Monday, July 09, 2007

If it is in Private Eye it must be true?? What is the point of Council Assembly and Labour Group Away Day!

Private Eye had an interesting piece in Rotten Boroughs, the second time that they have covered the subject. I purposefully did not comment on the first one as it is a dangerous game mocking a political party when one of there own gets on the wrong side of Inspector Knacker of the Yard as none of know what our members are always getting up to! However this week's piece is taking a different tack and one which is a bit more interesting! here is it reproduced below without comment:
"Prominent Lib Dems in the London Borough of Southwark, including Simon Hughes MP and deputy group leader Cllr Caroline Pidgeon, now prospective parliamentary candidate for Vauxhall, were taken aback when local Lib Dem activist and Ministry of Defence press officer Karl Lindon was charged with a string of paedo-porn offences. He is now serving a three-year jail sentence.
Yet Southwark Lib Dems, for whom Lindon's company, Beyond Ego, had previously hosted websites, including Hughes's and Pidgeon's already knew that Lindon was involved in UnabashedHosting, a cheesy web company set up by Lindon and his partner Martin Hoscik, "aimed specifically at members of the adult entertainment sector such as strip and pole dancing clubs, model agencies, models & retailers of adult toys, clothing, magazines and audio/visual merchandise".
Unabashed, its website boasted, it "[had] a less restrictive policy governing the nature of images than many family and general audience hosts. Any images which are legal under UK law are permissable [sic] with the exception that we do not provide hosting for 'hardcore' material.
When Southwark Labour councillors Fiona Colley and Susan Elan Jones, who were fighting plans for a proposed lap dancing club in the area, raised Lib Dem links to Unabashed last year, they were attacked by Lindon, who with enormous brass neck threatened to sue for libel, and by Lib Dem blogger and council candidate Andy Mayer, who described Jones's "cheap remarks about one of our ward organisers [Lindon] who has a website business" as "shamefull". Nine month later Lindon is in jail and Mayer has wisely gone quiet on the subject of what is and isn't shameful."

Southwark News had an excellent Editorial called "What is the point of the Council Assembly" so I have sent this letter in:

Dear Editor,Your editorial headline really said it all last week and it is certainly a questions exercising the Labour Group and a growing number of community groups.The blame for this stripping down of the Council Assembly lies fair and square with this Tory/Lib Dem Coalition!They argue that the new Executive arrangements were implemented by a Labour Government which is true but they were always intended to operate in a more open and transparent governance which has been completely turned on it's head within Southwark since 2002.The Lib Dems and Tories spent the first 4 years removed virtually all decisionm making powers from the Council Assembly apart from setting the Council Tax and agreeing a budget(only as they enshrined in law!) Thus making the Assembly Meetings an opportunity for Deputations, and members asking questions of the Executive and debating motions.At last month's Annual Constitutional Council the tories and lib dems forced through changes virtually banning Deputations from Full Council and drastically reducing the time for questions and motions as well as allowing motions to be entirely re written by amendment making a total mockery of the process!So what is the point and why does it matter? It matters because this bunch in control are far and away the least liberal and the least democratic is Southwark' history and major decisions are being taken with no regard to any contrary views in an arrogant cabal which even some Executive members are not privy to!Your Editorial was absolutely right and raised some serious issues about local democracy as practiced by the tories and their right wing lib dem friends, the sooner we get rid of them the better for everyone!!John Friary Camberwell Green Ward

The Labour Group had a very productive Away Day yesterday in Rotherhithe, apart from the fact that we were in the direct path of the Tour De France! It was a good chance to look back and forward and we had a really interesting session with Chris and Kevin from Southwark News with lots of pointed questions to them both! Very useful and positive day!

Hibs played their first pre-season match at the end of their Austrian Training Camp week losing 3-2 against Voklabruck but new players like Kerr, O'Brien, Gathuessi, Joneleit, Donaldson and keeper Ma-Kalamba playing in a Hibs shirt for the first time. Benjalloun and new German striker Joneleit were on target for Hibs and John Collins reckoned it a good work out for all of the new players. Rumours persist of Murphy going to England which will be a loss as he was one of our best players last season! Collins is staunch in his denial but I dont know if he will be able to keep him?
Rumours are that Hibs may have another pre season friendly on Saturday July 21st against Real Sociodad with new manager Chris Coleman bringing them to the UK for a tour. Hibs play Bolton Wanderers at home on Wednesday 25th July and then Middlesborough on Saturday 28th so the three games should really get the team in good shape for the start of the season and Hearts away as the first match!!!

I have applied to join the 26,000 members of the Scotland Supporters club at long last so hopefully get my welcome pack soon?