Author Topic: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices  (Read 15147 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Does anyone know how their pow wow went last night?   The air waves are unusually quiet.


The t'internet is quiet because the jungle drums are beating so furiously. I've been fielding phone calls all morning, all of them quite welcome. As I've said before, I'll talk to anyone. :)

The political community was awash with gossip last night after the leader of the Tory group confirmed he doesn't trust 37 of its elected members and Derique Montaut telling his group that 'Rod Bluh is a really nice guy'.

A 'low increase' in Council tax was Rod's bit of 'good news' for his group which was met with some sage nodding of heads and general murmurs of approval, but some are quietly wondering how much of the Borough has been sold, slashed and burned to 'deliver' a succession of 'low increases' which, it has be said, accumulatively represent what, a 15% or 20% increase ? 

Members would probably not thank me for reminding them of this 2007 local election leaflet from Labours Junab Ali:



This leaflet caused outrage amongst the Conservative group when it was distributed, some of them made threats of 'get Carter Ruck'.  I even went to the Council, on Mayor Making and asked the leader whether the claims were true.  With the benefit of hindsight, and observing the changes Rod Bluh has made in the Borough since that leaflet was published, it's pretty much spot on isn't it?

Onwards....


I understand that the Chair of the Audit committee, (Cllr Michael Dickinson) asked Rod Bluh for the business plan upon which Rod Bluh and Mark Edwards decided, (all on their own using 'delegated decision making powers'), to lend Digital City (UK) Ltd, £450,000.  Apparently Rod Bluh again refused to discuss the business plan and, alluding to his 'gang of four', ( the cabinet-within-a-cabinet), admitted that only himself, Mark Edwards, Peter Greenhalgh and Phil Young had knowledge of 'the deal' and access to 'the business plan'.

It finally began to dawn on the Conservative councillors present that Rod Bluh, the man they had elected to lead them and the Borough, did not trust them in July of 2009 when the 'deal' was 'firmed up', and does not trust them now.  Perversely, Rod will be expecting them to vote him in as leader again this May, provided of course that Dorcan Ward wants him back as their councillor.

There is disquiet in the Tory group as many members are now wondering how many other delegated decisions have been taken without their knowledge or discussion, and what skeletons are going to fall out of cupboards on them.  Bluh's refusal to discuss the business plan, and his apparent intention not to release the business plan to the internal audit, only adds fuel to the fire of suspicion that the plan either does not exist or is so weak that to lend against it would be reckless.  The Tory group want the gang of four to show them the business plan. Presumably the will continue to assume the worst until they've seen it.

There is also growing group speculation about Bluh's political future.   Within his own group he is increasingly regarded as 'incredibly vain' and 'ruthlessly manipulative'. Doubts exist as to whether he could stomach up to 4 years as a back-bencher when he's ousted as leader...and it will happen at some point -  no political leader lasts forever.  However, another point of view is that Rod is so vain that he is not capable of envisaging any scenario in which he will not manage to get his own way and stay at the top.

Time will tell whether he will successfully plan for, and stage manage, his own departure or whether it will come as a shock to him when the group make that decision for him.  Tory members might be pissed off to realise Bluh doesn't trust them, but then reflect on whether the really important question is whether they can trust him.  How accountable Rod Bluh is to the 43 members who are responsible for putting and keeping him where he is today, could be of increasing relevance to the Boroughs electorate as they realise his reign is more myth than legend.

The labour group are simultaneously tickled pink by Bluhs problems but horrified at Monty's apparent enthralment to him.  Perhaps Monty is playing his own game or just pandering slightly to Bluh, (remember that Montys stipend for the chair of scrutiny depends on Bluh's patronage),  in case Bluh decides to give the chair of scrutiny to an independant councillor or Stan Pajak instead.   Bluh wouldn't have Pajak in the chair, because he'd be too good at it, and won't go down the Glaholm route again....which leaves Steve Wakefield as the remaining choice.  I personally think Monty's role as chair of scrutiny has been politically compromised so this will be worth watching.

