. "Reward for Failure" should be emblazoned on their coat of arms. Then they should be taken outside and shot. This is beyond farcical, this egregious pissing away of your money. Was there not a case some decades back where the councillors of ?some Derbyshire town? got done for financial misfeasance?

Led by donkeys.

Elby the Beserk said...

Nick Drew said...
When I were a councillor (and dinosaurs roamed the earth) local councillors could be surcharged for financial malfeasance - but not after 2000 (T.Blair)

After 2012 (the Localism Act), councils could "invest" in all manner of things that previously they would have been debarred from (G.Osborne)

Can't say this has improved anything. In 2013, Transparency International issued a report detailing / predicting how these changes could lead to a great deal more corruption. With all due reverence to the localist faith of the great, late Raedwald, they were right.
=================================================================
But Local Councils are not localist in any sense of the word, other than being where they represent! They are in reality arms of government in the field. In reality, we have no real localism and ***** all subsidiarity. Just huge and utterly incompetent government.

If you haven't read Isabel Hardman's "Why We Get The Wrong Politicians", I recommend you do. Tho' you might feel like slitting your throat on completion.

Anonymous said...

It was Clay Cross Urban District Council. The 1972 Housing Finance Act ended local councils' power to set council house rents. The town's councillors refused to set rents according to Whitehall diktat and after a long legal battle they were surcharged and bankrupted.

Clay Cross was abolished in 1974.

Matt said...

If you can be barred from being a director of a company or a financial adviser then there is nothing stopping people being barred from being a public servant for crap performance, improper behaviour (or the like).

We do of course have a slight problem, just about all the existing people who hang off the teat of government would need adding to the list.

E-K said...

Blairist coup at No 10.

Lady Macbeth or what.

Anonymous said...

EK - yes, bit of a blow that. We all knew Boris didn't believe in much other than Boris, I now expect him to fold like a cheap cushion. But as long as Dom was there you thought it was possible there might be a strategic vision somewhere.

Dom and Trump (barring major fraud discovery*) gone in a few days.

*
https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/9j7sr0my95/econTabReport.pdf

81% of Trump voters think they've been defrauded.
59% of Biden voters agree there was fraud but not enough to change the result. So do 10% of Trump voters.
Only 1 in 3 Biden voters and 1 in 100 Trump voters think there was no fraud.

I'm still getting over the realisation that LBJ in Texas and Mayor Daley in Illinois stole 1960 from Nixon.

We all knew Daley was a crook. But LBJ was as bad.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_13_scandal

Elby the Beserk said...

@Anon 11:16pm

If you have the time and more to the point, the inclination, I highly recommend Robert Caro's blockbuster bio of LBJ. Now in his 80s, he's completing the fifth and final volume. All preceding volumes are doorstops. The extent of corruption from way back in the USA is enormous. Huge - and unputdownable

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Years_of_Lyndon_Johnson

Anonymous said...

Ta Elby

"Caro argues, for example, that Johnson's victory in the 1948 runoff for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate was achieved through extensive fraud and ballot stuffing, just as Johnson had lost his 1941 Senate race because his opponent stuffed the ballot boxes more than Johnson."

Ain't democracy great?

Anonymous said...

Cummings architected his own downfall.

He's all piss and vinegar, and leans towards being very centralised and autocratic.

I've worked with a few like him - smart, knowledgable, volumes of ideas that are mostly good to great, but come with a raft of blindspots that make them a nightmare to deal with, and a curious type of stupidity where they seem oblivious to the fact that if you generate enemies faster than you do successes, your aims will never come to fruition.

If you ever find one in a workplace, you have to rapidly determine if they're manageable or not, and if not get rid, because they are toxic. But keep ahold of their ideas, and find someone who knows how to soothe ruffled egos to possibly implement them.

Nick Drew said...

Anon - your comment on Cummings elevated to the nexy post.

Anonymous said...

Great link back to Blair.

Although some of the ‘commenters’ names you don’t see anymore.

Did Electro-Kevin morph into a E-K ?

Nick Drew said...

Oh yes he did! And Elby, Sackers & James are very much still kicking

[not sure about budgie: he went off in a terrific bate a few years ago, but I seem to recall he would pop up on Raedwald)

Sadly, the very fine Hatfield Girl no longer blogs (from her Tuscan fastness). She had a very clear, 'constitutionalist' line on the EU which was refreshingly unusual.

And the reference to Paul Newman / Newmania is to another who, regrettably, doesn't pitch in these days. Both are accomplished thinkers and elegant commentators, in their different ways