Westminster Council: Democratic Rights and Ethical Standing

Back in 2004 the government sought to remove the right to protest in Parliament Square, mainly due to Brian Haw, the tenacious peace protester. That didn’t really work but in the light of the Tamil protesters slightly cramping Mr Haw on Parliament Square, Colin Barrow, Westminster Council Leader, wants new laws to stop demonstrations in Westminster.

Colin Barrow’s main target this time is the Tamil protesters who have, apparently, cost £8 million pounds in police costs. Mr Barrow hopes the law will be bundled through in this session of parliament. He’s not all bad though, he’s quoted as saying:

“The City Council wants to see the square policed for all, not for a vociferous minority of protesters. We’ll back legitimate protest, but not when it becomes a permanent, or ongoing residence of a place that everyone – visitors and Londoners – should be able to enjoy.”

There’s quite a few Tamil’s there and emerging photographic and anecdotal evidence may be proving that they really did have a point, despite what the government of Sri Lanka have been saying. But is it just global issues Barrow wants to supress, or are more domestic demonstrations going to be tackled by Barrow in the same way? There’s no mention of local domestic demonstrations, at all, anywhere.

Which is odd when other council lackeys and dictator wannabee’s like Chalkley have stated that the No To Bike Parking Fees demonstrations have been, ‘rogue’, ‘aggressive’ and even ‘bullying’. This is untrue, the No To Bike Parking Fees campaign has been completely open with the Metropolitan Police as well as Westminster Council. In fact the campaign website always shows the intentions and routes on its website, as it is doing with the up and coming demonstration on the 9th of June:

See here for details

Click the banner for details

So when will it be the turn of whatever the next demonstration Barrow won’t take a liking to?

Barrow the man and the legend

By all accounts Barrow can be a bit of an overbearing chap and he’s not happy if something gets out that he doesn’t like, or maybe that puts him in a slightly grim light.

So a letter popping up in the local Westminster paper, Weekend Extra, (download Every penny Counts letter) is a bit of a surprise as it’s from Cllr Colin Barrow, Leader, Westminster City Council. He starts:

“As the media continue rightfully to scrutinise the often bizarre expenses that many MP’s have claimed, in the next few weeks the spotlight will in all probability turn to councils.”

No shit Sherlock, I guess we don’t have to wonder why he’s council leader! He continues…

“It would be wrong, however, to tar local government with the same brush.”

No it wouldn’t Mr Barrow, some people are sick to the teeth of petty politico’s sniggering behind their hands while their little clubs continue to dip the public purse. Your time is coming Mr Barrow and the public would be supremely right in questioning you and your cohorts, you are publicly accountable. Don’t change channel readers, there’s much more…

“The vast majority of local councillors do a brilliant job serving their local communities, with many of them treating it as a full time job.”

This would be the Mr Barrow, Cllr Leader of Westminster Council and director of companies (in the plural) with fingers in lots of pies, Cllr Chalkley with Boxmill Consulting and many others, do they really treat it as a sole job? Does Batty Burbridge serve her community by lying in Built Environment Committee meetings and misleading her colleagues? Why, it’s clear to see Mr Barrow has a startling insight into the kind of people around him, he’s keeping them all in work so they must be following his line, obviously.

Try and grab a copy of Weekend Extra and read the letter for yourself but here’s a few more snippets:

[On expenses] “A total of just over £870 was claimed last year, an average of just over £14 per councillor. Some members including myself have chosen to forgo claiming expenses altogether.”

Phew, we at Nutsville are so glad about that, we’d hate to think that Barrow would be worried about his £14 unclaimed expenses but we’re sure he’ll be ok with the £47,000 bonus he got last year. That’s not a typo, £47,000 bonus, so no wonder he’s not worried about £14, he probably wipes his arse on £20 notes.

Barrow's £20 a roll toilet paper?

What Barrow won’t want his residents to know is that the 2007/8 bonuses of £5 million (over 10% of the total Council Tax required of £48million) that the total Westminster big cheeses paid themselves equates to adding £39 to each residents Council Tax Bill. Every penny counts, that’s what Barrrow says.