That said, the labour group are very pleased with the grass roots response to last weekends 'activation' call.  I'm fairly sure over 100 volunteers hit the streets in a sort of swindon4labour drive.  Fair play to them.

In balance, I should also add that I do receive some, but not many, messages of support for Rod Bluh and the gang of four.  Am I going to publish them?, no, I'm not.  Lamplighters and the leakline exist to shine light onto things the idiocracy doesn't want the public to know about, not promote 'key messages' on it's behalf.   You could use Talkswindon for that....

More is coming in, even as I type, but I have to go and do some proper work..... more later  ;)


Is there anything lamplighters wish me to add? email me: leakline

Now tweeting:  http://twitter.com/talkswindon

A Hurried tip of the hat to Lamplighters Wanborough Rose,  Wise Monkey, Blunsdon Bill and misc anons.

Ps. The ambulance.  Called to attend labour members who suffered near cardia arrest when Monty made his 'I love Rod' comments ;D



Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 03:06:21 PM »
Geoff,

Are you insinuating or just poking a stick into the mix?

It would appear from what you have said (I am not so quick on the uptake as other posters!!) that Rod Bluh has only divulged the business case with three other Tory Councillors and therefore it is not unreasonable to assume that he does not trust the other Councillors with this as it is so 'commercially sensitive'.  Or have I got this completely wrong and am missing the point?

The 'Kitchen Cabinet' appear to have all the power so can I assume that the other 38 Tory Councillors are henceforth Redundant?

May I also be under a false impression that Rod will need these 38 Tory Councillors to vote for him as leader?

Sorry Geoff utter confusion reigns here and I understand that Conservatives are so Conservative they are loathed to change even when in the proverbial Christmas Turkey Voting Senario.  Rod ought to recall that he was voted in as Deputy Leader to send a message to his predecessor or have I got that completely wrong as well?  Rod is the consumate Politician and Political manoeuverer extraordinaire.  Who says the local situation is not interesting?  I am pleased to see that finally that Councillor Junab Ali has been vindicated along with Councillor Faye Howard and the recipient of the 'Dodo Award' one Neil Heavens, who I also believe received a pre action letter from the Conservatives.  Or was my information wrong on that one too?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 03:17:23 PM »
Neil Heavens still deserves the Dodo imho.

Looks like Junab and Faye have been proved correct on several of their allegations. Will I eat humble pie?, I don't know yet....I'm still re-examining the way the chair of scrutiny was, on the back of these leaflets, manipulated for political gain by Rod Bluh in 2007.  I need to consider very carefully whether I was deliberately suckered into the plan or just blundered into it.

I'm a lot wiser these days.

Yes, it does look like the gang of four, the cabinet-within-a-cabinet, have all the power and the rest of them are being treated as rubber-stamping voting fodder.

It's a shame because some of the voting fodder are really good ward councillors, Mick Bray is one of those and he's one of mine, (ward councillors), but I have to ask myself whether I want to lend my vote this year to a member of a group which appears to be impotent.

Is a vote for a conservative ward councillor actually just a vote for the gang of four?

I can't support this style of faux-democracy.   It's more like an 'elected' dictatorship isn't it ?

Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 03:23:16 PM »
Geoff,

You appear to be the wisest of wise old owls so I am pleased to see your falability for appearing to be suckered in by Rod and his Kitchen Cabinet, the Conservatives in 2007.  If you are, will that sting or just smart?  Do not be worried as it as though many have been and some still are IMHO.

So did Neill Heavens collect his Dodo?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 03:49:28 PM »
 
will that sting or just smart?

