Friday, May 11, 2007

Staff to move to London Bridge, the "hollowing out" of Camberwell continues and Redistribution of Section 106...and Brown kicks of Leadership bid!

At last night's OSC the Lib Dem and Tory members agreed to accept the Executive decision to rent out the building above on a 25 year(non opt out) deal costing a very large amount of tax payers money and at the same time selling off Council assets to "sweeten" the pill in the short term.
The decision has been hastily taken based on a need to close the deal within the next month and absolutely no community impact assessment has been made in areas like Walworth(900 staff), Camberwell(300+ staff ) and Bermondsey(200+ staff) where local businesses will suffer significantly with the loss of trade. The Labour members asked for a referral back to Executive to make a desicion with the CIA Report but clealry they were acting under orders!
At least they did not come in with a typed out recommendation for the start of the meeting as they did with the Newington Reference Library and they agreed the deal based on the Executive approving the Community Impact Assessment . Whether the Report, rushed as it will have to be is 1 page or 100 pages I somehow doubt that the Executive will do anything other than approve!!
The Officer and Executive arguements were very muddled, an example of which is when I asked about the risks of a 25 year deal when the future of local Government is not clear over that period, I was reassured only for the same officer to say 30 minutes later that he could not give a financial model for more than 10 years as he could not predict any further into the future than that!!! There were many other similar instances in the discussion.
Like the last Call-in on Newington Reference Library some of the Lib Dem members asked very pertinent questions and seemed ill at ease with the proposals and then, surprise surprise all fell into line once the whip was cracked!! So much for Lib Dem and Tory Scrutiny!!!!!!

I felt the need to respond to Richard Thomas's Southwark News letter so here it is below:

Dear Editor,
I am quite astonished at Cllr. Richard Thomas's reaction to the Labour Group proposal to use Section 106 money(and there are many millions of it!) rai
sed through developpment of the north of the borough to be used for regeneration projects across the whole of the borough.
It makes no sense to scratch around looking for things to spend money on in the South Bank and having huge capital reserves on th
e one hand, and refusing to spend money of vital project such as the Camberwell Leisure Centre redeveloment, which could be funded many times over, on the other.
If Cllr. Thomas has such a hard time understanding the concept let me spell it out to him paraphrasing President Clinton's catchphrase "IT IS CALLED REDISTRIBUTION STUPID!!!!".
It is a fundamental Socialist principle that the Labour Group and Labour Party believe in and Gordon Brown has been doing it for the past 10 years!

I can only think that by spending so much of his time around Tories, Cllr. Thomas has actually turned into one?

Cllr. John Friary
Camberwell Green Ward

News from the "Leader" of Southwark Council, Nick Stanton announcing that whilst Councillors wil be getting a pay increase of 6.65% on average, with some getting a lot more and equivalent to Nick getting £1,622 more cash per year! whilst he will only be giving Southwark Council staff 2%!! Nice work if you can get it!!!!
- Animal Farm by George Orwell

News from the "real Leader" of Southwark Council, Tory Kim Humphries on his "100 Days of change which is just about ready to peter out at the end of the week. The SLP did an interesting analysis of the best and "weirdest" 100 days of change initiatives including:
Day 66 Get together. Easter Fun day at Kingslake Estate
Day 87 Captured on film. Residents were shown a movie made by young people on issues in Peckham.
Do you think that maybe they struggled to get 100 things to say??
I will be glad when this ridiculous gimmick has run it's course and Kim can focus his considerable intellect on the real housing problems facing Southwark Residents. Was the full page "100 days of change" advert in the SLP, with pictures of happy smiling Lib Dem and Tory Councillors and members, and oh yes some residents really good value for money??? What do you think???

Gordon Brown kicked off his campaign today and I actually dont care very much if there is a contest or not as I am sure that he will win easily and have the backing of the whole of the Labour Party as Leader and Prime Minister up to and beyond the next general Election as we strive for a historic fourth term. I cant imagine a situation when people will actually vote for the vapid Cameron when up against gordon brown who has managed this counrty through an unparalleled in recent times period of economic growth and stability.
Roll on the elections and the General Election!!!!

The really interesting contest for Deputy Leader is also underway with the 6 candidates off and running. I will be supporting my local MP Harriet Harman who I am convinced will make an excellent partnership with Gordon, someone who she has worked with before.
I look forward to helping her with her Campaign!