Saturday, 25 February 2012

Bright or wrong

Wandsworth council is often referred to as the flagship conservative council. It has often been praised by Uncle Eric, who we all know is a fan of flags (-unsure about ships though) and he is big big fan of sycophants.

Wandsworth has always kept council tax low; not moaned about its (very generous) settlement and been a vocal supporter of Tory local government policy. In recent years though, Wandsworth has described itself as the ‘Brighter Borough’. I understand this has nothing to do with its southern latitude - there really are civilised councils further south of The River. Neither is it connected to the rumour that Wandsworth’s leaders basks in the warming sunlight that they believe radiates from the Secretary of State’s super massive blackhole of a backside - a suggestion which even Prof Brian Cox would not describe as ‘amazing and beautiful’.

I understand it is connected to the spurious claim that is has the highest percentage of graduates in its population. This irks its northern neighbour who may now decide call themselves ‘The filthy rich borough’ and another Sarf London neighbour who may go with the more simple – ‘The filthy borough’.

All the jazz about how bright Wandsworth is has been inspired from a recent blog by the Chief Executive of Wandsworth. Is he and the council as really as bright as they say? Below is my latest FoI request:

Dear Chums,

Paul Martin the Chief Executive of Wandsworth ‘The Brighter Borough’ Council had a few things to say about the value of Uncle Eric’s diktat that all council publish expenditure data. (See: In his blog piece he said:

“It's a huge amount of information, but without analysis and comparisons raw numbers are meaningless. To illustrate the point, I have just looked at the Department for Communities and Local Government web pages on spending over £500. I defy anyone to discover anything useful from this process.”

Given that Wandsworth Council have been a loyal and fervent supporter of the Conservative party this criticism must hurt Uncle Eric.
Has DCLG conducted any research that they are prepared to share that provides evidence that there is tangible value in councils and DCLG publishing this bumf and clogging up the interweb? If so we can conclude the Brighter Borough is now a little dimmer? Or if no evidence exists, do we know if Paul Martin is suggesting Eric Pickles is a bit of a dunce?

Yours intellectually challenged

Friday, 10 February 2012

We Gotta Pray

Dearly beloved we gather today for the 15025th meeting of Barchester Council. Before we move on the substantive agenda items on closing down council services due to funding cuts; responding to Uncle Eric’s unique flavour of localism and doing the stuff we have been elected to do, please bow your heads and join me in prayer

Lord Eric, in your mercy, hear our prayers.
We pray that with your infinite wisdom you see your cuts are not fair and are focussed on the poor and needy. We pray that you are able to be gracious and help those that need help.

We pray that you review the inequity within the local government settlement and the arbitrary metric of the revenue spending power.

We pray that you do not turn a blind eye to the beggar (even if it is in the guise of a once proud city proffering a begging bowl). We pray that you do not mock their affliction but stretch out a charitable hand to offer succour.

We pray that you treat all with respect. We pray that you teach humility and humanity to your special boyz in the hope that they can turn away from the dark side.

We pray that you drop your unhealthy obsession with bins and all that is unclean. We pray that you allow councils to do the job they there to do without your constant interference. 
We pray for localism.

We pray that you find it within yourself to praise councils not matter what their colour – be they blue, orange or red.

We pray that you learn to love your enemy as your friend.

And we pray your days at DCLG are numbered and you have the chance to move to DEFRA.

Lord Eric, in your mercy, hear our prayers


Friday, 3 February 2012

Rubbish Puzzle

Rumours that I have gone Upto(w)n are not true.  Let me tell you if Nick comes to my desk and tries to stick his grubby hands in my drawers, looking for incriminating evidence, he will go away an unhappy lad. In fact he would not only leave empty handed but embarrassed and feeling even more inadequate that he currently does. You have been warned Nick – stay away from my dungeon.

Here is my latest rubbish FoI request:

Dear Chums

I was excited today to read about Uncle Eric’s kind generous gesture to councils that will allow them move away from inefficient fortnightly bin collection and return to weekly collection. I know there are some cynics who say the £250million which was miraculously found had been top sliced out of the settlement but I cannot believe Uncle Eric would be so scurrilous – I would not be surprised if this new money is coming directly from his own pocket, perhaps with help from the odd dodgy expense claim for a second home. [ - a joke my lawyer  reminds me].

In the press release today Uncle Eric says

“..barmy bin rules have made putting out your rubbish more complicated than solving a Rubik's cube.”

Is this really the case?  Can I ask what evidence he has to make this bizarre comparison? Which of these two statements apply to the Secretary of State. Either,

a)      he is a genius and finds solving the Rubik’s Cube so trivial that any other task, no matter how simple, would be more difficult than tackling the cube?


b)      is he so utterly stupid that putting the bins out is really a task which baffles him so much?

I know which of these two possibilities I would put £250 million on.

Yours puzzled