Neither, you learn from it.  :)

Offline komadori

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 08:48:09 PM »
I understand that the Chair of the Audit committee, (Cllr Michael Dickinson) asked Rod Bluh for the business plan upon which Rod Bluh and Mark Edwards decided, (all on their own using 'delegated decision making powers'), to lend Digital City (UK) Ltd, £450,000.  Apparently Rod Bluh again refused to discuss the business plan and, alluding to his 'gang of four', ( the cabinet-within-a-cabinet), admitted that only himself, Mark Edwards, Peter Greenhalgh and Phil Young had knowledge of 'the deal' and access to 'the business plan'.
There's a distinction between withholding the business case from another councillor (even if chair of the audit committee) and withholding it from the council's internal audit. If it's withheld from internal audit, that should ring alarm bells at the highest regulatory levels.
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Offline swindonlad

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2010, 07:00:32 AM »
This story may have legs.

Talking to a councillor outside the Conservative Group last night, I hear that this may get interesting as to why the document is being withheld from Cllr Dickinson after a comment made by the leader of the council to Cllr Dickinson at the group meeting.

 :popcorn:

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 08:09:24 AM »
Komadori made a good point :-X
Quote
There's a distinction between withholding the business case from another councillor (even if chair of the audit committee) and withholding it from the council's internal audit. If it's withheld from internal audit, that should ring alarm bells at the highest regulatory levels.


This story may have legs.

Talking to a councillor outside the Conservative Group last night, I hear that this may get interesting as to why the document is being withheld from Cllr Dickinson after a comment made by the leader of the council to Cllr Dickinson at the group meeting.

 :popcorn:

If it is general gossip outside of the Conservative Group it looks like it's already legging it. I wonder if Michael  has an ally in Claire Short ?  Michael if you are reading this, which I know is very unlikely as all the councillors all tell me they never read the stuff on TS (for some I believe it is their golden rule) I am sorry for the light hearted approach. I know its not funny  it is seen by many councillors as a serious matter another intere    sting episode.  Still as Jimmy Greeves says "Its a funny old Game". ;)
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 08:30:36 AM »

Sounds like I haven't got the full story on Mondays various meetings, still, it's only Wednesday :)

I been thinking about the secret business plan and have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it's political embarrassment that's keeping it hidden.

BT, by the way, have apparently rung at least one TS member and offered them Broadband at £7.99 per month with free wireless router.  Go figure...

Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 08:59:06 AM »
This story may have legs.

Talking to a councillor outside the Conservative Group last night, I hear that this may get interesting as to why the document is being withheld from Cllr Dickinson after a comment made by the leader of the council to Cllr Dickinson at the group meeting.

 :popcorn:

Was it **ck Off?  I hope a lamplighter will know?

Does Rod Bluh work for us, the people of Swindon,  or the Wi-fi company?

Offline michael dickinson

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2010, 01:04:22 PM »
If it is general gossip outside of the Conservative Group it looks like it's already legging it. I wonder if Michael  has an ally in Claire Short ?  Michael if you are reading this, which I know is very unlikely as all the councillors all tell me they never read the stuff on TS (for some I believe it is their golden rule) I am sorry for the light hearted approach. I know its not funny  it is seen by many councillors as a serious matter another intere    sting episode.  Still as Jimmy Greeves says "Its a funny old Game". ;)

Steve - I am reading this and the other comments, always find it interesting to see the speed that some things come to light on here.

At the moment Rod is away from the office sick (as he was yesterday) - so I am awaiting his return to see where this goes.  I hope it ends up with me having the business plan

PS - I have net met Claire Short

Offline michael dickinson

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2010, 01:07:14 PM »
This story may have legs.

Talking to a councillor outside the Conservative Group last night, I hear that this may get interesting as to why the document is being withheld from Cllr Dickinson after a comment made by the leader of the council to Cllr Dickinson at the group meeting.

 :popcorn:

Was it **ck Off?  I hope a lamplighter will know?

that was not what was said

Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2010, 01:13:02 PM »
well Michael please enlighten us.

Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2010, 01:17:37 PM »

At the moment Rod is away from the office sick (as he was yesterday) - so I am awaiting his return to see where this goes.  I hope it ends up with me having the business plan


and what are you going to do Michael if you don't get it?  Hope Rod gets well soon, allegedly the pressure on him is considerable.