Last one (but do try to get the original newspaper), here’s how Cllr Barrow (Leader) finishes off:

“At a time when the national mood towards politicians is distrust, it is important to remember that many councillors are often the unsung heroes of their local communities, working tirelessly on behalf of their local residents and businesses.”

Is this some sort of pre-storm umbrella checking from Mr Barrow? Has he been watching the escapades of Gilchrist, Goad, Batty Burbridge, Chalkley, Fitsall and their failure to tell the truth, their involvements with private companies, Alliance’s,  the lobbying of organisations against the parking protests (hero Danny), the wasting of electorates money on woefully procured and now illegal CCTV systems (thanks Danny Chalkley again, you must be one of Barrow’s Heroes), ‘partnerships’ that are suspect, the absolute inability to be cohesive in deceit and the tragic self back slapping bonus payments to themselves.

The spotlight rightly needs to be turned on local councils and for Westminster’s residents this must happen sooner than later. Barrow’s letter to the local rag seems nothing more than than start of a huge propaganda campaign to diffuse the coming tide. That’s the thing with Westminster, their propaganda machine is relentless but this is going to be a rocky road for them whatever happens. Someone is obviously on to them and they’re worried enough to start telling us all how squeaky clean they are. Where have we seen that before?

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ResidentMay 31st, 2009 at 8:10 am

Westminster Council will no doubt be questioned very soon about bonuses paid and expenses claimed. In fact, I notice that someone has put in an FOI request as a starting point. How strange it is that Cllr Barrow felt the need to write an article in the West End Extra to advertise how good his council is… sounds like he’s got something to hide by trying to keep the public mind at rest… well we’ll find out very soon whether the council is financially managed as well as Barrow claims it is!

Let’s turn to Councillors to see whether they behave like MPs!

Another pissed off residentMay 31st, 2009 at 9:23 am

I think that FOI will get a ‘none’ response, as it’s in the wording. Councillors get allowances, officers get bonuses.

Councillors do get gifts though, and paid directorships which can be worth quite a lot to them. How can it be considered ethical that Steve Bundred (Audit Commission) pays for lunch with Barrow. Hardly makes the audit commission independent. It’s obvious now that Barrow is desperately trying to cover up Eiger Capital ltd, Barrow has just made things worse when the FOI team have to break the law to try to keep a lid on things.

Barrow should not start writing in the paper when he has such an interesting past, and I don’t mean Eiger, he is no Mary Poppins, so it’s all going to start coming out now. He should have taken leadership a long time ago to stop the bike parking tax, but by not doing so, he will be completely shown up for what he truly is.

JenMay 31st, 2009 at 11:22 am

Barrow says “Some members including myself have chosen to forgo claiming expenses altogether.”
When will Barrow, Chalkley and Burbridge be giving up their free westminster car parking permits then? Councillor J P Floru even lied, claiming he didn’t have a free permit, but got exposed by an FOI request, will he give his back?

Why do so many people in politics end up being so dishonest, Barrow and his kind have never been so despised by the public?

John PotcnikJune 1st, 2009 at 12:48 pm

This is typical Westminster Council, say one thing but mean another.

I don’t think Westminster Council realise how tenacious commuters and motorcyclists/scooterists are, this isn’t going to all fade away no matter how much they lie, spin and swindle.

That’s two people, Floru and Batty Burbridge who have been exposed as liars and trying to deceive the public, what’s happened to them? One thing Barrow said is true, the purgative released in the Commons is coming to local councils – Doesn’t he know it!

MrCJune 1st, 2009 at 1:36 pm

It seems that Conservative party has failed to deal with the clowns at Westminster Council so the public will have to do it for them. This is a good example of how the Conservative party thinks and acts when in power.

The only thing that may delay giving Westminster Council a good seeing to is if the press goes after Members of the European Perliment next. Lets face it they make Westminster MP’s look like Snow White.

I think the concil will get a wake up call soon though, they lied to an deceaved the voters and always ends in a dam good kicking at the poles.

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