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2010, 02:14:33 PM »
He may be sick but that does not excuse his handling of affairs over the past months.
By the way there are 3 chairs by his bedside.
Could they be for an inner cabinet meeting?
Bobby

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2010, 03:35:37 PM »
 

Quote
Was it **ck Off?  I hope a lamplighter will know?


I've heard back from the lamplighters concerned.

Michael says:

that was not what was said

Understandably Michael wants to give Rod Bluh a fair chance to retract and apologise for what seems to be an unprovoked attack on his professional ethics.

Only Michael, (and every other Conservative councillor present), know what was said but I'm told Rod refused to give Michael the Getsignal/Digital City Business plan because, and I quote Rod Bluh approximately:

"You [Michael] will leak them".

Apart from the obvious insult to Michael, and apart from the likelihood that Rod Bluh sees Councillor Dickinson's Chair of Internal Audit role as being the largest internal threat of exposure to his WiFi dealings, there is another question that Bluh's attack raises.....

.... is Rod Bluh's refusal to divulge the business plan to the Chair of the Internal Audit Committee, and then compounding that refusal by smearing Councillor Dickinson with the 'You're a leaker' allegation actually starting to look like Rod Bluh is now protecting the commercial interests of Digital City (UK) Ltd at the expense the proper working of the Council ?

If I were Councillor Dickinson I'd already be drafting my letter of Complaint to the Standards Committee, (which is meeting next Monday), in the event that Bluh tries to stall for time until the meeting has already taken place.

If I were Rod Bluh I'd be reflecting on the dangers of apologising, or indeed, not apologising and the attendant dangers of trying to stall any existing Standards Board complaint(s) against him.

Fending off another potential complaint will likely result in him dropping several of the hot potatos he's currently trying to juggle, yet making a genuine apology will weaken his position within the Tory group.  Making a half-arsed apology stores up political resentment which will boomerang back onto him later.

I further understand that a formal compliant about the conduct of Councillors Rod Bluh and Mark Edwards, (relating to the delegated decisions they took when setting up the 'WiFi Deal'), has been hand delivered directly to the Chair of the Standards Committee, Mr Keith Carby. 

The complaint is of a serious nature and unless some heavyweight political pressure is brought to bear on the committee, we should reasonably expect to see the complaint publicly acknowledged by the Committee on Monday the 8th of February.

I won't detail the precise detail of the complaint here, (I'll leave that for the author of the complaint to do/not do), but the substantive detail has been in the public domain for some time and has already been discussed here on Talkswindon.

 


Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2010, 03:37:54 PM »
He may be sick but that does not excuse his handling of affairs over the past months.
By the way there are 3 chairs by his bedside.
Could they be for an inner cabinet meeting?

No Bobby Kitchen Cabinet meeting!!

Offline Richard Shaw

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2010, 03:43:11 PM »
Quote from Geoff Reid

'Apart from the obvious insult to Michael, and apart from the likelihood that Rod Bluh sees Councillor Dickinson's Chair of Internal Audit role as being the largest internal threat of exposure to his WiFi dealings, there is another question that Bluh's attack raises.....'

Geoff,

Doesn't this remind you of the complaint against the various Chairs of Scrutiny who happen to be in a different party?  Now when it involves one who is one your own I suggest this is even more serious.

How much longer can Rod survive as Leader one asks?

Offline michael dickinson

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2010, 08:36:34 AM »
All I will add to this is the issue between myself & cllr Bluh is now closed

I hope I can move on to concentrate on ward work such as seeing if we can get the Freshbrook Community Centre open again & trying to chase up where 2 requests for salt bins have got to (not forgotten it Geoff!)

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Lamplighter Bulletin #4: 2nd Feb '10 - Ambulance called to Civic Offices
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2010, 09:24:10 AM »
Mike, well thats good news I always thought that you did ward work anyway ;) 
« Last Edit: February 04, 2010, 11:06:20 AM by Steve Wakefield »
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana: